Faculty Champion:Michael Dominik

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Rowan UIF Convention April 2017

Greetings! My name is Mike Dominik, and I'm a Senior Lecturer faculty member at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ, USA. My diverse academic background includes BS Electrical Engineering (Rutgers University), MS Engineering Management of Technology (University of Pennsylvania), MBA (Rowan University), and PhD in Organizational Leadership (Eastern University). My career includes 16 years as an engineer with RCA, General Electric and Lockheed Martin, followed by 16 more years as a two-time technology entrepreneur (the software startup I co-founded called NetIDEAS was acquired by Parametric Technology Corporation). I have proudly served as an educator at Rowan University since 2016.

Rowan University is the USA's third-fastest-growing public research university, and has nearly doubled in size in the past decade, from around 10.000 students in 2010 to nearly 23,000 as of 2023. With growth comes challenges - and also OPPORTUNITY and a need to be innovative and entrepreneurial (the entrepreneurial mindset). Rowan's first Leadership Circle of Fellows was formed in 2016, and two more leadership circles followed in 2018 and 2019. COVID in 2020 caused us to put a hold on UIF for one year, but came back in 2021 with another four students!

Below we feature briefs about each of the Rowan University Leadership Circles and what they have notably accomplished as University Innovation Fellows.

Rowan Fellows at 2019 meetup

Rowan UIF Cohort 1: 2016-2017. Brandon Graham (co-founder and CEO of Arke Aeronautics), Antonia Nuzzolo, Kayla Callaway, Melody Tashjian. Rowan's first cohort is most notable for establishing Rowan University's "maker space", known as Studio 231, which was acknowledged by the AACSB with a 2019 Innovations That Inspire award. This cohort held the first UIF E&I convention at Rowan University, which attracted more than 100 participants in April 2017. Their Silicon Valley meetup in early 2017 was a rousing success! Check out this podcast interview with these four Fellows.

Rowan UIF Cohort 2: 2018-2019: Jeffrey Stransky (who in 2023 completed his PhD in experiential engineering education, congrats Dr. Stransky who is now doing his post doc at NJIT in Newark NJ), Sarandeep Kaur, Brandon Baker, Edward Estremera. Rowan's second cohort is notable for having delivered some 50 Design Thinking workshop events, which then significantly influenced the delivery model of Rowan's "Think Like an Entrepreneur" summer academy for underprivileged and underserved high school students, a now-recurring summer program that uses Design Thinking approaches to develop big-world solutions for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Thanks to the groundbreaking work by this cohort, programs like TLAE helped Rowan's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship win a 2021 global impact award from the International Council for Small Business.

Rowan UIF Cohort 3: 2019-2020: Michael Weinberg, Alison Price, Gillian Castaldo, Erin DeBiasse. Rowan's third cohort worked hard to successfully design an impactful program based on campus public safety, but COVID-19 arrived in early 2020, and the team had to back off from its ambitious plans. Before graduating from Rowan in 2022, Erin studied abroad at the Univeritat Pompeu Fabara in Barcelona, Spain, and began her career as a planner for the iconic Macy's retail business in New York City. Alison has launched her biomedical engineering career in the New York City area at Celularity, and Gillian has started her career at Stonefield Engineering in Princeton NJ. Michael graduated in Spring 2022, and brings his Design Thinking skills to his work in the construction industry and as a freelance 3D printing entrepreneur.

Dr. Michael Dominik

Rowan UIF Cohort 4: 2021-2022: Kenyon Burgess, Aatish Gupta, Shruti Dalwadi, Isabella Marshall. Ambitious and motivated, our fourth Rowan cohort may have have realized the most of their grand vision from among all of our Fellows. Overachievers all, their UIF project featured hosting a three-day on-campus Innovation Weekend event in April 2022 for students to engage in a Design Thinking event to develop ideas and solutions to address Rowan campus mental health and resources challenges. But beyond just completing their campus improvement project, in 2023, two of these Fellows (Aatish and Kenyon) conceived of a College of Engineering clinic project on Design Thinking, to bring pedagogical resources on Design Thinking to all Rowan colleges (there are 13) across the entire University. The most evident examples of their achievement are the creation of the Rowan Design Thinking website and the Rowan Design Thinking TV channel on YouTube. Check it out!

Rowan UIF Cohort 5: 2023-2024: It's a joy and privilege to be the Faculty Champion for Rowan's University Innovation Fellows, and I am excited to see what our next cohort of 2023-24 Fellows will accomplish! These high-potential students are Erica Tran, Resty Mercado, Marissa Pestritto, and Joshua DeGuzman.

2021 Rowan UIF Stakeholder Meeting.jpg