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Kai McKinney is a University Innovation Fellow, an industrial design major at the Ohio State University, and the co-founder of Helm, an arcade for hiring. His passions are for understanding wicked problems and systematic impact, particularly those pertaining to social mobility, healthcare, and sustainability. McKinney grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin in a multicultural household. He's always intended to study design and pursue entrepreneurship.
At the Ohio State University, Kai is involved in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Scholars (EIS) program, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), and the Business Builders Club. Additionally, he's worked as an intern in the Fisher College of Business and the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship since his first year of undergraduate study. Kai co-founded LaunchpadOSU, a landmark community-based startup event, in his second year of study. Through the Center for Innovative Studies, Kai served as an innovation consultant intern through OnRamp, which partnered student innovation with multinational corporations. In his second year of study, he co-founded Helm, a business which hires for technological talent in new and innovative ways.
For as long as he can remember, Kai was driven by curiosity. Growing up, this led him to the study of music, debate, and automotive mechanics. While his passion for these has not diminished, he has increasingly focused his education around understanding systems. Kai has collaborated with several institutions, including the Ohio State University in 2019, New North organization in 2018, the Nobel Prize institution in 2017, and the Hult Prize in 2019, to share ideas about creating systematic, impact-focused change. He intends to realize these ideas on his campus, especially for students across academic disciplines.