Priorities:Arizona State University & ASU Poly Student Priorities

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Overview Poly 2015:

Arizona State University has a slew of impressive innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities with which students may engage themselves.  With over 300 majors, across 15 different schools, several certificates, multiple campuses, and satellite research and innovation centers geared towards pushing students towards entrepreneurship, ASU has made it a priority to harness the ideas and talents of its students.  The central hub for entrepreneurship at Arizona State University is located online through the Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, as well as on campus resources such as Changemaker Central and the Startup Village.  These offices span the resources available on the ASU Tempe, Polytechnic, and SkySong campuses (those most involved with entrepreneurship and technological innovation) as well as other satellite research institutions affiliated with ASU.  Information contained on the Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation website includes:

  • Research locations and strategies on campus 
  • Technology transfer services and programs 
  • The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group 
  • Additional services and support for student and faculty entrepreneurs 
  • Resources and funding opportunities for entrepreneurs

With the new focus of ASU's entrepreneurship programming, the SkySong campus houses the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, a program which produces approximately 20 student-led startups each year.  Additional resources such as Techshop in Chandler, AZ, have transformed the way students interact with their ideas. Students can now conceptualize something and then take it to the production phase simply by seeking out the tools and knowledge to make it happen. Additionally, the creation and remodeling of the Startup Labs have added to the number of resources that students have at their disposal to make and tinker with. 

Though there appears to be a wealth of opportunities and resources available to students at ASU, there still needs to be a cultural evolution of the student body to become culturally motivated to utilize all of the resources available. This is primarily due to the lack of a place where students can come in and share ideas, brainstorming them into fruition. Students need to be able to come into a space with an idea and leave with the confidence that they can then head over to Techshop or the Startup labs able to bring it into reality. 

Strategy #1: Cultural Evolution 

 The following are an array of tactics that will be implemented over a 6-8 month period

Tactic #1: A Peer-Led Idea Studio

Description: An Idea factory is a place where students can bring their ideas and whiteboard them with others, identifying the problem they are trying to solve and creating a solution. This idea of refinement, taking a big idea and making it a smaller concept that can be applied to one problem, is an incredible chance to take the open mind of students and apply them complex problems we face in the world. 

Team Leaders: Brandon Smith and Stephanie Dolinger


  1. Identify an underutilized location on campus that can be redesigned and branded as a Innovation and Design Center    03/15
  2. Work with school officials to construct an action plan for building out the Innovation and Design Center                           04/15
  3. Begin renovation of the Center                                                                                                                                             05/15                                                        
  4. Begin promotion of new space                                                                                                                                             07/15
  5. Grand opening of Innovation and Design Center                                                                                                                 08/15

Tactic #2: Inspiring Students To Action

  • Description: Students want to be creative. A project like this is at the very core of why the come to this campus at Arizona State University. By encouraging peers to share in the spirit of entreprenuerism, taking on big complex issues and then helping them create solutions that are easily implemented in modern society. This can be done by promoting things such as the MAKE club on campus, which promotes the idea of brainstorming and tackling large complex issues. Also involving other clubs and organizations for freshman, further instilling the idea of entreprenuism in students for generations to come.
  • Team Leaders: Brandon Smith
  • Milestones:
    • Get students to back the creation of a new space                                                                                            03/15
    • Gather the most entreprenuerial minded students on campus and start thinking of the best solutions            04/15
    • Bring entrepernurial minded students into the new space to mentor fellow students                                       08/15                                                                        

Tactic #3: Increasing Student Involvement Diversity

The rates of involvement in innovation and entrepreneurship for female and underrepresented groups on the campus are not representative of the population. It is important that all student demogpraics are involved and represented in I&E activities and programs. To accomplish this, there will be an active and ongoing campaign to engage the female and under represented groups of students on the Polytechnic campus. The development of the Women's Entrepreneurship Club (WE Club) be a part of the engagement. The WE Club will coordinate events on the Polytechnic campus, other ASU campuses, and in the community that will educated, encourage, and excite students to get involved in entrepreneurship. 

Team Leader: Stephanie Dolinger

Tactic #3 Timeline: 3/21/15

Creative Convergence XX (CCXX) - A one day summit focused on women's entrepreneurship. The events of the day will include interactive workshops, speed-mentoring sessions, and a Pitch Event sponsored by the Small Business Association. This is the inagural event and will become and annual summit. The Women's Entrepreneurship Club is responsible for organizing the event and will meet biweekly to do so.


April 2015

Hold a Venture for America Event that encourages soon to be graduates with the Venture for America opportunity. 

Overview Tempe 2015:

Arizona State University has a slew of impressive innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities with which students may engage themselves.  With over 300 majors, across 15 different schools, several certificates, multiple campuses, and satellite research and innovation centers geared towards pushing students towards entrepreneurship, ASU has made it a priority to harness the ideas and talents of its students.  The central hub for entrepreneurship at Arizona State University is located online through theOffice of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, as well as on campus resources such as Changemaker Central and the Startup Village.  These offices span the resources available on the ASU Tempe, Polytechnic, and SkySong campuses (those most involved with entrepreneurship and technological innovation) as well as other satellite research institutions affiliated with ASU.  Information contained on the Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation website includes:

  • Research at ASU
  • Technology transfer services and programs
  • The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group
  • Additional services and support for student and faculty entrepreneurs

With the new focus of ASU's entrepreneurship programming, the Skysong campus houses the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, a program which produces approximately 20 student-led startups each year.  Additional programming, including the Great Little Company Network, have been added to more than double the capacity of Skysong to produce student-led ventures.  Skysong is posited as a hub where industry connections, and other ASU networks are leveraged to produce well founded  student ventures. 

Additionally, new focus is being directed towards increasing makerspace and providing access to advanced tools and resources to facilitate venture and product development. A new and very large project, which is still under construction, is the Chandler Innovation Center, based about 40 minutes away from the Tempe campus. 

Though there appears to be a wealth of opportunities and resources available to students at ASU, there are some significant limiting factors to the usefulness and effectiveness of these facilities and resources.  These limiting factors include:

  • Many of the ~50 courses which are geared towards entrepreneurship are upper division classes, or classes that require a specific major designation (and are limited to students within to that major) instead of being broad in scope and inclusive.  The nature of entrepreneurship itself is neglected in this administrative barrier.
  • There is a lack of space dedicated to collaborative work in the entrepreneurship arena on the Tempe campus.  There are many spaces, but they are usually departmentally segregated.  No single space offers an open collaborative work area with access to the entrepreneurship resources available on campus.
  • The existing workshops, labs, and makerspaces on campus are not networked in any meaningful fashion.  Each has its own requirements for access, tool safety, and cost of materials.
  • Many students do not have the necessary transportation to reach many of these large -  almost superstructure type - facilities which are located very far off an already very large campus.  For example, there is no shuttle service at present (Spring 2015) between ASU's Tempe campus and TechShop in Chandler.  However Ruby Rides are available for free for individuals and small groups going to and from TechShop.

The following two strategies will address the physical and psychological barriers which confront students seeking help with their entrepreneurial and innovative ideas. These strategies focus on the accessibility of resources and how they can be improved to reach more students.

2015 Priorities - Collaboration Space and Networked Fabrication Spaces

Strategy #1 - Create an interdisciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship space at ASU’s Tempe campus which is open late, open to all students, and NOT part of an existing department.  This space will focus mostly on being a collaboration space, not a makerspace.  Instead of having large tools present, it will instead be a great place to whiteboard your plans, pitch your ideas, and find out where to go for the next step. This space is being envisioned and pitched for in Hayden Library, a central campus location which already boasts long hours, an attached coffee shop, and ample area for group collaboration. The existing group space will be replaced with an open floor plan, movable whiteboards and tables, and ceiling dropdowns for power. This space will be modeled off the Google Garage and serve a similar purpose, a place for teams of individuals from different parts of the organization to meet, brainstorm, and do simple prototyping. On the walls we will have large signs with the steps for design thinking, an example Business Model Canvas, and a connections board for entrepreneurs looking for individuals with specific skillsets. All of the campuses prototyping spaces will also be advertised with what tools they have and what you can do at each location along with how to get certified to work in a given space. We hope this will act as a central location for students to work in interdisciplinary teams and plan their next steps.

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Strategy #2 - Network the various small scale labs and makerspaces on campus together.  These spaces should be advertising that the other spaces exist, should be open to all students (with a caveat that they need to be primarily for their departmental students during finals/major project times), and should share certification for tool use. Currently, we have identified the Digital Culture FabLab, the Design School Digital Lab, and the CLAS Mechanical Instrument Shop as locations that could and should share resources and students. Making these spaces known, available, and networked is a second goal of this terms fellows.

Previous Year's Work

Strategy #1: Decentralized Access

Following are an array of strategies that will fully address Gap #1 over a 2-3 year period:

Tactic #1: Peer-led Makerspace

  • Description - A peer lead makerspace on campus which provides students access to design, creation, and prototyping spaces.  This space should be large enough to encourage multidisciplinary interaction among all vital parts of a successful student-led startup.  The space will be open to all majors, and the allocation of space to different student projects and teams will be decided and facilitated by a student filled board of directors.  
  • Team Leader:: Mary Wilcox
  • Milestones:
    • Scout available/vacant or underutilized spaces on campus                           11/13
    • Request space from current overseer
    • Open discourse with Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development             12/13
    • Propose plan for space                                                                                           01/14
    • Initiate student involvement in beta testing of space                                         02/14
    • Soft launch                                                                                                                 04/14
    • Full launch                                                                                                       

Tactic #2: Relaxing Administrative Barriers

  • Description - Allowing students from one discipline to cross over into entrepreneurship related courses offered by a school that houses different majors is key to unlocking the cross disciplinary discourse necessary to branch out and create new ventures.  Perhaps a Graphic Design student with an interest in modeling would like to take a class on engineering entrepreneurship, or a Web Design student is looking for a class to learn skills necessary to partner with other students to create a campus wide network - these students would be better served by having access to entrepreneurship classes in which they will connect with other like-minded students while learning the necessary skills to be successful entrepreneurs.
  • Team Leader:: TBD
  • Milestones:
    • Initiate discourse with Administration regarding I&E courses                         12/13 (for 08/14)

Tactic #3: Expanding Opportunities for Funding: Devil's Dome

Along with the diverse range of programs already offered at Arizona State, such as Edson, or the Innovation Challenge, we are looking to put together a slightly less formal way for students to raise the funding they need for what may be the next big idea. 

  • Description: A competitive platform which scales various disciplines and fields, in which students can easily showcase their creative innovations in front of a collection of local Venture Capitalists. After passing a preliminary, one-page application process where applicants lay out their idea, progress, and needs, they can be chosen as one of 30 teams to present at a "Devil's Dome" competition. During the competition, each team will get five to ten minutes to present their idea to a panel of potential business partners. In contrast to the traditional Shark Tank environment, the panel of potential funders will then have a week to review and respond to the teams who they think are the best investments. The notion here is that each team will earn the opportunity to present to competent and connected local business owners who can either help with funding, offer mentorship and/or connect the team to someone who may be interested in the venture. 
  • Team Leader: Eden Shuster
  • Milestones: 
    • Assemble a team of leaders who are interested in putting the project together       2/10/15
    • Put together a more extensive description and mission statement                           2/25/15
    • Reach out to university officials to help gain support and credibility                         3/05/15
    • Reach out to potential local Venture Capitalists (Confirm > 5)                                 3/25/15
    • Create a Marketing plan and application process                                                    4/15/15
    • Open the competition for potential applicants                                                          5/10/15
    • Put together and organize a competition which will take place on                           8/10/15-8/25/15

Overview Tempe and Poly 2017: Entrepreneurship and Innovation at ASU

Arizona State University has one of the largest student bodies in the US. It is spread across 5 different campuses (Tempe, Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic, ASU West, and Lake Havasu), as well as a large online presence. Arizona State University is a leader in Entrepreneurship and Innovation as it has been rated #1 in the US by US News & World Report for Innovation in both 2016 and 2017. ASU has created many opportunities to build on ideas in any field or major through access to a number of present opportunities. Separate from the 5 campuses, ASU has an Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation that specializes in campus and community engagement.

With so much Entrepreneurial and Innovative aspects to the learning at ASU, the problem does not stem from a lack of access to opportunities. We've discovered the problem now lies in students having access to comb through everything available to find the options that best suit their needs and move forward on their own innovative entrepreneurial journey. We've discovered that our process through University Innovation Fellows was more than to create E&I opportunities, but to utilize the opportunities we currently have and better market them to the students who need them.

The segregation of campuses causes other problems we've discovered throughout the process. Often times there is not much that can be done about maker spaces or innovation labs located on specific campuses. However, many campuses are hosting their own speaker series with both local and national entrepreneurs and CEO's. Right now these live events are a great resource that has one simple mode of consumption; attending the live event itself. With the ease of live streaming video as well as video storage, these types of events should span all locations and even allow students unable to make the events the ability to pull up a recorded talk at any time that is convenient for them.

A new online portal is the solution that we believe will solve many of the issues students are having with our entrepreneur and innovation capabilities of the ASU community. By allowing a simple way to filter every E&I event and opportunity available to the community, we can provide tailored help to all individuals in need. The entrepreneurial journey can be tough enough on it's own. Finding the help to get it moving shouldn't be. Through our efforts with UIF in collaboration with ASU, we believe we can solve that issue.

Strategy #1: Student Consulting Projects

In today’s America, millennials that graduate are most concerned with getting jobs, and this program aims to help with that simply by improving industry-university connections. Our University President, Dr. Michael Crow, asserts in his book, Designing the New American University, that university innovation parallels that of industry innovation where there is mutual collaboration in what he calls the ‘triple helix of university-industry-government innovation’. Student Consulting Projects is a university wide organization that connects local industry with the university through engineering projects that students consult companies with. We interviewed students that were part of a similar organization at school called Engineering Projects in Community Partners to get their perspective. Although the students found similarities between both organizations, they said that working with community partners was often difficult and they did not personally learn from them. Realizing this, I would emphasize the connections students make with industry professionals as they offer the greatest gain to students.

Tactic 1

Realizing the government/community partners were often difficult to work with and learn from, we would emphasize the connections students make with industry professionals as they offer the greatest gain to students.

Tactic 2

To incentives this on the industry professional’s side, we could offer tax breaks to their business as a means to collaborate with the university effectively.

Strategy #2: Humanitarian Design Project Showcase and Competition

One of the best ways I’ve seen involvement encouraged for entrepreneurs and innovators is through showcases and competitions where there is potential to win prize money for their projects. Students will come in teams of 4-8 to present their pitch, project, or prototype for a humanitarian design project. This competition will be unique because the potential investors will be local businesses and companies (or angel investors) that have invested interests in the projects being presented and they will be able to bid money on the projects that they would like to fund. This is unlike any competition we’ve had at ASU before and will definitely foster the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation as well as providing the necessary resources to teams that aren’t sure how to get their start.

Tactic 1

Within the showcase, we will separate projects based on their phase of development and the amount of money they are requesting.

Tactic 2

There will be a round of presentations from each project as well as a poster session where investors are able to come and ask questions directly to the team. This will foster a more collaborative environment for students to receive funding.

Tactic 3

There will be mentors from local startups coaching groups of teams in each phase on how to negotiate offers and reciprocate everything from stock to equity while being informed about the decisions they are making.

Strategy #3: Digitizing and Organizing our E&I Opportunities

At ASU we have many entrepreneurship and innovation opportunities. We have curriculum that is centered around E&I, we have free online non-credit courses for students to familiarize themselves with the process, we have student organizations and events, we have faculty experienced in the process willing to help anyone, we also have a great network with the local communities in their E&I events across the city and even the state. We have so much information on E&I that it turns out, most students don’t know where to access the information about everything. Currently, 3 of our campuses have stipend student employees that work directly with ASU’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. This currently seems to be the best starting point for students with questions on entrepreneurship and innovation, as the person's role is to get each student the answers to questions they may have. However, most students may not even know this option exists. Our third prototype centers around creating an online hub that can present students with the proper information needed for their specific step. They would be able to go to the site and specify what stage they are at (i.e. just want to learn more about entrepreneurship, have an idea, prototyping, funding, etc.), then set parameters on how to get the proper information. For example, there may be a great funding event on campus next month to pitch a business idea and get funding. However this specific student has an idea to start a non-profit, and non-profit business are unable to compete in the competition. Instead, another competition taking place a month later is specifically accepting only non-profits. This would be the purpose of the parameter setting and relaying proper information. With ASU having so many E&I organizations, the online hub would allow an individual to get tailored service to suit their individual needs. The prototype is in process right now with the E&I catalysts working for the Office of E&I, except we are turning the manual process into a digital process. We would even want to keep the same name and logos of “just start”. Which is what we would truly be doing. Creating a starting point for any student, regardless of how far they are in their entrepreneurial process to get started at ASU.

Tactic 1

To work with ASU's office of E&I to collaborate on building an online portal for all things E&I associated with ASU and the community.

Tactic 2

To collect all information on entrepreneurship events at ASU and the community and separate events by keywords to be retrieved easily by the portal.

Tactic 3

Update events annually to keep students up to date on E&I events

Strategy #4: Opportunity Awareness Program

When it comes to shaping the student culture of a university from the inside, it is easiest to consult with freshman, as they are the future of the university. Additionally, there is a problem on campus with a lack of awareness of entrepreneurship and innovation programs and lectures that are designed for students. The opportunity awareness program is a program designed for underclassmen, especially freshman, and is designed to describe the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation and show them where they can find opportunities. This is program is to be facilitated by upperclassmen that lead their supposed mentees through their path to succeed at the university by revealing various opportunities for them.

Tactic 1

Setting up engagement events for Freshman students, hosted by upperclassmen to inspire the entrepreneurial and innovative culture on ASU's campuses.

Strategy #5: Student Innovation Council

The Student Innovation Council would be a student body of like minded innovators that take problems within the university and address solutions to them. We have a program similar to this called ‘Changemaker’ that is completely composed of students that aim to change the world with their social entrepreneurship. This council aims to address the problems of this university and if they can be solved by students, and further so, they would provide the solutions to teams or organizations that would then fulfill those plans and solve the solution. Another crossover to consider is that with the Fulton Student Council, which serves to answer to student problems and make the student experience better overall. The Student Innovation Council would be different in that they would provide specific solutions for problems case by case, and they solutions would emphasize entrepreneurship and innovation.

Tactic 1

Create a problems board where members of the student body can directly post problems they see on and around campus.

Tactic 2

Allow student volunteers of the student innovation council to address the problems as listed by other students through innovative thinking and present solutions to the council for vote and application.

Overview Tempe/Poly 2018: Entrepreneurship and Innovation at ASU

Like past UIF Fellows, we have discovered a plethora of classes, programs, clubs, funding opportunities, and many other E&I-related resources at ASU. We have also identified many of the same issues described in past strategic plans: poor communication of these resources to students and lack of student engagement/empowerment around E&I.  As we see it, the gap is clear: ASU strongly supports an ethos of innovation, but has only institutionalized a culture of it in a few departments, especially engineering, and generally at a high level of administrative leadership. 

We are taking inspiration from many of the past initiatives, while refocusing our efforts on the development of a sustainable, diverse, and student-driven culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. Rather than add more to the already sizable array of resources, we hope to draw more students into the world of E&I, empower those who may not have traditionally felt welcome (especially those from non-engineering majors), and provide venues for cross-disciplinary socialization and collaboration.  

Strategy #1: Increasing Student Awareness of E&I Resources

Since student awareness has been a persistent issue addressed by UIF fellows in the past, we decided to take an approach that centers less on the distribution of specific information regarding E&I resources and instead focused on building cross-departmental student relationships. As outlined below, our primary strategy seeks to create a community of students that come from different disciplines, backgrounds, and approaches to innovation. These students would form the core of a community of practice that would not be tethered to one particular competition, club, hackathon, or class--instead, it would transcend these individual offerings and support a consistent culture of innovation.

Tactic: Create a Student Innovation Corp

The Student Innovation Corp (SIC) would be a core group of student workers/interns who help define, cultivate, and spread a student driven, ASU-specific culture of innovation. Each corp member would liaison with an E&I-related department (ex. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Department of Arts, Media, and Engineering, etc.)

Primary tasks/roles would be to:

  • Make visible existing innovative programs, opportunities, and resources for students
    • Perhaps through a podcast (such as the current Innovation Happens project), newsletter, or social media site.
  • Create connections students across disciplines, majors, and projects
  • Advocate for the support of E&I-related programs to faculty/staff/administration
  • Administer the Student Innovation Congress, a decision-making body that helps coordinate E&I-related activities across departments  
  • Organize trans-disicplinary workshops, talks, meet-ups, and conferences (for example, see UnSILOEd below)

Strategy #2: Develop E&I opportunities in non-technical departments

While engineering, business, art, and design students are actively recruited to participate in E&I-related activities, opportunities geared towards humanities, social science, and other non-technical majors are harder to find at ASU. In this vein, we propose that we research and design a basic set of needs for a prototyping and innovation space that would work for everyone, then create a set of guidelines that can be used to specialize that space for the group that will be using it.

Tactic: Create Innovation Space Guidelines

  • Creating an outline and guides for maker/innovation spaces will empower majors outside of the engineering program to encourage and teach design thinking and entrepreneurship to their students.
  • Helping to design and prototype a creative space for Graphic Information Technologies (GIT) will allow us to test our ideas in stages. We will offer the completed and customized space to GIT and their students and faculty will reap the benefits.

Strategy #3: Create venues for interdisciplinary collaboration and socialization

One of the biggest assets to ASU--the size and diversity of its many programs and resources-- also works to keep students and faculty isolated. This unintended consequence needs to be intentionally addressed through "unsilo-ing" activities. As such, one of our tactics is to create events and opportunities that bring different disciplinary groups into conversation with each other. Our primary tactic, an annual conference, would just be a first step towards establishing a more permanent institutional habit of cross-disciplinary collaborations and socialization. 

Tactic: University Symposium on Innovation through Leadership, Openness and Education (UnSILOEd )

UnSILOEd will be a 2-day conference that helps realize ASU President Michael Crow’s vision of a truly transdisciplinary university, but with a foundation in student-driven innovation. The main theme of innovation would be explored through the lenses of leadership, openness, and education. It will bring together ASU students, faculty, staff, as well as thought leaders from around the world to share research and best practices, as well as generate new connections and collaboration. Ideally, the conference would be student-run by the Student Innovation Corp, a cross-departmental network of E&I-oriented students. 

Strategy #4: Make existing makerspaces more welcoming, inclusive, and human-centered

Makerspaces are often marketed as open, social, and collaborative spaces for designing, tinkering, and inventing. In reality, many of these spaces recreate barriers to entry for populations of individuals not traditionally welcome in technical field. We intend to help spaces become more centered on their student populations and less on their tools and equipment. 

Tactic: Redesign spaces with diverse user experience and interaction in mind

User-friendly layouts:

  • An obvious flow to the space that draws you in and leads through the areas
  • Post easy to read descriptions of the equipment with instructions/ reminders/ requirements for training at each workstation.

Hold themed workshops in the spaces, especially during off-season or less busy times in the semester:

  • Student-led community building: bring in students that are about to graduate and might want to learn more about the programs offered on that campus.
  • Have maker nights for female students alone, to welcome them into the space. Include those from outside of the majors that would traditionally use the spaces.
  • Have maker nights for transfer students to introduce them to the things they can do in that space.
  • Make sure that sign-ups for training sessions and other workshops are advertised before and during these workshops

Tactic: Add a student guide to welcome and assist users

Hire a “host” to work in the space, where they can:

  • welcome users to the lab
  • help them to find what they need
  • steer them in the right direction if they need help or other resources
  • answer logistical questions/resolve scheduling conflicts

Related Links

Arizona State University

Poly 2015

Stephanie Dolinger

Brandon Smith

 Jorge Sanchez

Arizona State University

Tempe 2015

Stephanie Dolinger

Jorge Sanchez

Eden Shuster

Brandon Smith

Aubrey Wigner

Mary Wilcox

Spring 2017 UIF:

Kaleia Kramer

Brian Hensley

Christian Rice

Jake Gunnoe

Lisa Baer

Ryan Borneman

Stephen Annor-Wiafe

Fall 2018 UIF:

Jessica Barnett