School:Kent State University

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Overview - Undeniably Kent State

Kent State University is a large, public state school in Northeast Ohio with over 26,000 students at the main campus. Kent State University is a leader in university research, placed 77th in the nation. Kent is made up of 8 different campuses spread throughout the region. It has satellite locations in New York City, Florence, and Cleveland. 

Some of Kent State University's strongest programs include:

  • Liquid Crystal Research: Founded in 1965, it has since become a leader in liquid crystal innovation, Including the first LCD screen.
  • Fashion Merchandising and Design: Ranked 22nd in the world; 4th in the U.S. for Design; 2nd in public universites; 1st in the Midwest.
  • Architecture: ARCHITECT magazine, the journal for the American Institute of Architects, recognizes the innovation of Brian Peters fro his invention of the 3D printed ceramic blocks.
  • Aeronautics: #1 in Ohio and nationally recognized by aerospace companies, military, and airports. 
  • Nursing: Over 400 BSN graduates per year and 99.6% job placement within the first 6 months of graduation.
  • Journalism: 100% of juniors and seniors placed in a professional internship, and an accreditted program.

Kent State proudly boasts:

  • 200+ education abroad programs in more than 60 countries.
  • 14 Pulitzer Prize winners.
  • Ranked top in the nation for research on stress disorders and trama psychology.
  • 190 active U.S. patents for research.
  • 27% of Department of Physics faculty members are female, more than twice the national average.
  • MA in Translation programs is top 10 in the U.S.
  • 280+ Bachelor Degree Programs.
  • 1st tier ranking in U.S. News & World Report's Best National Universities for 2015.
  • 70% Faculty with Highest Degree in Field.
  • 10 Colleges across 8 Campuses.
  • 400+ Student Clubs and Organizations.

Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Along with the rest of Northeast Ohio, Kent State University is experiencing a rise in the entrepreneurial spirits among students. As more programs are being added within the university, students are challenging themselves creatively as well as academically. Kent has a variety of degree programs spanning Entrepreneurship to Fashion Merchandising to Computer Science. Students can minor in subjects like Innovation or Megatronics. In the Entrepreneurship Department lies many resources for business sutdents including venture assistance and mentorship. The College of Business also has a co-working space called the Brinzo Lab for students to work and collaborate on campus. 

After Balckstone Launchpad left, Kent State kept the ball rolling by opening Launchnet, a school funded research and entrepreneur labratory, very similar to Blackstone. It continues to nurture the entrepreneur spirit. Recently, Launchnet developed a mobile maker space for students across campus to use, in hopes of stimulating students creativity.

In similar spirit, Kent State also launched a student makerspace in the library called "The Fridge." Created and developed by Univeristy Innovation Fellows, The Fridge, gives students a private quiet area that is independent of study spaces and aims at being a key resource for students in the future.

Kent State seeks to provide sudents with any resource they need in their quest to create, build, and grow.

Student Innovation is currently at an all-time high. From incubators, accelerators, to bootcamps, and venture spaces; Kent State Students are surrounded with opportunity. Some popular programs include:

Using these resources, students are able to communicate, connect, explore, and create like never before.

In classes across every college, students are taught the importance and application of innovation in their field.

Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Kent State's faculty are a vital part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Many of them have real-world experience creating their own businesses or working on start-ups. The faculty works hard to support the students and their ventures. The deans of the University are working together to bring a makerspace to campus as a resource for students. The faculty supports the ecosystem by holding events like the Kent State Mini Maker Faire and monthy maker meet ups to encourage making and cross-disciplinary exploration. 

Kent State University’s Faculty plays a key role in the innovation and entrepreneurship environment. The faculty is rich with diversity and real-word experience concerning innovation and entrepreneurship. Their insight contributes to shaping tomorrow’s leaders. The Deans of various colleges collaborate in order to provide the students with opportunities to reach out to other concentrations in order to build relationships and inspire creativity.

With endowments at an all time high, and a rebranding initiative, Kent State in nurturing innovation in not only their students, but faculty as well.

Some highlights include The Techstyle Lab and Liquid Crystal Institute

With multiple resident entrepreneurs, Kent State aims to connect the faculty with the students. Across campus, there are numerous mentoring programs open to all majors, including a center for professional development. 

University Tech Transfer Function

Specializing in Tech Transfer, Kent State has the Office of Corporate Engagement and Commercialization. Kent State holds over 190 patents for student and faculty inventions. Inventors go to this office with their ideas and the office will do all the research and paperwork to acquire the patent.

With so much innovation happening across campus, the tech transfer office is a main tool on campus. Headed by Paul Dicorleto, The Tech Transfer Office in the mainframe within the I&E network. Although the tech office handles most of the paperwork, they work hand-in-hand with other programs across campus to insure the success of student beyond school. The best example is LaunchNET, formerly Blackstone, LaunchNET aims at guiding students to the right people on & off campus. This unique guidance system leads to opportunities outside of school for students,  and provides structure so that any idea or invention created on campus, will find success in the real world.

University-Industry Collaboration

Northest Ohio is a region that specializes in industrial and technological industries. Kent State University has strong relations to many companies in different parts of the region including Akron, Cleveland, and Youngstown. Outside companies get involved on campus through many events such as business pitch competitions and hackathons. Student Organizations tour different companies frequently, and Kent State hosts career fairs. Many incubators and accelerators are involved and accept Kent State students into their programs. 

Many faculty get involved with student innovation by sponsoring and mentoring different student-led events like Kent Hack Enough and the Fashion Hackathon. Faculty work closely with student organizations to promote creativity and innovation around campus. 

With so many top-tier programs, Kent State attracts attention from many big names within the industry. As our maker/hack events gain momentum, our sponsorship grow. From these sponsorship, industry leaders not only attend events, but become involved with students and work together, which has lead to numerous internships. In the classroom, many majors such as Fashion Design, require students to have an internship for credit before graduation.

Regional and Local Economic Developments

Kent, Ohio is a unique down because the University and the downtown areas are strongly connected. In the past few years, the township has developed the downtown area with many small businesses. Over the years, Kent, OH has worked hard to link the downtown area with the campus. With the recent growth of construction, businesses have been thriving. Design thinking has been prevalent in Kent’s growth and it has been inspiring to Kent’s architecture, construction management, innovation, business, computer science, interior design, and fashion design students. Kent is a relatively small town, with a small (but thriving) economy. Within our limits, there are several resources. The Small Business Development Center and Kent Regional Business Alliance not help get business ideas off the ground, but help connect student with resources across the region.

There are three types of resources: Akron Global Business Accellerator, Cleveland Accelerator, and Columbus Business Incubator. These types of resources are helping students surround themselves with people who are like-minded, and understand what it takes to get their idea from small-scale, to global success. As the city faces questions and concerns for the future of its design, they often approach students in related fields for advice on different approaches. Design, innovation, and entrepreneurship has become the heart of Kent State University and Kent, OH.

Additional Resources


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Related Links

Kent State University Strategic Priorities

University Innovation Fellows:

Fall 2017:

Mackenzie Kinzel

Jessie Nowjack

Clare Williette

Spring 2016:

Jag Ashcraft

Brad Baumeister

Fall 2015:

Kristine Boye

Paul Dilyard

Samantha Glass

Ian Reede

Spring 2015:

Matthew Allen

Sravan Kumar Karpurapu

Tapti Saha

Fall 2014:

Robin Bonatesta