GREENVILLE, S.C.—Furman University sophomore Natalie Tikhonovsky has been named a University Innovation Fellow by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. She is the daughter of Sergey and Oksana Tikhonovsky of Marietta, Ga.
Tikhonovsky joins a total of 258 students from 64 higher education institutions in nine countries who have been selected as University Innovation Fellows for 2017-18.
The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. Fellows work to ensure their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future and make a positive impact on the world.
The program is run by Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. With the addition of the new fellows, the program has trained more than 1,500 students since its creation.
Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators as individuals or teams of students who are selected through an application process each year. Following acceptance into the program, schools fund the students to go through six weeks of online training and travel to the University Innovation Fellows Silicon Valley Meetup. Throughout the year, fellows take part in events and conferences and have opportunities to learn from one another, Stanford mentors, and leaders in academia and industry.
Tikhonovsky is a public health major at Furman. Through her advocacy and outreach efforts on campus and in the surrounding community, she hopes to empower refugees fleeing conflict, natural disaster and persecution to achieve self-sufficiency and self-determination as they establish new lives in the United States.
Recognizing that refugee camps and asylum centers are rife with violence and deprivation, Tikhonovsky aims to raise awareness for the plight of refugees and re-envision the way human rights violations among this vulnerable population are redressed through the rule of law. Following graduation, Tikhonovsky plans to pursue a career combining her passion for transitional justice with her interest in public health.
“We believe students can help accelerate the pace of change in higher education,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “They have creative ideas and are very resourceful. With proper training and mentorship, they are initiating positive lasting changes at their schools and making a difference in the lives of their peers.”
“Through this program, fellows gain skills, mindsets and knowledge to face complex challenges at their schools and in the world,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “They learn how to analyze their campus ecosystems and identify learning opportunities related to innovation and entrepreneurship. In doing so, they identify gaps and strive to understand the needs of peers across disciplines, and the perspectives of faculty and administrators. Armed with this knowledge, they design strategies to take advantage of these opportunities for change.”
This month, students will have the opportunity to participate in the Silicon Valley Meetup, which brings together all Fellows trained in fall 2017 and spring 2018. During this gathering, Fellows will take part in immersive experiences at Stanford and Google, and work with leaders in education and industry. They will participate in experiential workshops and exercises focused on topics including movement building, innovation spaces, design of learning experiences, and new models for change in higher education.
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