Panel at KEEN partnership launch discusses impact of entrepreneurial engineering

ORISadmin Events, Innovation

Photo courtesy of the College of Engineering

KEEN partnership launch party on March 6, 2018. Photo courtesy of the College of Engineering


The Ohio State University recently celebrated its partnership with the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) at a launch party hosted by the Department of Engineering Education.


Last summer, Ohio State became the newest member to join the KEEN network of thousands of engineering faculty aiming to equip students with a more entrepreneurial mindset by transforming institutions and curriculums. The ultimate goal is to help students develop personal, economic and societal value, fostering a lifetime of meaningful work for each graduate.


“It is an extraordinary honor for the Department of Engineering Education and The College of Engineering at The Ohio State University to be invited to join KEEN,” said David Williams, dean of the College of Engineering. “We look forward to infusing an entrepreneurial mindset into the thousands of young engineers whom we teach each year. The opportunity to build connections with, and learn from the other KEEN partners, will prepare our students to create value and change the world they are entering.”


An 18-month grant from KEEN connects Ohio State with more than 30 partnering institutions within the Kern Family Foundation network. Through the Department of Engineering Education, the grant adds five courses to the curriculum annually, each incorporating the entrepreneurial mindset into core engineering areas of study. That mindset consists of curiosity, connections and creating value, according to KEEN.


A panel gathered March 6 at the Blackwell Inn and Pfahl Conference Center to discuss the impact of such learning as it relates to engineering at Ohio State. The partnership not only offers opportunities to network, collaborate and leverage resources of other KEEN-connected institutions, it pushes forward and strengthens undergraduate education within the College of Engineering.


Jay Sayre, director of innovation at the Institute for Materials Research (IMR), joined the panel as a faculty champion of the KEEN partnership.


IMR Director of Innovation Jay Sayre speaks at the KEEN partnership launch party on March 6, 2018. Photo courtesy of the College of Engineering

“I’m really excited about this partnership with KEEN,” Sayre said. “It aligns well with the innovation mission of IMR, which is built on a translational R&D interface that connects, creates and delivers value for our industrial partners. Entrepreneurial minded learning will generate learning outcomes in interdisciplinary collaborations and innovation methods, which is what our students need and our partners want.”


The KEEN reception also included a pinning ceremony for the newly named University Innovation Fellows (UIF) by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. UIF is a global program that aims to increase campus innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and design thinking through the empowerment of student leaders.


The four 2018 fellows from Ohio State are a mix of business and engineering undergraduate students: Liyang Feng, Juan Tramontin, George Valcarcel and Kai Vogeler.


Sayre serves as a faculty advisor to the group, along with Peter Rogers, clinical professor in the Department of Engineering Education.


The group is at the UIF Silicon Valley Meetup this week for several days of innovation workshops and immersive training activities, plus collaboration with peers and leaders in academia and industry. The program has trained more than 1,200 students, ranging from undergraduate to doctoral, at 216 schools around the world.


University Innovation Fellows at the KEEN launch party. From left to right: Peter Rogers, Liyang Feng, Juan Tramontin, George Valcarcel, Kai Vogeler and Jay Sayre. Photo courtesy of the College of Engineering


The Institute for Materials Research is an interdisciplinary institute that works across colleges and departments at The Ohio State University to facilitate, promote and coordinate research and infrastructure related to the science and engineering of materials.


Story by Mike Huson, IMR Public Relations Coordinator