For Immediate Release
October 17, 2022
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(BPRW) Four Shaw University Students Named Innovation Fellows by Stanford University

(Black PR Wire) RALEIGH, N.C. – Four Shaw University students participated and completed training as University Innovation Fellows, a global program housed at Stanford University that empowers student leaders to increase campus engagement with innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and design thinking. Shaw students Louichard Benjamin, Exercise Science: pre athletic training, 2025; Marc Brown, Computer Science, 2025; Janell Odom, Biology, 2024; and Tamara Wood, Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice, 2024, completed the program during the fall 2022 semester. 

“Higher education needs student leaders engaged from the get-go,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. Fellows work to ensure that all students gain the attitudes, skills and knowledge required to navigate a complex world and build the future.

Dr. Vonda Reed, Faculty Champion for the fellows and Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Shaw University, said: “The University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program empowers our students to become change agents on campus by exploring Design Thinking to further understand the challenges that our students, faculty and staff face in a human-centric way. This approach will enhance our university’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, resulting in stronger academic and administrative processes to strengthen learning and productivity for all of our key stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, alumni, the community, industry, etc.) and to help build an adaptable community that remains dynamic and self-sustaining”

Innovation Fellows create student innovation spaces, start entrepreneurship organizations, facilitate experiential workshops, work with faculty and administrators to develop new courses, and more. Fellows are nominated by faculty and administrators as individuals or teams of students, and are selected through an application process each year. Following acceptance into the program, students participate in a 6-week online training experience. The University Innovation Fellows program is run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( 

Shaw University President Dr. Paulette Dillard said, “We are so proud of our students who were selected to participate in the prestigious University Innovation Fellows program run by Stanford University. Empowering students to become agents of change in the world perfectly aligns with our mission at Shaw University to prepare future global leaders for success. The entire Shaw family congratulates Louichard Benjamin, Marc Brown, Janell Odom and Tamara Wood on this outstanding accomplishment.”

Shaw University, located in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the first historically Black institution of higher education founded in North Carolina and is among the oldest in the nation. The University was founded in 1865 by Henry Martin Tupper. Dr. Paulette Dillard currently serves as the University’s 18th President. For more information, visit:

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