Six Students Named Graduate Entrepreneurial Fellows For Fall 2022

Six Students Named Graduate Entrepreneurial Fellows For Fall 2022
Jayson Holt

Six students representing three U of A colleges have been awarded the Graduate Entrepreneurial Fellowship through the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Designed to support promising students in the pursuit of deep entrepreneurial training, the Graduate Entrepreneurial Fellowship launched in 2021 with support from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. The fellowship includes a graduate assistantship and tuition waiver for students who do not already have one, as well as an additional stipend. Fellows pursue entrepreneurial coursework and receive intensive mentoring, access to seed funding and business plan coaching.

Asmita Singh, a doctoral student in the Department of Food Science, is working to develop sensory-friendly products and environments to improve accessibility for neurodivergent people. She was attracted to the fellowship for the opportunity it affords her to experiment and learn in a domain outside her primary expertise. She hopes to build a network of mentors and make lifelong connections with fellow entrepreneurs.

"An interdisciplinary entrepreneurial focus brings varied perspectives that can help a business be resilient," Singh said. "Our team could have a strong technical knowledge, but without our business and marketing savvy members, ideas won't become reality."

That opportunity to collaborate across multiple disciplines also interested Bhavya Patel, a first-year master of business administration student.

"I love how the path of innovation looks different for everyone, and every day there is a new challenge you can solve, which in the end leads to impactful solutions," Patel said. "It is important to connect with people from diverse backgrounds because it allows us to broaden our horizons where better discussions and results can take place."

The Fellows, listed below, will devote at least 20 hours per week to their entrepreneurial pursuits:

  • Montinique Davis 

    • Degree program: Sam M. Walton College of Business, Master of Finance 

    • Discipline: finance 

    • Faculty adviser: Sarah Goforth 

    • Entrepreneurial focus: Understanding the "why" and "how" behind a successful in order to grow and scale efficiently  

  • Mahsa Haseli 

    • Degree program: College of Engineering, doctorate 

    • Discipline: chemical engineering  

    • Faculty adviser: Jorge Almodovar 

    • Entrepreneurial focus: Replace pills and injections with novel electronic patches that heal wounds in humans and animals while monitoring drug output to the patient 

  • Roseline Igah 

    • Degree program: Walton College; Master of Applied Business Analytics 

    • Discipline: information systems  

    • Faculty adviser: Elizabeth Keiffer 

    • Entrepreneurial focus: Improve work-life balance through process improvements in operations and service delivery for startups, then scale to larger organizations 

  • M. Hossein Kashefizadeh 

    • Degree program: College of Engineering; doctorate 

    • Discipline: civil engineering 

    • Faculty adviser: Gary Prinz  

    • Entrepreneurial focus: Reduce fatalities and property damage from earthquakes by making buildings better resistant to seismic activity 

  • Bhavya Patel 

    • Degree program: Walton College; Master of Business Administration

    • Discipline: entrepreneurship 

    • Entrepreneurial focus: Harnessing technological innovations to streamline healthcare information and transform education into action 

  • Asmita Singh 

    • Degree program: Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food & Life Sciences; doctorate  

    • Discipline: food science 

    • Faculty adviser: Han-Seok Seo 

    • Entrepreneurial focus: Modifying food properties and creating a sensory-friendly environments to improve accessibility for neurodivergent individuals 

The master's students in the program received the Graduate Entrepreneurial Fellowship, while three doctoral students received the Kaneaster and Ruth Lindley Hodges Entrepreneurial Fellowship

The Graduate Entrepreneurial Fellowship program provides a graduate assistantship, if needed, and a $10,000 stipend for master's students or a $12,000 stipend for doctoral students. The Hodges Fellowship is awarded yearly to three exceptional doctoral students, boosting their stipend to $22,000. 

Applications are currently open for applicants hoping to pursue their fellowship year beginning in Spring 2023 and will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary faculty committee in November.  

A virtual information session about the fellowship and the Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship will be held on Oct. 7 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Interested students may register here.  

All fellows take the graduate New Venture Development I and II courses offered by the Walton College, during which they will engage their business ideas in interdisciplinary teams. 

About the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation creates and curates innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for students across all disciplines. Through the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, McMillon Innovation Studio, Startup Village, and Greenhouse at the Bentonville Collaborative, OEI provides free workshops and programs — including social and corporate innovation design teams, venture internships, competitions and startup coaching. A unit of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Division of Economic Development, OEI also offers on-demand support for students who will be innovators within existing organizations and entrepreneurs who start something new. 

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