OEI Names Seven as Graduate Entrepreneurial Fellows for 2023

The Graduate Entrepreneurial Fellowship supports promising graduate students from all disciplines to pursue intensive entrepreneurial training. Clockwise from top left: Angellina Treat, Nhiem Cao, Anthony Owura-Akuaku, Joshua D. Upshaw, Morgan Reese, Katherine Alejandra Miranda Munoz, Saja Alshafeay.
Joshua Mast

The Graduate Entrepreneurial Fellowship supports promising graduate students from all disciplines to pursue intensive entrepreneurial training. Clockwise from top left: Angellina Treat, Nhiem Cao, Anthony Owura-Akuaku, Joshua D. Upshaw, Morgan Reese, Katherine Alejandra Miranda Munoz, Saja Alshafeay.

Seven students have been awarded the Graduate Entrepreneurial Fellowship, allowing them to pursue deep entrepreneurial training across myriad industries, from agriculture and biomedical engineering to outdoor recreation and healthcare. 

Led by the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the fellowship program launched in 2021 and is intended to support promising graduate students from all disciplines in the pursuit of scalable, technology-based ventures. Fellows devote at least 20 hours per week to entrepreneurial pursuits and gain opportunities for intensive mentoring and networking, access to seed funding and business model development. In their first year of the fellowship, which is renewable for a second year, most fellows pursue the Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship. 

Laura Moix, program manager for Biodesign Sprints and graduate programs in OEI, said these students play a "crucial role in advancing the university's land grant mission." 

"Thanks to the support of the entrepreneurial fellowship, these talented innovators are able to focus on bringing their ideas to market and providing solutions for real-world challenges faced by Arkansans and beyond," Moix said. 

For Anthony Owura-Akuaku, the fellowship is a "crucial stepping stone" toward becoming a socially conscious entrepreneur. Owura-Akuaku is working to prioritize sustainability and outdoor recreation as catalysts for progress in Ghana and across Africa. 

"The fellowship presents a valuable opportunity for me to work towards my overarching objective: to establish myself as a successful entrepreneur at the crossroads of business, innovation, sustainability and law," Owura-Akuaku said. 

Katherine Alejandra Miranda Munoz will utilize the fellowship to pursue her passion: improving medical care for livestock. 

"I'm eager to find practical ways to apply advanced biomedical technologies to improve veterinary care for farm animals," Munoz said. 

"My passion lies in developing and commercializing advanced drug delivery solutions like microneedle patches to enhance the well-being of farm animals, aligning with my long-term entrepreneurial vision of creating impactful solutions for the veterinary healthcare sector." 

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

Katherine Alejandra Miranda Munoz 

  • Degree program: College of Engineering, doctorate 

  • Discipline: biomedical engineering 

  • Faculty adviser: Jorge Almodovar 

  • Entrepreneurial focus: Discovering practical ways to apply advanced biomedical technologies to improve veterinary care for livestock. 

Saja Alshafeay 

  • Degree program: College of Engineering, doctorate 

  • Discipline: biomedical engineering 

  • Faculty adviser: Leonard Harris  

  • Entrepreneurial focus: Using computational modeling to empower researchers and healthcare professionals to make informed decisions based on data, leading to new scientific discoveries, increased operational efficiency and better patient outcomes. 

Nhiem Cao  

  • Degree program: Sam M. Walton College of Business, Master of Science in Product Innovation 

  • Discipline: strategy, entrepreneurship and venture innovation

  • Faculty adviser: Justin Urso 

  • Entrepreneurial focus: Pursuing and evaluating new innovations in the medical industry. 

Anthony Owura-Akuaku 

  • Degree program: Walton College of Business, Master of Finance; School of Law, LL.M. candidate 

  • Discipline: finance 

  • Faculty adviser: Cash Acrey, Susan Schneider  

  • Entrepreneurial focus: Identifying and prioritizing sustainability and outdoor recreation as catalysts for progress in Ghana and across Africa. 

Morgan Reese 

  • Degree program: Walton College of Business, Master of Science in Product Innovation 

  • Discipline: product innovation 

  • Faculty adviser: Justin Urso   

  • Entrepreneurial focus: Improving the cycling and outdoor experience for marginalized groups through modification of safety equipment. 

Angellina Treat 

  • Degree program: Walton College of Business, Master of Business Administration 

  • Discipline: entrepreneurship 

  • Entrepreneurial focus: Pursuing the commercialization of environmentally sustainable technologies, most particularly clean water and biofuels. 

Joshua D. Upshaw 

  • Degree program: Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, doctorate 

  • Discipline: psychology 

  • Faculty adviser: Darya L. Zabelina  

  • Entrepreneurial focus: Utilizing technological innovations to optimize holistic well-being through the integration of health data from subjective experiences and objective biophysiological metrics.  

Priority for the fellowship is given to students pursuing master's or doctoral degrees, but students pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship as an independent program are also eligible to apply. Full-time graduate students are eligible for a graduate assistantship, if needed, and a $10,000 stipend for master's students or a $12,000 stipend for doctoral students.  

The Kaneaster and Ruth Lindley Hodges Fellowship is awarded yearly to three exceptional full-time doctoral students, boosting their stipend to $22,000. Part-time students and those pursuing a certificate as an independent program are eligible for a flat award of $15,000 for those at the master's level and $17,000/year for participants at the doctoral level. 

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, the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation 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, the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation  also offers on-demand support for students who will be innovators within existing organizations and entrepreneurs who start something new.   

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