Chemical and biochemical engineering student Corey Brugh is one of two Colorado students accepted into a spring cohort of University Innovation Fellows (UIFs), a program which empowers engineering student leaders to bring more entrepreneurial activity to their campuses.
The UIF program is run by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. Brugh joins a network of 110 UIFs from 78 schools across the country.
As a non-traditional undergraduate, Brugh managed restaurants in Austin, Kansas City, Waco, Raleigh and San Antonio before attending Mines. When he got to campus, he began to look for opportunities to use his entrepreneurship skills to benefit Mines. Chemical and biochemical engineering professor Matt Liberatore suggested the program to Brugh and he applied. As part of the UIF program, Brugh established strategic goals for the university. His biggest one focuses on creating a multidisciplinary institute on campus that addresses innovation, design, entrepreneurship and creativity.
“In the real world, I wouldn’t just work with chemical engineers, I would work with mechanical engineers and other people with specific skillsets on projects,” Brugh said. “This institute is more of a mechanism that will allow for creativity and design, as well as, multidisciplinary teams to work together. Currently there is a foundation for it, and we hope to exponentially increase it.”
Humera Fasihuddin, leader of the UIF program for Epicenter, said the new group of students is “fired up and ready to make a difference at their schools, in their country, and around the world.”
“Initially, we were providing students with a set menu of offerings to bring to their campuses,” Fasihuddin said. “Now, we are empowering the students to analyze their schools’ landscapes and drive the changes that make the most sense for their schools and ecosystems.”
Economics and business professor Mark Mondry is helping sponsor Brugh due to their similar interest in creating new ideas.
“This program is yet another step to better connect Mines with the exploding start up community, and to connect Mines with other science-based institutions,” Mondry said. “This will provide students with immense opportunities.”
Brugh will be a fellow for as long as he’s committed to increasing opportunities for students at Mines.
“Even after I graduate I’m still going to work on my goals for Mines and what will be best for Mines. I think it’s important to give back,” Brugh said.