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Social Innovation Fellows

Grow empowered to find and pursue your passion.
Engage deeply in understanding a social issue related to food + water.
Become an innovative problem solver to tackle the grand challenges in our state and the world!

Discover. Design. Do Good!

Social innovation is powered by people with passion and motivation to use their talents to design and implement solutions to our most challenging and systemic social problems. 

Do you want to make a positive social impact with your skills? Become an NC State Social Innovation Fellow!

Learn adaptive leadership skills to become a successful entrepreneur + technical skills to create and launch an enterprise or project that seeks to achieve positive social impact.

Apply to be part of the 2017-18 inaugural class of NC State’s Social Innovation Fellows and tackle real-world issues in a dynamic and unique way!

Learn more here!

Find your Purpose

Learn from successful social entrepreneurs and grow in your ability to ignite social impact with positive solutions.

Apply Today!

Change the World

Engage with a broad community and fall in love with the problem. Understanding the problem from many perspectives is key to launching a successful venture.

See an example of where social innovation meets sustainability at NC State.

What is a Social Innovation Fellow?

Creative confidence is the notion that you have big ideas and the ability to act on them.

- IDEO | Insights for Innovation

Often all it takes to unlock your potential as a dynamic problem solver is creative confidence. Creativity is not simply the capacity to draw or paint, but rather it is a way of approaching the world. 

Candidates for the Social Innovation Fellows must be bold in accepting this challenge and willing to explore personal growth to achieve impactful solutions.

Social Innovation Fellows...

➢ have a passion to change the world and want to explore deeply a great social challenge related to food and/or water;
➢ may have a social impact idea but don’t know where to go to develop this idea;
➢ are currently working on a social venture, product or project solo or with a team; and/or
➢ may want to join an existing venture team.

Fellows Expectations

Social Innovation Fellows will combine emphasis on learning both adaptive skills
to become successful social entrepreneurs and innovators, and technical skills to ideate
and eventually launch a social project, product, policy or enterprise. Fellows will be required to meet at least once per month with their team and in addition, participate in a skills-
based Innovation Lab with other teams and students
. Select readings and resources will
accompany the monthly topic. Site visits, focus groups, and tools such as life mapping,
appreciative inquiry and case studies will enhance the Fellow experience. Brain Trust
members will be on hand to provide ongoing mentoring and team coaching. Fellows’
work will culminate in a celebratory networking and pitch event to win seed
funding. Teams will receive a micro-investment of $1,000 for prototyping and development and a graduation cord upon completion of the program.

Taking Action

A yearlong team-based learning experience, Social Innovation Fellows will enable NC State’s young social entrepreneurs and innovators who are building the next generation of technologies, inventions and ventures to consider more fully their impact on humanity and our planet. Fellows will explore issues of ethics and sustainability at the intersection of social sector and responsible business practice. Fellows will grow in understanding of themselves and the positive impact they can make in their communities and the world. Importantly they will grow in confidence, become keen thinkers and problem solvers sensitive to knowledge and cultural differences and be better prepared to leave NC State as engaged and responsible global citizens.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are ideal candidates for the Social Innovation Fellows?
Social Innovation Fellows will include undergraduate and graduate students from all
corners of campus interested in becoming change makers – social entrepreneurs,
innovators and visionaries who have a dream to change the world –  who want to work on an interdisciplinary venture team to develop new methods to solve society’s greatest challenges. 

As a co-curricular opportunity, does the Social Innovation Fellows meet other University requirements or enhance my academic pursuits in some way?
In some cases, serving as a Fellow will fulfill other scholar requirements.* Social Innovation Fellows aims to build from existing campus assets, complementing coursework for students enrolled in entrepreneurship offerings by providing a cohesive co-curricular learning pathway. The Fellows can serve as an in-depth follow-on to the first year project work of the Goodnight Scholars or a service learning experience for Caldwell Fellows; or offer a supportive framework for students in business, design, engineering and textiles to continue exploration of market-based ventures and prototyping that have positive social impact.
*Social Innovation Fellows is an approved Civic Engagement Initiative for Park Scholars

What incentives and benefits accompany this Fellows opportunity?
Fellows completing all requirements will receive a cord to be worn at graduation. A $1000 per team micro-investment for development and prototyping will be made available, as will site visits to local start up communities and networking with our "Brain Trust" of campus and business entrepreneurs to develop resources and connections that could support future endeavors.

Become part of the Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Eco-system at NC State!

Our goal is to apply NC State’s powerful #ThinkAndDo message to impact our community and the world around us.



Contact us with questions!

Elizabeth Benefield, Social Entrepreneurship Program Manager

Katie Gray Altmann, Student Coordinator