Johnson C. Smith UniversityNews

JCSU Students Named University Innovation Fellows By Stanford D.School

In a recent announcement, Stanford unveiled the newest cohort of University Innovation Fellows, a group that includes Johnson C. Smith University students, Eryn Glover ’25, Jayden Petrus ’25, and Jerome Adonis ’24. Renowned for empowering students as catalysts for change within academic institutions, the University Innovation Fellows program channels the energy of these forward-thinking individuals towards shaping a progressive educational landscape.

Humera Fasihuddin, the program’s co-director, emphasized the pivotal role of student leaders in molding the teaching and learning experience globally. “Students can provide an essential perspective on what learners need to succeed and thrive in the world today, and students can take the lead on making the necessary changes happen at their schools,” she noted.

Nominated by faculty and administrators, the fellows underwent a rigorous selection process, culminating in their acceptance into the program. Following this milestone, they engaged in a comprehensive six-week online training module, honing skills to analyze their campus environments and identify opportunities for transformative change.

Glover, Petrus, and Adonis have set their sights on fostering a more inclusive and cohesive community at JCSU, with a keen focus on enhancing the emotional and social well-being of students. Their visionary ideas include redesigning classroom layouts and introducing an application called SoulfulHarbor. This app functions as a social network, connecting students with shared interests and serving as a dynamic social calendar to boost attendance at university events.

Understanding the direct impact of emotional and social well-being on academic performance, Glover emphasized the importance of prioritizing these aspects for an enhanced student experience.

The trio’s project will unfold through faculty training, curriculum revisions that encourage collaborative work experiences, a pilot phase, and eventual full-scale implementation. Adonis, a Computer Engineering major, expressed his excitement about contributing to a program driven by students dedicated to enriching their peers’ experiences.

Working alongside Dr. John Bannister, the designated “faculty champion” for the fellows, the students are poised to navigate challenges and guide their innovative initiatives. Bannister, a candidate in the Stanford’s faculty innovation fellows program, highlighted the need for changes to be aligned with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking, and creativity.

The University Innovation Fellows program boasts participation from 68 higher education institutions across 15 countries. Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-director of the program, commended the new Fellows for designing experiences that equip all students with the skills and mindsets crucial for navigating uncertain times and shaping a future aligned with their aspirations. As they contribute to their school communities, these Fellows simultaneously cultivate strategies in design, creativity, and leadership that will undoubtedly shape their future careers.

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