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Partner and Mentor

Join our group of supporters to assist fellows during their year-long commitments.

Brain Trust

As a member of the Brain Trust, we will call on you to offer support in your areas of expertise. This may include a phone call or meeting with a student (or team) to help problem solve or work through a specific task, host an Innovation Lab around a specific area of topical expertise, or just be “on hand” for informal support. Brain Trust members will be invited to participate in pitch competitions, networking events, and capstone celebrations. Time commitment is dependent on interest and availability.

Brain Trust members help inform development of the Fellows program. Campus members help identify campus connections and resources, offer insights and feedback, and serve as a pipeline to potential student participants. External members serve as the primary networking group for our teams. We encourage Fellows to engage with these members as an extension of our campus community.

Team Mentor

A Brain Trust member talks to Social Innovation Fellows

Each of our student teams will be carefully matched with a community mentor to help steward their project throughout the year. While the Institute will provide core support, mentors will offer “real world” perspectives and engage in a deeper relationship with a team.

This is an opportunity to truly impact the trajectory of a venture and engage more actively and regularly with students. No specific area of expertise is required but rather a commitment to helping students find connections and resources, and be a sounding board for ideas and development. Mentors will provide important feedback to Institute staff on how teams are progressing and help to anticipate problems. At minimum, a monthly face-to-face check in is required. Additional time commitment can be negotiated with individual students and teams.

Venture Partner

From on-campus startups to international enterprises, businesses at any scale can help pave the way to a successful year for the Fellows. Venture Partners provide teams with the challenge they will work on for the year.

The overarching responsibilities of a Venture Partner revolve around two major actions: communication and education. You will communicate regularly with your team to help them work through our curriculum. We are looking for Venture Partners who will provide educational input and context so that students can fully understand the problem your organization, business or research is trying to solve. You will help them see the underlying challenges through your eyes and the eyes of your stakeholders.