Student Innovation Center offers programs for all students to encourage innovation.

Iowa State’s Student Innovation Center prepares to kick off Flagship Fridays for the fall semester. Flagship Fridays began last year during the pandemic, giving students a virtual opportunity to engage in a moderated conversation between proven innovators and leaders in various industries.

In its first year, Flagship Fridays was very successful, boasting 2,400 participants throughout the years sessions.

Flagship Fridays offer venues to listen to professional’s paths to success and their unique takes on innovation and its integration into wider industry. Students are encouraged to interact with and question presenters to help enhance their understandings and growth.

This fall’s Flagship Friday sessions will look slightly different, the sessions will still take place online, but some will also take place at the Student Innovation Center for students who want an in person experience.

This falls first session takes place Friday September 10th, featuring Smeet Mistry, an Iowa State Alumni and former member of Team prISUm, who is currently a Resident Engineer at HARMON International and is moderated by David Slump, another ISU alumni, EVP and President of Global Markets at HARMON International. 

Slump is also the co-founder of Innovation Fellows, another program at the Student Innovation Center which offers students a chance to build their resume with the many offerings of the center.

The session will also include members from the current Team prISUm, and other guests joining the conversation virtually.

Kimberly Hope, Communications Expert for the Student Innovation Center, expressed just what Flagship Fridays have to offer students.

“The goal is to give students an opportunity to connect with someone who’s thinking innovatively," said Hope. “These are opportunities for students to start connecting and creating networks with people in the industries they want to go into.”

Flagship Fridays aim to provide students with a more complete picture of what innovation looks like. Rather than a traditional speech in which a speaker offers listeners thoughts and ideas, Flagship Fridays allow students to develop connections and understandings with real people.

“What we tried to do with virtual flagship Fridays is really create a more realistic impression of who the real person is,” Hope said. “It’s not just like what’s your story, how’d you do it, it’s like tell us what it was like when you were a student at Iowa State, and what were the first times when you thought innovatively in your industry. We want students to be engaged in that conversation.”

The idea of innovation in students is often not fully actualized. They see it in things like technology and agriculture but rarely conceptualize it in real-life situations.

“I want students from all the colleges to recognize that innovation is just looking at todays problems and and figuring out how we can solve them," Hope said. “Every college is doing that, every student who is passionate about what they’re learning should be doing that. We really want to have more Flagship Fridays and more opportunities for all of the students to really take advantage of what this building has to offer them.”

Flagship Fridays is one of the programs from the Student Innovation Center working to build more free-thinking, autonomous students. The overall attitude of the center encourages students to think outside the box and work towards brighter futures. 

“From what I’ve noticed from the people I’ve met already who are going to be flagship Friday presenters, they’re like ecstatic about working with students,” Hope said. “They don’t see students on this campus as just kids who don’t know what they’re doing yet, they’re like those are the people who have the ideas that we need in our industry, they definitely don’t see any students on this campus as not ready yet.”

On students paths to their degrees and careers the Student Innovation Center can help provide stepping stones to success.The multiple efforts of the Student Innovation Center encourage students to think for themselves and find their own success.

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