8 June 2018: She’s determined, ambitious and, above all, innovative.
It was the latter characteristic that proved most valuable in University of Canberra industrial design student Amannda Huot securing a place in a prestigious fellowship program at Stanford University earlier this year.
Ms Huot has just spent six weeks participating in the Innovation Fellows Program at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, becoming the first University of Canberra student to complete the program in the process.
The program is a global initiative that trains and supports students to collaborate with faculty and administrators to identify opportunities to create transformative learning experiences at their universities.
“The main goal of the program is to empower students to become leaders of change in higher education, to ensure that all students gain the necessary attitudes, skills and knowledge to compete in the economy of the future,” Ms Huot said.
Now in the second year of her degree, Ms Huot’s interest in innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as her academic success, made her a perfect fit for the fellowship.
The 19-year-old spent six weeks undertaking intensive online training which culminated in a four-day Meet Up in Silicon Valley with other program participants.
Ms Huot, who was also recently elected Vice-President of the University’s Student Representative Council, secured an all-expenses-paid scholarship from the University so she could participate in the “once-in-a-lifetime” trip.
“I am incredibly grateful to the University of Canberra for this experience and I look forward to mentoring the next cohort of Fellows at UC so they too can experience this transformative learning journey,” Ms Huot said.
While Ms Huot learned about design thinking and how to identify problems and prototype solutions within a team, she also learned a valuable lesson about creating the right environment for innovative thinking.
“A successful collaboration involves an environment of psychological safety where people feel comfortable sharing their individual ideas and perspectives,” she said.
Ms Huot said she hopes to replicate this at the University through the development of an entrepreneurship and innovation help centre that encourages students to get creative.
“A strong emphasis of the program is creating change at your university once you return, so I have been thinking of ways to develop innovation resources for other students and the broader UC community,” she said.
“I’d also like to launch a series of design thinking workshops for students and staff, and work with the Faculty of Arts and Design to redesign the first-year orientation experience at UC.”
With these goals in mind, Ms Huot is now looking for volunteers to help bring her vision to life. If you want to help Amannda or have a chat about the future potential on campus, you can send her an email (email@example.com).