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Iona College Students Earn Prestigious Stanford University Innovation Fellowships

In another measure of success of the vibrant Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, a state-of-the-art, collaborative co-working space that looks and feels straight out of Silicon Valley, four Iona students have been accepted into a prestigious global program that is pushing the boundaries of student creativity.

Run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (, the University Innovation Fellows program challenges students to become agents of change on campus, empowering them with the skills and the mindset to create a bolder future.

The students recognized this year for their entrepreneurial drive are Joanna Falisi ’23, Information Systems; Enjay Brown ’21, Media and Strategic Communications, Advertising; Melissa Juarez ’22, Business Administration; and Juan Cadile ’23, Computer Science and Philosophy.

Christoph Winkler, Ph.D., endowed professor and founding program director of the Hynes Institute, said the fellowship program is a perfect complement to Iona College’s core mission of learning through service. The students have identified a need on campus, and they are gaining the skills and attitudes to serve their peers with an entrepreneurial mindset.

These are not the first Iona students to be recognized by the renowned Stanford program. In 2019, Avery Burgos ’20, Marketing, Entrepreneurship Minor; Riana Khan ’22, Marketing and Entrepreneurship; and Lisbeth Baez ’20, Management Major, Entrepreneurship Minor were recognized at a celebratory pinning ceremony held in the Hynes Institute.

The induction of students into the program is a testament to the success of the Hynes Institute. Since its inception, the Hynes Institute has worked to develop the creativity and leadership skills of its students and bring them together in unique and collaborative ways to impact the world around them. For Baez, the Hynes Institute was a transformational experience.

“A key to learning is being aware of your actions, especially when you are part of a team,” said Lisbeth Baez, whose goal is to start her own social enterprise. “Being intentional is very impactful.”

In 2018, Iona College also had three fellows in the program. In all, more than 2,300 students from 270 higher education institutions globally have completed the training to be accepted into the program.

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