Alexa Innovation Fellowship

Inspiring and enabling student entrepreneurs to enhance their products with Alexa

2018 - 2019 Universities

Alexa Fellow: Katharine "Kit" Needham, Director and Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Alexa Fellow Bio: Kit is Director and Executive-in-Residence at Project Olympus where she provides start-up advice, business strategy planning, connections to industry experts, advisors, and the business community to student, faculty, and staff startups. She is a member of BlueTree Allied Angels and serves on the Screening Committee. Kit is an Advisory Board member of Chatham University's Center for Women's Entrepreneurship and adjunct faculty in their MBA program. She was Chief Operating Officer of Mellon Lab which was responsible for creating revenue-producing businesses for Mellon Bank. She also provides consulting services to promote economic growth to Chambers of Commerce, individual entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations.

Alexa Fellow: Jamie Coughlin, Director, Magnuson Family Center for Entrepreneurship

Alexa Fellow Bio: Jamie Coughlin has a 16-year history in entrepreneurship, as an entrepreneur and innovation incubator professional. He has managed the development of entrepreneurial programming and growth of new venture creation, and incubation throughout the Dartmouth community for students, faculty, staff, and alumni since 2013. Previously, Jamie was the CEO and Entrepreneur-in-Residence of the ABI Innovation Hub, NH's oldest business incubator. Jamie serves as the Chair and board member of the International Business Innovation Association (formerly the National Business Incubation Association), the world’s leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship serving 2,000 members worldwide. Jamie received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University.

Alexa Fellow: Sanjay T. Pothen; Director, Emerson Launch

Alexa Fellow Bio: Sanjay is the Director of Launch – Emerson College’s hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. In this capacity, he is focused on fostering entrepreneurship among students and on infusing innovation into the larger college. As a part of this focus, he is helping to position Emerson College as the leader in next-generation marketing communications. Prior to academia, Sanjay spent a decade on Madison Avenue – founding an early mobile marketing agency, running the mobile unit for Publicis Groupe in the U.S., and running an ad- tech DSP / DMP. He began his career in management consulting advising companies on strategy and operational issues.

Alexa Fellow: Alice Liu, Director, Viterbi Startup Garage

Alexa Fellow Bio: Dr. Alice Liu leads technology innovation and entrepreneurship activities at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering including the school’s incubator, Viterbi Startup Garage, and business competitions. Previously, Alice was the Director of Business Development and Strategy for Applied Minds, a multidisciplinary innovation company that designs, builds, and creates new technology solutions and companies in partnership with leading companies and entrepreneurs. She has also been a management strategy consultant for Boston Consulting Group and Bain and Company and Adjunct Faculty at Caltech teaching data science. Alice earned her B.S. and Ph.D. in Computation and Neural Systems from Caltech.

Alexa Fellow: Rodney Boehm, Director of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Associate Professor of Practice

Alexa Fellow Bio: Rodney Boehm is the Director of Engineering Entrepreneurship and an Associate Professor of Practice in the Texas A&M University College of Engineering. He has broad industry experiences, including over 35 years in all aspects of the telecommunications industry (sales, marketing, manufacturing, business development, and technical design), extensive experience in international companies, and running a startup. Currently he is using his technical business experiences to develop and run innovation and entrepreneurial programs for the College of Engineering, including Aggies Invent, Inventeer, and Pop Up Classes. He holds a BS and ME in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Alexa Fellow: Andrew C. Singer, Associate Dean for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, College of Engineering

Alexa Fellow Bio: Andrew Singer is Associate Dean for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the College of Engineering and Fox Family Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He joined Illinois after holding positions at Lockheed-Martin and MIT, where he received his SB, SM and PhD degrees. He was co-founder of Intersymbol Communications, Inc., a fabless semiconductor IC company, which built digital signal processing-enhanced receivers for 10Gb/s optical communications. In 2007, Intersymbol Communications, Inc. was acquired by Finisar Corporation. In 2014, he co-founded OceanComm, a provider of Mb/s underwater acoustic modem technology for subsea industries.

Alexa Fellow: Alexander Fred-Ojala, Research Director & Data Science Instructor

Alexa Fellow Bio: Alexander Fred-Ojala is the Research Director of the Data Lab and a co-founder of the Blockchain Lab at the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, in UC Berkeley's College of Engineering. He is also an instructor in the UC Berkeley class Applied Data Science with Venture Applications, he has co-developed the Data-X framework, and he is the lead Data Scientist of the international research project the Berkeley Innovation Index. Alexander has been part of the founding team of three companies: Wheely's (accepted into YC 2015), Auranest (Series A), and InnoQuant (Co-founder & COO).

Alexa Fellows: Eric Bacyinski, Director, External Engagement and Mentorship
Christine Gordon, Assistant Director, Curriculum and Experimental Learning

Alexa Fellow Bios: Eric is a seasoned relationship manager who directs the cultivation of the Center’s external network in startup ecosystems in North America and Europe. In addition to being the Center’s business development lead, he has: revamped the Center’s Startup Immersion Treks; partnered with dozens of startups and innovative corporations to enhance their recruitment strategy; co-led the establishment of the Entrepreneurs Leadership Program; and led the sourcing of speakers for the University's largest entrepreneurship speaker series. Eric has an appreciation for bold decision making, strong leadership, and those unafraid of expressing their opinion.

Christine leads the collaborative program and project management of curricular and co-curricular entrepreneurial offerings at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Christine is a liaison and mentor for students enrolled in CFE’s courses and coordinates curriculum development, the creation of enrichment opportunities, syllabi review, and management of CFE lecturers and the championing of entrepreneurial courses. She is the instructor for the University's largest entrepreneurship speaker series and is the Center’s lead for entrepreneurial summer study abroad offerings including: entrepreneurship and Innovation at NTU in Singapore; Innovation and Entrepreneurship Practicum+Internship in Scandinavia; and European Innovation Academy in Italy and Portugal.

Alexa Fellows: Tim Tiemann, Interim Managing Director, CSUN Innovation Incubator
Ryan Holbrook, Entrepreneurship Program Director

Alexa Fellow Bios: Tiemann graduated with an M.S. in Immunology and an MBA in Finance/ Marketing from the University of Rochester. He has spent many years as the Global Business Head for $100 million revenue products for Bayer, He moved to Motorola as the Executive Business Director for the design and launch of molecular diagnostic product line. He served as the Managing Director at Urchin Partners negotiating financial instruments before moving to DermaPort as the Business Director. Prior to joining CSUN he was the Director for Technology Commercialization of faculty inventions and negotiating patent licenses with existing and start-up companies at the University of Southern California.

As the Entrepreneurship Program Director at CSUN, Ryan has led the creation and development of the Nazarian College’s co-curricular programming in innovation and entrepreneurship since 2015. Previously, he studied entrepreneurship at Babson and UCLA Anderson and has 10+ years of experience in project management, process improvement, and sales. Ryan is dedicated to educating, connecting, and supporting founders at every step of their journey and fueling new business growth both at CSUN and within the greater Los Angeles area.

Alexa Fellow: Dr. Brent Sebold, Director of Entrepreneurship + Innovation @ the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Alexa Fellow Bio: Brent Sebold is the Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship + Innovation Training and Development Network within Arizona State University’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. In this role, Brent leads a variety of enterprise-wide entrepreneurial training and development initiatives for student, faculty, and community-based innovators. Concurrently, Sebold serves as the Director of Entrepreneurship + Innovation @ the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He also oversees the eSeed Challenge + Accelerator, which is the Schools’ premier new venture funding and support initiative. Brent is a serial entrepreneur who fails fast, fiercely, and frequently.

Innovation Fellowship FAQ

How do I apply for the Alexa Innovation Fellowship?
The Alexa Innovation Fellowship is awarded to select faculty members at leading universities whose primary focus is on teaching and advising students interested in technology entrepreneurship. The 2018-2019 class has been selected and we are not accepting applications at this time. Sign up below for our interest mailer to stay informed about the program and any future call for applications.

What does the Alexa Innovation Fellowship include?
The Alexa Innovation Fellowship includes:

  • Funding to support entrepreneurship center activities (e.g. courses, workshops, grant awards) to help entrepreneurs enhance their technologies with voice integrations
  • A variety of Alexa enabled devices
  • Training for the Innovation Fellow

What is the funding amount?
The Alexa Innovation Fellowship funding amount is intended to support entrepreneurship center activities such as courses, workshops and grant awards for student-led startups, though this amount varies based on the unique proposals of each Innovation Fellow.

How does the Alexa Innovation Fellowship work?
The Alexa Fund will provide each Innovation Fellow with funding via an unrestricted gift to their university, Alexa devices, and training resources, all intended to empower each Fellow to help students on their campus whose innovations can benefit from voice integrations. We selected each recipient of the Alexa Innovation Fellowship based on their proposal, other entrepreneurial activities on campus, available grant funding and experience with Alexa. Through in person and ongoing training, we anticipate that the community of Innovation Fellows will learn from one another and refine their programs over time.

Alexa Fellowship Interest Form

Enter your information below to stay up to date on the Amazon Alexa Fellowship. We will share updates about the program from time-to-time, along with any future calls for applications for your university to participate in the fellowship.