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Students win national award to promote entrepreneurship

By Michelle Fredrickson, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture

PULLMAN, Wash. – Three Washington State University students have been awarded the 2015 University Innovation Fellowship, which will support them in a year-long project to encourage student entrepreneurship on campus.

Mechanical engineering students Mitchell Scott, Ryan Pitzer and Victor Charoonsophonsak are among 291 students across the U.S. to receive the honor. They will participate in a six-week online training course and a trip to Stanford University to network with other fellows.

Well-rounded education

From left, Victor Charoonsophonsak, Anchorage, Alaska; Mitchell Scott, Bellingham, Wash.; and Ryan Pitzer, Pullman, Wash.

They hope the fellowship helps them build communication and leadership skills and makes them better engineers.

“This fellowship helps us see the bigger picture,” Charoonsophonsak said.

“It helps us develop the soft skills,” Pitzer said.

“What we might call ‘the people factor,’” Scott added.

Innovation night planned for fall

The students are planning a WSU innovation and entrepreneurship night for the fall. A keynote speaker, dinner and workshops will encourage other entrepreneurial-minded students with their business plans and help them join groups where they can apply their skills.

“Our goal is to increase innovation on campus,” Charoonsophonsak said. “Students don’t know all the resources that are available to them here.”

“Engineering students will work with business students, business students with economics students, econ students with art students, etc.” Scott said.

They hope the innovation night will help students prepare for WSU’s annual Business Plan Competition in April (



Tina Hilding, WSU Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture communications, 509-335-5095,



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