2020: A Year of Resilience

A Word from Program Director Elizabeth Benefield

2019-20 Fellows

How would I describe the 2019-20 cohort of Social Innovation Fellows?

Ambitious, Courageous, Optimistic, Resilient

They chose to tackle issues of sexual assault, child nutrition in a third world country, the health of migrant farmworkers, textile waste, and the safety and prosperity of female artisans in Bangladesh. Despite an often frustrating and bumpy journey, they embraced the “messy” work of social change, and not once did they back down from asking tough questions and being pushed out of their comfort zones.

Just as the students were hitting their stride, COVID-19 hit. Plans to conduct focus groups, distribute user surveys, travel to Haiti, and complete research and data collection came to a sudden halt. Practicing the very skills we learned together in our Innovation Labs, they adapted, showing up with renewed dedication to each other and a commitment to finishing strong. And epitomizing NC State’s Think and Do the Extraordinary, every team exceeded our expectations and delivered meaningful work to our Venture Partners.

I am so proud of this group of young changemakers!

Please check out this first edition website that highlights the work of this cohort. You are invited to watch the full recording of our final presentation event that includes comments from Provost Arden and Dean Jeffrey Braden. Or click through to find individual group projects. I think you will be inspired!