Iowa State University’s Student Innovation Center launches unique programs for campus, public

Student Innovation Center

Freshman Ashley Falcon, left, an undecided engineering major from West Des Moines, studies adjacent to another student on the fourth floor of the Student Innovation Center on Aug. 18. Photo by Christopher Gannon. Larger image.

AMES, Iowa — With the opening of the Student Innovation Center at Iowa State University comes new, unique opportunities for students, faculty, staff and the public to interact with and learn from industry leaders in innovation and entrepreneurship.

The state-of-the-art Student Innovation Center opened its doors in August and kicked off a series of events, lectures and one-of-a-kind professional training. The entire slate of events can be found on the center’s calendar at

“We offer students unique and opportunity-expanding relationships with global industry leaders,” said Karen Kerns, entrepreneur-in-residence for the ISU President's Initiative for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “Attending these innovation mindset sessions, in combination with completion of the Innovation Fellows Corps requirements, differentiates ISU students from their peers and accelerates their professional progress.”

On Thursday, Oct. 29, Abraham Higginbotham – four-time Emmy Award winner, executive producer and writer of shows such as “Modern Family,” “Will and Grace,” and “Arrested Development” – will discuss what it takes to make it as a writer in the entertainment industry and how those skills and mindsets can apply in all careers.

“How to Innovate Situational Comedy” will take place from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 29, online. Register for this event at

After years of struggling as an actor in New York City and then Hollywood, Higginbotham tried his hand at comedy writing. A job on a short-lived TV series led to his success. His 10 years working on “Modern Family” resulted in four Emmy Awards, two Humanitas Prizes, two Writers Guild Awards and several Producers Guild Awards.

His lecture at Iowa State is part of an impressive slate of upcoming events at the Student Innovation Center. Learn about these series and more opportunities this fall:


The “Flagship Fridays: What IF – Innovators Forum” series offers moderated, online conversations for all (ISU-affiliated and the public) to hear directly from industry leaders about their personal stories of innovation and their perspectives on why innovation is such a critical driver of social and economic progress and sustainability.

See the full lineup – with more events to come – online at

Short Circuits

Innovation Short Circuits are designed for industry experts and influencers to lead two-hour conversations on topics to help students gain expertise in innovation mindset, skills and practices.

Find all upcoming Short Circuit events at

Innovation Fellows Corps

The new Innovation Fellows Corps program pairs ISU students with industry leaders and collaborators to create programs, products and ideas that can change the world.

The experience-based program features more than 50 industry influencers delivering free programming during the academic year.

Student Innovation Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in monthly conversations and workshops, network and build relationships, create programs and products, enhance their academic and professional experiences at Iowa State, and work with mentors.

Students who complete all three of the program’s “relays” will be designated an Innovation Fellow. Students can learn more and apply online:

More opportunities