Innovating Innovation: Unpacking URM Engagement in NSF I-CORPS – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Innovating Innovation: Unpacking URM Engagement in NSF I-CORPS

Jesse Gilbert-Sovern

Jesse Gilbert-Sovern

Pronouns: he/his/him

Research Mentor(s): Aileen Huang-Saad, Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 3 (1pm-1:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 16
Presenter: 1

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NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) is a 7-week entrepreneurship education program that brings academics and industry experts together for an opportunity recognition project and business model creation. While the program has met with success since its inception, it has had challenges attracting and engaging racially minoritized populations (i.e., people who identify as Black, Latinx, or Native American). Diversity is not only critical in entrepreneurship, but beneficial in problem solving and innovation. This study aims to better understand how I-Corps can better attract and engage racially minoritized populations and unpack how to help foster an inclusive environment for racially minoritized participants in I-Corps. To address this challenge a series of interviews were conducted with I-Corps participants who identified as racially minoritized and a subset of those interviews were analyzed. Two themes emerged: 1) I-Corps must improve on recruiting racially minoritized populations and 2) racially minoritized participants experienced additional barriers while participating in the program. To combat these issues several implementable policies and guidelines are proposed.

Authors: Jesse Gilbert-Sovern, Jocelyn Jackson, Meaghan Pearson, Aileen Huang-Saad, Joi-Lynn Mondisa
Research Method: Data Collection and Analysis

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