UBC Sauder students recognized for establishing prestigious leadership program at UBC

Posted 2017-04-05

Bachelor of Commerce students Alex Gillis and Kristine Wong were recognized by President Santa J. Ono yesterday for bringing the Stanford University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program to UBC campus.

UIF is a global program based out of Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( which empowers students to become agents of change at their universities. Fellows are encouraged to create opportunities for students from across campus to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity, as well as improve connections between students, administrators and faculties in these key areas.

For Gillis, a first-year Bachelor of Commerce student, Loran Scholar and award-winning entrepreneur, the program is an opportunity to promote an entrepreneurial mindset with students beyond the business school – a task that he and Wong will tackle in partnership with President Ono.

“Kristine and I are excited to work with President Ono and provide a student perspective to help make entrepreneurial education more accessible to students in all faculties,” Gillis explains. “Having a basic skill set in entrepreneurship is important, because it helps students make more rational and analytical decisions about any opportunity presented to them.”

Wong, a third-year BCom student who serves on the Commerce Undergraduate Society Council and as a research assistant and senior orientation leader, adds, “We hope to reach out to students through various workshops and bring their ideas about UBC’s entrepreneurial ecosystem directly to President Ono,” she says.

“UBC is proud of Alex and Kristine,” Ono said. “Their participation in the Stanford University Innovation Fellowship Program shows just how innovative, creative and talented these two students are. I look forward to working with them to boost entrepreneurship at UBC.”

Stanford UIF

Gillis and Wong are the second team in Canada to complete the rigorous program, which has trained more than 1,000 students at 185 schools since its creation.

“The core belief of our program is that students can be partners with faculty and administrators to help lead change in higher education,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-director of the UIF program. “When we empower students to be the co-designers of the education experience, they create a better educational environment for others as well as themselves.”

Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators as individuals or teams of students, and are selected through an application process twice annually. Following acceptance into the program, schools and generous community sponsors fund the students to go through six weeks of training and travel to the annual University Innovation Fellows Silicon Valley Meetup. Throughout the year, they also take part in events and conferences and have opportunities to learn from one another, Stanford mentors, and leaders in academia and industry.