A Kettering University student was one of 24 students chosen to mentor students as a part of Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design University Innovation Fellows program.
Ashley Switalski ’18, a University Innovation Fellow in 2017, is one of 1,500 students worldwide to participate in the program. The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to increase campus engagement with innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and design thinking. The Chemical Engineering major concluded the program with the annual Silicon Valley Meetup last year in March.
This year, she returned as a Fabulous Mentor, one of 24 previous Fellows who were selected to organize the meetup, give talks and mentor current Fellows. The mentors, or Fabs, were selected for the impact they have at their schools and modeled that impact to Fellows.
“It was out of the blue. I wasn’t expecting it,” Switalski said. She spoke to 280 students and faculty attendees in addition to working behind the scenes. Students came from more than 70 schools, including institutions in Brazil, Peru, the Netherlands and Puerto Rico.
As an introverted person and self-described “quiet girl in the corner,” Switalski said she’s not the extroverted go-getter most people assume are Fellows.
“A lot of people overlook us as people who don’t have ideas,” she said. “We’re the ones who get all the stuff done. Showcasing those talents are just as powerful as the person on the stage.”
Returning to the meetup as a mentor reignited the spark for the work she does at Kettering. Switalski is the B-section Master Alchemist of the new professional chemistry fraternity Alpha Chi Sigma. She’s been involved in Kettering Student Government, Student Alumni Council, Kettering Entrepreneur Society, Society of Women Engineers, Cru and CHME Club, among others, and has done extensive volunteering.
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