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Press Release  
Release Date: Friday, February 21, 2014 11:26 AM
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Rachel Mann
Communications Specialist

Howard Joins Two National Programs to Promote Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Pathways team leaders and Epicenter staff. Tori Rhoulac Smith, Ph.D. (second row, 3rd from right) represents Howard University. 

WASHINGTON (February 21, 2014) -- Howard University joins two national initiatives focused on fueling innovation and entrepreneurship. Howard was selected as one of 12 universities to take part in the inaugural cohort of the new Pathways to Innovation program. This program was created by the NSF-funded National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) to help universities incorporate entrepreneurship and innovation into undergraduate engineering education. Howard was also selected to join the inaugural cohort of the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative (IEC), a multi-disciplinary initiative funded by The Lemelson Foundation and supported by The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, United State Patent and Trademark Office and the United Negro College Fund.

The Pathways to Innovation program will equip the selected universities in their critical role of strengthening regional and global competitiveness. According to a recent report published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the majority of job creation in the country during the last two decades has occurred in young, startup companies. During the two-year process, participating Universities will receive access to training, successful models for integrating entrepreneurship into their curriculum, a national network of engineering and entrepreneurship faculty, and membership in a peer network of schools with similar goals.

“The program’s emphasis on enhancing undergraduate engineering education by equipping students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to contribute to economic and societal prosperity through innovation is directly in line with our vision, goals and plans in the College,” said Lorraine Fleming, Dean of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences (CEACS).

At Howard, the Pathways team leader is Tori Rhoulac Smith, Director of Undergraduate Studies and lead instructor for the Introduction to Engineering Course in CEACS.

HBCU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative, funded by The Lemelson Foundation, is a multi-year program aimed at providing new opportunities on the campuses of the 15 institutions in the group.

Selected universities will have the opportunity to participate in a collaborative community seeking to increase innovation and entrepreneurship across disciplines (i.e., agriculture, business, science, mathematics, engineering and technology, etc.) in order to build an innovation ecosystem among institutions, administrators, faculty and students, the federal government and private industry.  Through this cohort, Howard will have access to current and future funding opportunities that will be available only to those universities

 that commit to participate in this unique collaborative.

“These strategic collaborations focused on entrepreneurship and innovation are vital to preparing students for the future," said Fleming. "Students need to be equipped with the tools and networks necessary to not only find a job after college, but also to build new job opportunities in our global workforce."





Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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