Skip to main content

Be a Change Agent for Santa Clara University!


Ciocca Center Innovation Fellows focuses on finding a pain point on our SCU campus and using design thinking methods and empathy to identify and implement solutions. This 1 year program is great for students who want to continue to improve and grow the SCU community. The first quarter is a learning experience of mastering design thinking tools as part of an interdisciplinary team. In the second and third quarter, student teams will work with SCU administrators to address a real problem on campus.  In the fourth quarter, students will further refine their ideas, test, and implement their creative ideas for solutions that stick, well beyond their time here at SCU.

Ciocca Center Innovation Fellows are committed to curiosity and fostering development of the student experience at Santa Clara University.

Issues that Innovation Fellows are addressing include:

  • Food insecurity
  • Male-identifying student access to mental health resources
  • A "one-stop" solution for student clubs to create events
  • Student attendance at sporting events
  • Making STEM spaces more inclusive for non-Engineers


Teaching Team

Prof. Kathy Sun


Keith Yocam


Hallie Mullane

Program Administrator and Teaching Assistant

2023-2024 Cohort

Sharmila Bhatt

Psychology, Real Estate

Samira Billow

Biology Major, Public Health Minor

Ivan Carrasco

Mechanical Engineering

Kendall Cox


Jackson Dwelle

Biochemistry Major, Entrepreneurship Minor

Sabrina Gonzalez


Daniel Gustin

Major in Economics and Minor in Technical Innovation, Design Thinking, and Entrepreneurship

Erik Keifer

General Engineering

Patricia Landers

Biology and Child Studies Double Major

William Langdoc

Sociology Major

April Le

Ethnic Studies Major

Anushree Malhotra

Psychology and Child Studies Double Major, Public Health Minor

Ahnika Mangalick

Computer Science and Mathematics Major

Chelsea Nguyen

Business Management Major Technical Innovation, Design Thinking, and Entrepreneurship Minor

Kimberly Salas-Ruiz

Child Studies Major (pre-health track)

Abigail Sauter

Neuroscience Major

Kelly Zhou

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Major

2022-2023 Innovation Fellows

Applications are closed for the 2024-2025 cohort.

  • Who can apply for this program?

SCU students who are rising Sophomores and Juniors (current First Year and Sophomores) are eligible to apply.

  • What is the time commitment?

Students commit to a 3 unit course, offered 1 unit each quarter.  There is a time commitment associated with and equivalent to a 1 unit course each quarter for a full academic year (Fall, Winter, and Spring).

Additionally, students commit to presenting their solution during the following Fall.

  • Can students participate in both Innovation Fellows and SCU Study Abroad?

Yes, it is possible.  You will need to be willing to attend some meetings virtually and to work with your team around timezones.  A number of Innovation Fellows have been part of SCU Study Abroad.  Please work with the Ciocca Center Program Director to work on developing a plan for this.

  • What topic will be the focus?

This program will be driven by the students and the groups engaged.  The theme is Santa Clara University, and this is a great program for students who want to continue to improve and grow the SCU community.

  • Has this course happened before?

As Design Thinking experts, the program continues to be improved upon.

A two year long version of this program is being offered to 16 undergraduate students.  Additionally, a version of this program has been offered to graduate students in the ECP at SCU.  An elective (non-credit) version has been offered for 4 years prior for undergraduates, the program has been well received by participants and students have asked for the creation of a larger for-credit version.

  • What majors is this year long course open to?

This program is open to all majors and will be interdisciplinary.

Abem Lucas

CS and Engineering

Ash Uyematsu

Biology, Public Health, Japanese Minor

Brian Wiebe

CS and Engineering, Technical Innovation Minor

Camren Kremers

Finance, Real Estate Minor

Evan Baerg


Harvard Muhm

Business, French

Hriday Gurnani

Finance, Economics

Jonathan Santosa

CS and Engineering

Kaitlin Webster

Neuroscience, WGST

Karl Schumacher

Bioengineering, Electrical Engineering Minor

Khushboo Gupta

COEN, Design Thinking and Innovation

Leo Illing

Physics, Mathematics Minor, Art History Minor

Lillian Coan


Nicolas Lyons


Olivia Sargent

Biochemistry, Public Health Minor