Valparaiso University was recently invited to join the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), a selective network of engineering faculty from 33 partnering institutions nationwide dedicated to developing an entrepreneurial mindset within undergraduate engineering students.

Through revolutionized curriculum, state-of-the-art facilities, and hands-on experience with expert faculty, the College of Engineering at Valpo is committed to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. The College of Engineering places extreme value on preparing its graduates for successful engineering careers with the skills to make a difference locally, nationally, and globally. It is the combination of technical competence, strength of character, and entrepreneurial mindset that prepares Valpo engineers for innovative futures and empowers them to make a positive impact in our world.

“Students come to Valpo’s College of Engineering to receive a great education and become well-rounded professionals,” says Sami Khorbotly, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. “It only seemed natural for Valpo to partner with KEEN in order to connect our faculty with an important network and the resources necessary to prepare our graduates with both a technical skillset and an entrepreneurial mindset.”

Valpo’s emphasis on accelerating innovation on campus was evident this academic year with the establishment of a chapter of Epsilon Nu Tau, the national entrepreneurship fraternity, as well as the dedication of the Innovation Hub at McMillan Hall. The Innovation Hub is an interdisciplinary center designed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, bringing together members of the campus community and the greater Valparaiso and Northwest Indiana community.

Epsilon Nu Tau and the Innovation Hub provide yet another means to fulfill the mission of Valparaiso University, preparing well-rounded graduates to do great things in the world that needs them. Recent College of Engineering graduates have a graduate placement rate of 98 percent and are employed and making a difference around the world at places like Boeing, Texas Instruments, the Indiana Department of Transportation, Raytheon, Arcelormittal, Eli Lilly and Company, Honeywell, and the United States Air Force.

By cultivating curiosity, making connections, and creating value, KEEN strives to prepare graduates of personal, economic, and societal value. The thousands of engineering faculty members that comprise KEEN are committed to implementing entrepreneurial mindset learning in their programs, creating transformational experiences for students, and giving students a competitive advantage in their careers.

Membership in KEEN is essential to furthering Valpo’s efforts to cultivate within its students an entrepreneurial mindset. By partnering with KEEN, Valpo faculty have been connected to a vital network of unparalleled faculty at universities across the nation and have gained access to invaluable resources for faculty education and tools to advance the College’s curriculum. This partnership has given Valpo faculty the opportunity to join online communities, visit partner institutions, and attend conferences with like-minded individuals committed to innovative undergraduate engineering education.

Utilizing KEEN connections and resources, Valpo is currently developing transformative curricular and extracurricular programs that will instill in our students the technical competencies and entrepreneurial spirit needed for success in the ever-changing job market. These connections will allow Valpo’s College of Engineering to continue its trajectory of growth and innovation and to strategically prepare for its future, and more importantly, the futures of current and future Valpo engineering students.

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