UND Student Returns To Prestigious Stanford Leadership Program

After attending the official 2017 gathering, or “meetup,” of new University Innovation Fellows, UND accounting student Atle Johansen was one of only 24 students asked to return to Silicon Valley in California and help lead the this year’s event, hosted annually by Stanford University. Photo by Connor Murphy/UND Today.

Atle Alexander Johansen, like many seniors, is in the final weeks at UND.

But as the saying goes — once a Fellow, always a Fellow, or something like that.

At the end of 2016, Johansen and two other UND students were selected for the prestigious University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program. The Stanford University-based leadership program, now in its fifth year, helps students harness their innovative and creative energy as agents of change on college campuses across the globe.

After attending the official 2017 gathering, or “meetup,” of new Fellows, Johansen was one of 24 students asked to return and help lead the 2018 event in California’s Silicon Valley March 15-19.

Johansen, an accounting major from Drammen, Norway, says his first UIF experience, in 2016, was a complete change of mindset for him. Hosted by Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, the meetup works to create a space where all ideas and solutions are welcome.

“There’s really two elements to the meetup,” Johansen explained. “One is creating an environment of psychological safety where people feel comfortable sharing their individual ideas and perspectives. The other is learning design thinking, which is a method used to identify problems, generate ideas and prototype valuable solutions as a team.”

Read more about Johansen’s experience in Silicon Valley here.