Stanford GSB Recognizes Students Committed to Social Innovation


Stanford GSB Recognizes Students Committed to Social Innovation

The next generation of social innovators were honored with the Miller Social Change Leadership Award and Social Innovation Fellowships.
May 23, 2018
Photography by Stacy Geiken

Stanford Graduate School of Business recognized 14 students today for their dedication to social and environmental change. The students of the MBA and MSx (Master of Science for Experienced Leaders) programs were recognized for their valuable contributions to the community of Stanford GSB social innovators through student leadership, academic performance, personal passion, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Two students awarded the Social Innovation Fellowship (SIF) will each receive a $110,000 stipend upon graduation and disbursed throughout the following year as they work with Stanford GSB’s Center for Social Innovation (CSI) to advance their business models and build their organizations. Both recipients are pursuing educational ventures.

Social Innovation Fellowship recipients Claire Fisher (left) and Sarah Craig | Stacy Geiken

Sarah Craig, MSx ’18, will promote educational equity through a new school design, beginning in Richmond, Va. Through a competency-based, project-focused learning model that equally emphasizes academic excellence and career preparation, Journey Schools will provide students from diverse backgrounds with the next-generation skills they need to thrive in a global economy and work toward the community they want. The proposed educational model places an emphasis on a two-generational approach that treats parents as partners throughout the student’s education and a diverse school community where students with different backgrounds and learning styles are able to come together and thrive.

“I was honored to receive the fellowship, and really grateful!” Craig said. “The fellowship will give me financial support as well as additional credibility as I build the foundation for Journey Schools and ready our doors for opening next fall. I look forward to the close collaboration with CSI in the coming year.”

The second recipient, Claire Fisher, MBA ’18, BA ’13, will form a new type of public charter school called Arena. Centered on challenge, exposure, and entrepreneurship, the school seeks to train students to lead meaningful lives and be positioned for success in college and career. The school aims to accomplish this through academic rigor and excellence, leadership opportunities, technical arts programming, and strong partnerships with companies and community organizations. The school will be located in Oakland, Calif.

I am proud that a remarkable number of students and young alums are dedicating themselves to social entrepreneurship and to seeking socially responsible roles in organizations. This trend is a testament to the energy, optimism, and passion of our students to change the world for the better, through individual action and by working within larger organizations.
Dean Levin

“I am excited about the fact that the award affords me the opportunity to make this plan something I can and will do, not just talk about,” Fisher said. “It affirms my belief that there is a need for a school like this for the children I want to empower. These young people often are neglected by our system, yet they are the most capable of excelling in an environment that demands creativity, persistence, and resourcefulness. I am looking forward to the support from the SIF program and the way that it will allow me to learn from experts in the field doing incredible work and to leverage mentors and advisors to guide me.”

The merit-based Social Innovation Fellowships are awarded by a 10-member independent panel of judges. To be considered, the applicant’s venture must have a clearly defined mission, address a significant market failure and/or meet the needs of underserved populations, and have a robust business model and strong potential for impact.

The annual recognition of awardees of the Social Innovation Fellowships demonstrates Stanford GSB’s institutional commitment to develop students who can build upon traditional management disciplines to solve some of the most complex and challenging global problems.

“I am proud that a remarkable number of Stanford GSB students and young alums are dedicating themselves to social entrepreneurship and to seeking socially responsible roles in organizations,” said Jonathan Levin, the Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, at a community celebration last night. “This trend is a testament to the energy, optimism, and passion of Stanford GSB students to change the world for the better, through individual action and by working within larger organizations.”

Since 2009, Stanford GSB has awarded 19 Social Innovation Fellowships to help address topics including the achievement gap in U.S. schools, energy efficiency in commercial real estate, an alternative to dirt floors, and the financial struggles of low-income Americans.

Miller Social Change Leadership Award recipients | Stacy Geiken

In addition to recognition of the SIF winners, 13 students received the Miller Social Change Leadership Award, which honors graduating MSx and MBA students for their contributions to Stanford GSB social innovation community. Recipients of the Miller Social Change Leadership Award are selected based on their focus on social innovation through academic coursework and practical application, as well as their leadership within and contributions to the Stanford GSB community of social and environmental innovators during their time on campus. This year, the award recognized the following students:

  • Ruth Adu-Daako
  • Diego Ontaneda Benavides
  • Lyndsey Boucherle
  • Hansae Catlett
  • Sarah Craig
  • Jonty Olliff Cooper
  • Himanshu Gupta
  • Sithara Kodali
  • Jack Marzulli
  • Sarah Rahman
  • Patrick Schmitt
  • Ali Weiner
  • Helen Zou

These recognitions follow the announcement in February of the Frances and Arjay Miller Prize, which recognizes students who are pursuing a social innovation career path. Arjay Miller, the school’s fourth dean (1969-1979), who described himself as “just an old bookkeeper,” led Stanford GSB into the top ranks of management education institutions, expanded its endowment, and created the often-copied Public Management Program.

Photography by Stacy Geiken
Social Innovation Community Celebration attendees | Photography by Stacy Geiken
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