Opportunity knocks, again


Connor Murphy

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Business & Public Administration


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.”

Johansen (above) gives a presentation to a new crop of University Innovation Fellows recently during a stop at Google’s HQ in California’s Silicon Valley. Image courtesy of University Innovation Fellows.