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Building Student Collaboration

Titan Innovation Focuses on What Students Can Achieve
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Six months after completing the Epicenter University Innovation Fellows program, Cal State Fullerton business majors Amerika Bernal and Cristian Sanchez are staying focused and on task, creating student connections and collaborations on projects throughout campus.

“We returned to campus to break down the natural barriers between the University’s colleges, bring students from all across campus together to work collaboratively and, ultimately, to enhance campus innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and venture creation,” said Bernal, a senior developing her own sound technology company.

One of their earliest efforts was just to get the word out and start networking. They built a website, created a video and drafted a plan, then began meeting with students and faculty members, “to find out what we could do to help other students, their programs and efforts,” she explained.

Under the name Titan Innovation, Bernal and Sanchez launched a Student Collaboration Movement, which seeks to unite students from multiple disciplines to work together to produce industry-level projects at a collegiate level. “Our team is made up of 18 students from business and engineering who are pushing for change on our campus.

“One of the easiest connections was to introduce business students, who can handle budgeting and funding, with engineering students,” said Bernal. “We helped establish a crowdfunding campaign for the CSUF Society of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Engineers (SUAVE) team. The campaign has reached one third of its goal so far.”

To increase exposure for the campaign and the engineering project, they showcased the aerial vehicle as part of March Business Madness, the 2015 Business Plan Competition and at the open house for the CSUF Startup Incubator in April.

What’s next? “We’re stepping up our movement by introducing TED Talks and starting conversations about new ways of doing things,” said Sanchez.

“We’re also looking for the next students who can follow in our footsteps, who can move Titan Innovation further,” Sanchez added. “To help Titans, Titan Innovation must become sustainable, and one of our goals is to establish a Center for Innovation somewhere central on campus. We also hope to expand the engagement through something like a ‘1,000 pitches’ contest, where the winners would receive scholarships.”