Lakeland University Blog

Innovator Fellowship program allows high school students to tackle creative thinking

Innovator Fellowship program allows high school students to tackle creative thinking


Innovator Fellowship program allows high school students to tackle creative thinking

The 2023-2024 Innovator Fellowship program is in its final steps as a diverse group of eight Sheboygan North High School juniors and seniors prepare to present their year-long projects to the community.

This unique initiative, a collaboration between North High School and Jake’s, A Lakeland Community, encourages students to explore pressing issues and career paths beyond traditional classrooms.

Under the guidance of the Innovator Fellowship (IF) program's mentors and staff from Lakeland University and Jake's, A Lakeland Community, these students are shaping innovative projects and discovering their own identities. Each student works 1-2 daily hours at Jake's, A Lakeland Community, on 529 Ontario Ave., Sheboygan, to develop and implement their projects.

The IF Program is a project-based, collaborative learning experience that encourages students to delve into career paths beyond the ordinary, fostering a community of creative thinkers. The program's goal is to inspire students to "Dream Big" and turn those dreams into reality, transcending the confines of North High School.

“This group of Fellows is working on some exciting, significant projects that have the potential to impact our community,” said Stephanie Hoskins, Lakeland’s Herbert Kohler & Frank Jacobson Chair for Business and Entrepreneurship.

“These young Innovator Fellows are not just students; they are budding changemakers, tackling urgent challenges and introducing creative solutions. They embody a fusion of individual passions, community demands and a commitment to positive change.”

As the 2023-2024 school year progresses, these eight students are preparing for their final presentations this spring, showcasing the culmination of their hard work and dedication.

Their projects not only earn them credits towards graduation but also offer them the opportunity to earn Honors credits. Beginning this fall, Fellows can earn college and high school credit for their projects.

The 2023-24 Innovator Fellowship lineup includes:

  • Anna Adamavich, junior, “INSPIHER.” Anna's summer day camp empowers girls aged 8-13 to dream big and become active members of society through fun activities and mentorship.
  • Alina Cha, senior, “What’s Your Story?” Alina's installation provides a platform for sharing narratives, fostering connections and empathy across different backgrounds.
  • Eileen English, senior, “Beat! A Musical Garden.” Eileen's project designs an outdoor musical installation at Vollrath Park, featuring five stations with instruments and a children's storybook, to encourage musical expression in the community.
  • Isabella Froh, senior, “Open Ears.” Isabella's initiative installs 'telecoil hearing loops' in Sheboygan's public places, improving the experience for individuals with hearing aids in loud settings.
  • Jake Leismer, senior, “Sheboygan County Youth Voters.” Jake's organization engages Sheboygan’s 16–25-year-olds in local politics through voter registration drives and information campaigns.
  • Flinn Opel, junior, “STEAM Sheboygan” Flinn's project inspires students through STEAM education, using the Questioneers book series to nurture critical thinking, self-expression and creativity.
  • George Phillips, senior, “Sheboogie.” George's project aims to bring together a diverse group of musicians and promote the live jazz scene in Sheboygan.
  • Sarah Redell, junior, “Vision for Success.” Sarah's project ensures elementary students in the Sheboygan Area School District will receive necessary glasses by partnering with local nonprofits and raising awareness in schools.

Click here to learn more about the IF program and other entrepreneurial opportunities.

Follow Jake's, A Lakeland Community, on Instagram and Facebook for updates on plans for the students’ final presentations this spring and summer, and for the exciting projects on the horizon for the fall of 2024.

About the Innovator Fellowship program

The program, which was established in 2013 by North’s Jason Bull and Jay Johnson in collaboration with then-Jake's Cafe, fosters a multidisciplinary community of creative thinkers, encouraging participants to develop passion-driven concepts through project-based, collaborative learning.

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