Published June 20, 2017
Twenty-five UB students have been named WNY Prosperity Fellows for 2017-2018. The fellowships, which are made possible through support from the Prentice Family Foundation, are awarded to college and graduate students with an entrepreneurial drive who want to make a difference in Western New York.
The program assists undergraduate and graduate students at UB and Canisius College who are actively preparing for careers that further economic development and growth in the region. This year’s fellows range from an undergraduate electrical engineering major researching microfluidics and ultrasound for health care applications to a PhD in entrepreneurship and business strategy who is conducting research on crowdfunding’s potential to help entrepreneurs fund early-stage ventures where traditional financing is not available.
Bios of the UB WNY Prosperity Fellows are available online.
Each fellow is awarded $25,000 in scholarship and internship support for an academic year, based on financial need. Including this year’s gift, the Prentice Family Foundation has invested $4.3 million in the program at UB alone.
Paid, credit-bearing internships assist fellows in acquiring both academic and practical experiences in their intended professions. Fellows are given the opportunity to intern in their chosen fields of interest, where they work alongside and are mentored by leaders in upper-level management.
“The Prosperity Fellows are among the best and the brightest students UB has to offer. With their entrepreneurial spirit and intellectual curiosity, these young men and women will be integral to Western New York’s economic future and success,” says A. Scott Weber, vice president for student life. “UB is proud to help provide them with a unique and transformational experience that connects them with the leaders from the region’s nonprofit and business sectors.”
UB’s fellows also receive $1,000 through an enrichment fund to enhance their fellowship year and further support their professional and personal growth. Fellows have used this funding to support their research, attend or present at a professional conference, and pursue a second internship experience with a local organization.
Fellows also receive complimentary membership to attend meetings and trainings sponsored by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s 360 program, Emerging Business Leaders and the WNY Venture Association.
This year’s fellows began their program with an orientation in late May, where they attended speed networking sessions to get to know one another and also met with Prosperity Fellowship alumni. In addition, fellows heard presentations from leaders of Western New York nonprofit organizations, and toured Silo City with owner Rick Smith, who is also president of Rigidized Metals.
The orientation, along with the programming afforded to the fellows throughout their fellowship year, provide these future leaders with an overview of the region’s opportunities and challenges. Specifically, it allows them to understand how they might contribute their talents to impact economic development in the region, says Hadar Borden, UB’s WNY Prosperity Fellowship Program director.
“My responsibility with our fellows is to make the case for Buffalo and Western New York, while developing their leadership potential. Our region needs their drive, ambition and creativity to remain in the region,” Borden says.
“True to its name, the City of Good Neighbors and its current leaders continuously open their doors and share their time with our fellows by hosting them for a tour, discussion or joining us for our signature program, Innovate N’ Caffeinate, a casual networking opportunity for our fellows with the region’s business and thought leaders.”