Innovation Education

Writer michael vyskocil
Photographer Eric Forberger

Design thinking,
and innovation.

At York College of Pennsylvania, students apply these elements to their education. Last fall, eight Graham Innovation Scholars from York College successfully completed training and were accepted into the prestigious University Innovation Fellows. This global group of young adults — whose motto states, “We believe students can change the world” — works to help their peers compete in tomorrow’s economy by becoming agents for change in higher education today.

Administered by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (, these Fellows are individuals who work with faculty and administration at their colleges and universities to innovate the methods used to educate students by involving students in these processes.

Ben Hinkel, Benjamin O’Connor, William Amtmann, Victoria Cox, Vivian Ferris, Miranda Gajda, John Kershner and Robert (Nick) Vandemark are the Fellows who are working with Graham Innovation Scholars Director Dr. Dominic DelliCarpini, faculty and administrators to design new courses, promote collaboration across academic departments, create campus innovation spaces and connect the York community with York College students in project-based learning.

Last November, these Fellows participated in the Silicon Valley Meetup, a gathering of over 300 new Fellows from across the world for an immersive four-day workshop at Stanford’s and Google headquarters. There they interacted with student leaders from 62 institutions to discuss designing learning experiences and promoting innovation opportunities on their campuses. “This is a huge step forward for our College,” says Gajda. “By having the opportunity to collaborate with other design thinkers, we will be able to spark new ideas so that we can make an impact here at York College.”

“This wouldn’t be possible without the support of Mr. [Donald C.] Graham,” Cox says. “It’s exciting to have faculty, staff and students supporting us too. Our work is just the beginning of creating innovation at York College.”

Speaking of creating, the students’ work on the new Graham Innovation Zone — a new campus maker space — also represents an outgrowth of design thinking. “We’re molding this space to our needs; we will have new technologies such as 3D printers and specialized software, and we can use it to host seminars and projects with students from across campus,” Hinkel notes.

“We [the York College Fellows] are showing others that the College is open-minded,” adds John Kershner. “We want to create change and shape new ways of thinking.”


York College’s University Innovation Fellows welcome feedback from members of the York community about ways to forge new collaborative partnerships.

Contact them at

york college of pennsylvania
  • 441 Country Club Rd. York, PA 17403
  • 717.846.7788
york college of pennsylvania
  • 441 Country Club Rd. York, PA 17403
  • 717.846.7788