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Alumnus Gabe Clark, ’16, Named to Stanford University Fellowship Program

November 16, 2018 by Elaine Rottman

Gabe Clark, Providence Class of 2016, has been named a University Fellow by Stanford University’s d.school program. A mechanical engineering major at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, Gabe was selected to join the University Innovation Fellows, a global program that empowers student leaders in 16 countries to create new opportunities for their peers to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and design thinking.

Gabe was awarded the fellowship based on his group project, “Get Everyone Making.” “I haven’t grown out of the little boy mentality to build planes and cars,” Gabe explains. “Everyone has ideas. The goal of ‘Get Everyone Making’ is to get more students across all disciplines to express and explore business ideas in a campus location where they can come together to develop a spirit of entrepreneurship.” 

The project offers one-hour pop-up classes on topics such as how to pursue investment funding for an idea, how to conduct market research, and how to use the university’s machine shop, wood shop, and 3-D printer lab to create prototypes. The engineering students involved in the project want more students to use the state-of-the-art “Maker Hub” on the George Fox campus so the space lives up to its name as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The University Innovation Fellowship, run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school), provides six weeks of training on the entrepreneurial mindset and human-centered design, that is, finding people-based solutions to problems, rather than leading with engineering-based solutions that may or may not solve the heart of the problem. Fellows work to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future and make a positive impact on the world, according to a release from the program. 

Gabe reports he is having “a real blast” studying engineering at George Fox, and finds his courses there “incredibly rewarding,” and his professors “top notch.” “I don’t feel like I’m at a small university at all,” he says, “except for the small class sizes.”

He believes the engineering program at Providence pushed him ahead of the class going in to freshman year, because he had already been doing college-level work with Providence Engineering Academy director Rod Meadth and with high school science teacher Taylor Hurt. He credits his early education experiences at Santa Barbara Christian School and El Montecito School, as well as his middle and high school years at Providence, for raising the bar of expectation and providing teachers who came alongside him and walked with him to develop the desire to serve, strive, and achieve that shapes his college studies. “My relationships with Providence teachers prepared me to ask for help when needed and to feel confident that my college professors want to get to know me and help me.”

Gabe is a Presidential Scholar, an Engineering Leadership Scholar, and a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. He participates in Engineering Your Soul (EYS), a book club for engineering majors, who read and discuss books such as Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. He works for the university’s sports marketing department as a photographer for all home games and takes team photos and individual player portraits. He is grateful to Providence art teacher James Daly for honing his photography skills and to humanities and economics teacher Bruce Rottman for sowing the seeds that led to his interest in entrepreneurship.

When asked about his goals for the future, he says he “believes the Lord opens doors” and is pursuing possibilities for internships where he might work on innovative solutions to major humanitarian problems such medical care, food shortages, and clean water. “Finding engineering solutions to humanitarian issues while using the gifts God gave me would be a dream come true,” he says. “That’s why I chose engineering as a major. I figured I could better serve Kingdom purposes through engineering than through any other subject.”