Tyree Innovation Fellows are Ready to Meet the Challenge With Innovative and Entrepreneurial Mindsets and Leadership Skills

The Tyree Innovation Fellowship at Trinity College helps students advance their college and post-college career — no matter their intended major or direction.  It is a two-year exploration of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship that provides students with opportunities for personal reflection, growth, exploration and challenge and the framework necessary to learn the skills, tools and connections necessary to thrive in college and beyond.

At the end of this journey, students will have established:

  • Innovative and entrepreneurial mindsets
  • Leadership training and opportunities to demonstrate these learned skills.
  • Resume-building experiences including two paid summer internships and invention and startup skills.
  • Personalized mentoring and growth training for leadership, personal marketing, and design thinking
  • An expanded network of alumni and partner connections
  • Upon completion of all requirements, the Innovation Certificate and the Entrepreneurship Certificate

This is a competitive admission program and students must be accepted to take part.

“We are focused on next-generation skills for students in their first and second years, so they can take advantage of them earlier in their college career, and on accelerating their opportunities for growth towards their post-college career.”

Danny Briere Executive Director of Trinity College Entrepreneurship Center

Accepted students explore the concepts of innovation, put their ideas into practice, and network and grow their skill-set throughout their first year of college, with a second year of focus on entrepreneurial experiential learning and activities.

The Tyree Innovation Fellowship gives students real-world, hands-on experiences so they can:

  • Develop the skills necessary to create new ways of thinking and doing
  • Gain exposure to leaders and innovators to help bring their ideas to life
  • Get the tools to apply what they’re passionate about to address real-world scenarios and problems
  • Expand their experience and resumes early to be more competitive as students apply for internships in their areas of interest

These are the same “soft skills” that employers seek in new recruits, and what will help students advance their careers earlier!



The Tyree Innovation Fellows program is open to anyone at Trinity College but is designed for students to onramp in their first year at Trinity.

It consists of two major parts:  A first year Innovation track and a second year Entrepreneurship track. In both years, students undertake activities, field trips, coursework, internships, and training to complete the program.

  • The first year experience is focused more on creativity, invention, innovation, critical thinking and problem solving skills building — with a conceptual journey of concept-to-solution.
  • The second year experience explores leadership, teamwork, empathy, analysis, presentation, and personal growth skills building  — with a conceptual journey of solution-to-real-world-application.


    Orientation Next: Invention, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Experience (August)

The Invention, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (IIE) Orientation Next Program is designed for students who want to explore and experience the world of creating solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. This is a prelude program to jumpstart the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community and the Innovation Fellowship Programs by introducing students to key programs, themes, and experiences that form these year-long residence and certificate programs. Students in the four-day IIE program will experience multiple field trips to explore innovation around Hartford, including planned visits to New England Air Museum where you can see the latest cool innovations and inventions driving our aerospace programs today, and a behind-the-scenes look at the engineering and invention that powers amusement park rides – visiting Six Flags New England to see them in action.  Students will begin learning about how inventions and innovations get created with activities and learning from the Connecticut Invention Convention and MakerSpaceCT programs – with hands on making and inventing fun in the largest makerspace in CT. Finally, students will bond with fellow student innovators and alumni and get introduced to Trinity’s innovation resources on and off campus – all while having fun and building your own innovative and entrepreneurial mindsets.  Join us – no matter your intended major – to explore how asking the right questions can lead to new and creative solutions to change the world around us for the better.

    Summit Innovation Challenge

The Summit Innovation Challenge gets first-year students learning creative problem-solving, persuasive communication, teamwork, and the innovation mindset. Working with peers, mentors, and the Entrepreneurship Center to create their own invention, students work through a solution-oriented design process and their work culminates in a competition where they pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. This Shark Tank-style event is held annually since launching in 2022. The winning invention in that first event was an auto-sniffing candle to avoid house fires, and the second-year winner was a mobile phone attachment to scan food for allergy issues! Check out these stories about the Summit Innovation Challenge:

2023 Summit Innovation Challenge

2024 Summit Innovation Challenge


    J-Term: Design Thinking for Innovation

Design thinking, as a problem-solving approach, provides the tools necessary to become an innovative thinker. This J-Term course presents an overview of the design thinking process and critical mindsets that can lead to new insights and innovations. The course reviews how individuals and organizations use creativity and design thinking skills to identify and choose opportunities that enable innovation. Creative problem-solving skills are developed and enhanced through a range of activities. Students learn to use empathy to understand and connect with problems, break down large problems into smaller pieces to solve, explore options, and test prototypes. Students observe and collaborate with multidisciplinary teams, generate ideas, create rapid prototypes, reflect, and evaluate solutions.

    “Executive Presence” Real-Life Skills Workshop

Students will have the chance to engage in a program developed with Career & Life Design to expose students’ underlying personal branding and social/networking skills so they can evolve their ability to see and be seen.  Being able to communicate, have presence, and socialize are critical elements of any career pathway.  Students will learn:

    Personal Presence and Branding

    • Develop personal growth and authentic branding – and the art of self-advocacy
    • Speak with confidence and presence, and have positive body language
    • Read other nonverbal cues and body language
    • Become an active listener, ask the right questions
    • Exhibit humor and lightheartedness – when it’s appropriate and when not

    Socialization and Networking

    • Master socialization skills and small/party talk
    • Learn boundaries and how to answer questions when asked
    • Master interviewing
    • Be mindful and aware of oneself and others, and identify other personalities and adjust your approach to maximize your personal interaction with them
    • Network and build relationships with others, in a variety of circumstances

    Startup Weekend

    Startup Weekend is an annual three-day 54-hour program where aspiring entrepreneurs can experience startup life. This massively popular startup experience has taken place in hundreds of cities around the world over the past decade. Startup Weekends often focus on a theme, such as addressing the world’s water crises or energy conservation. The weekend starts on Friday night, when students hear from speakers about inherent problems in a particular theme space, and concludes on Sunday afternoon by which time student teams have conceived, developed, refined, and presented their own solutions. Startup Weekend will leverage all the resources of the Trinity campus, such as 3D printers and other prototyping tools. Student teams will be referred to Google for Startups, GoDaddy, and Miro to provide digital tools and resources for the fast-paced weekend activity.  More than one famous startup has started during a similar 54-hour start-a-thon.  This will be first launched in 2025.

      Innovation Summer Internship Experience

      The Innovation Summer Internship Experience is a highly cultivated and curated integrated pathway, combining industry-specific skills-building, individualized coaching and mentoring, and a paid internship. It is specifically designed for first- and second-year students to get more and better work experience than they might otherwise get – either on their own or through normal internships available to students.

    At the end of this year, students will have met all the requirements for their Innovation Certificate except the one remaining course to complete from the eligible list of courses — which they can complete in their remaining Trinity years.


      Startup Semester

    The Startup Semester continues for 2nd year students with a 10-week “Prototype-to-Market” experience that takes innovations vetted via the Summit Innovation Challenge or similar process and prepares them for launch into the market. This business creation program empowers students to take the next step required to fill a need or solve a problem by going through the motions to start a business. It teaches them the practical skills required to conceptualize, capitalize, and manage their own business venture. Throughout the program, mentors including alumni and startup founders will provide real-world guidance and experience to the student-led teams running each startup. This program is designed for second year students, but any student can join in the fun.

      J-Term – Lean Startup Entrepreneurship Workshop

    Startup skills and fluency in terminology are crucial in a wide range of careers in organizations, public or private, domestic, or global. This January term coursework, Lean Startup Entrepreneurship Workshop, is based on startup CEO and Stanford Professor Steve Blank’s groundbreaking Lean LaunchPad This immersive coursework discusses how innovative startup companies create new technologies and jobs, produce value for stakeholders, and change the world. It studies the mechanics of startups, motivations and behaviors of startup founders, and major examples of startups, such as Ethereum, Airbnb, Google, and LinkedIn. Students learn and understand lean startup techniques as articulated by guest presentations by Trinity’s highly accomplished alumni entrepreneurs. The skills will prepare students to make a positive impact in their careers, and provide a head start to those students who plan to create their own startup or join one – or plan to work with them through investment banking, venture capital, private equity, or other service industries. This course is intended for sophomores or above.

      “Entrepreneurial Leadership” Real-Life Skills Workshop

    Students will have the chance to engage in a program developed with Career & Life Design to expose students’ underlying teamwork and leadership skills — and teach them key skills for handling themselves in higher level social, business, and diplomatic situations. Students will acquire skills in:

      Teambuilding and Leadership

      • Mentor and coach team members
      • Inspire and motivate others to achieve greatness
      • Comfort people when they need it
      • Strategies for patience and empathy when dealing with others
      • Provide constructive feedback (ways people can improve)
      • Manage and resolve conflict when engaged in communications

      Formal Presence

      • Etiquette and personal presence skills in a variety of business and personal environments, including dinner and formal occasions
      • Diplomacy and protocol for meetings and events, including black tie, royalty, and other situations
      • Understand how to represent an entity (e.g., your organization) and hold a higher presence than that of just your own

    Startup Weekend

Students get to take part in their second Startup Weekend as part of their Entrepreneurship track. (This will be first launched in 2025.)

    Entrepreneurship Summer Internship Experience

Second year students put their newly acquired entrepreneurial mindsets to work with a three-week intensive industry-specific immersion in topics pertinent to their intended placement, and then take part in a 10-week paid internship that puts those skills to use in a startup or topic-pertinent environment.

At the end of this year, students will have met all the requirements for their Entrepreneurship Certificate except the one remaining course to complete from the eligible list of courses — which they can complete in their remaining Trinity years.



Who can apply?

A: Accepted students who will be attending Trinity College in Fall 2023 are eligible to apply.  For the 2023-2024 school year, upper class students at Trinity are also eligible to apply.

What are you looking for in terms of talent?

A: We welcome and encourage a wide range of skill sets and talents, innovation is about diversity of thought. More than anything else, we are looking for students with passion to challenge themselves to gain skills to give them an advantage in life.

When is the deadline to apply? When will I know if I’m accepted?

A:  Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. All applications are due by July 19 at 5pm EST. Students will be notified before or by July 26 of their acceptance.  The program can fill up prior to July 19 so students are encouraged to apply early if they are serious about being part of the program.

Is this just for particular majors or career paths?

A:  This is designed to upskill students no matter their intended career path. It is designed to expose students to a range of innovative and entrepreneurial explorations and directions, and give students more documented experience and resume success earlier in their college career — making them more competitive, sooner, for the choice internship, apprenticeship, and other similar experiences. Finding new ways to solve problems and create new solutions are lifelong skills that will bolster students in all avenues of life.

Does this go on my Trinity transcript?

A:  Yes!  For students that complete the Fellowship and the required elements to achieve their Innovation Certificate and/or their Entrepreneurship Certificate, participation and the certificates will appear on their transcripts for all to see. What’s more, you can add these to your LinkedIn and resume profiles so future employers and recruiters see your soft skills and mindset strengths too!

Is this related to the Trinity Innovation and Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community?

A: Yes, they are intertwined and related.  Most students taking part in the Innovation Fellowship are housed in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community as their housing choice, and many field trips and activities are co-hosted and planned as part of both calendars.

How much does the program cost?

A: There is no cost for the Fellowship per se. Courses at Trinity carry normal course fees. Students are responsible for summer housing and meals during any resulting paid internship, as is normally the case. All students who receive financial aid at Trinity may be eligible for institutional support to cover tuition and fees for J-Term and summer opportunities. Students can opt out of the Fellowship at any time.

How much time will it take?

A:  The average Fellow spends around 5-6 hours a week during the school year, and full-time during their summer internship programs.

How do the guaranteed summer internships work?

A:  Students are guaranteed a paid summer internship as part of this program should they wish to take part in this aspect of the program. Students have a three-week 8-hours a day intensive immersion training experience prior to each summer internship.  Students apply for internships and must be accepted by the sponsoring entity to gain admission to their paid internship.  

What if I don’t like it or it is too much with my other extracurriculars?

A:  Students can opt out of or delay specific programs or leave the program at any time.  Award of the Innovation or Entrepreneurship Certificates on their transcript requires completion of eligible activities for each certificate.

Have more questions?  Contact Danny Briere, Executive Director or Nisha Joshee, Program Manager.