PhD student Michelle Conway, MBA UIIN Conference O'Pake Institute

Panelists From left: Yatin Karpe, Ph.D., RTTP, Michele Washko, Michelle Conway, Anji Miller, Ph.D., CLP RTTP, and Nidhal Carla Bouaynaya.  

University funding sends Ph.D. student to share experiential learning impact globally 

Alvernia University Ph.D. in Leadership student, adjunct professor and O’Pake Institute Director of Student and Client Services, Michelle Conway, served as a panelist at the annual University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN) conference on May 11 in Budapest, Hungary.  


“Michelle presented as an undergraduate student at UIIN in 2018 when she started her own business, then she went as an attendee in 2019 and this year, she’s now a panelist discussing Alvernia’s strides with student experiential learning,” said Alvernia University Vice President for Economic Development, Research & Innovation & COO of the O’Pake Insitute, Dr. Rodney S. Ridley Sr. “Our model, which Michelle manages through her role, has assisted well over 100 students and served over 250 small and established business in Berks County and beyond and we are grateful to be able to support her research as a doctoral student in Alvernia's College of Business, Communication, and Leadership as well as her personal and professional development. as well as her personal and professional development.” 


The 2023 UIIN annual conference had over 500 participants, 250 organizations, and 60 countries represented. It is a global event dedicated to university-industry interaction, entrepreneurial & engaged universities and the future of higher education provides where professionals can discover and share the latest insights, practices and achievements in the field. Conway’s panel was “Emerging trends in supporting academic innovators: A global perspective.” She discussed student entrepreneurship and paid student experiential learning with the SPARK Business Incubator through the O’Pake Institute’s Fellows Program and how those opportunities set them up for success upon entering the workforce.  

PhD student Michelle Conway, MBA UIIN Conference O'Pake Institute 2

Conway presenting on student experiential learning.

“It was my distinct pleasure to represent Alvernia University and The O'Pake Institute as a panelist at the 2023 UIIN conference," said Conway. “I introduced a global audience to the O'Pake Institute's Office of Student Experiential Learning (SEL) and The O'Pake Fellows Program, a distinct transformational student experiential learning model. I also presented the concept of the student 'transformation zone' and proposed how educators can focus on developing programs to enhance 'unique human' skills as Chat GPT and other open AI technologies pose the question, ‘what skills can and cannot be automated?’” 


Alvernia’s Graduate Academic Council’s funding program allows students like Conway to apply for funding to get the support needed to further their education and research beyond traditional classroom settings. Dean of the College of Business, Communication, and Leadership, Dr. Travis Berger recommended Conway for funding through this program. 


“Michelle continues to add real value by working tirelessly to bridge the academic-practitioner gap,” said Berger. “She partners with our students to work strategically with industry partners and entrepreneurs, helping to shape the future of higher education. This conference provides a medium for meaningful dialogue and an exchange of research, models, and ideas for innovative university-industry interactions." 

PhD student Michelle Conway, MBA UIIN Conference O'Pake Institute  St. Francis

Conway, a view of Budapest and the statue of St. Francis of Assisi that she encountered on her trip. 

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