SEPTEMBER 1, 2023 — The UTSA Najim Center for Innovation and Career Advancement joined forces with the Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SIE) office this fall to expand the university’s robust experiential learning opportunities for Roadrunners. The merger means students will be able to access the experiential learning programs of both units through the Najim Center.
Erica Clark, UTSA director of student innovation, has been leading the charge to bring the university’s many experiential learning and entrepreneurship offerings under one roof. With SIE now under its umbrella, the Najim Center will house over a dozen hands-on projects, competitions, and personal and professional development programs for students throughout the year.
This will include the first annual Start Up Academy, a 10-week paid opportunity where students hone their entrepreneurship skills and meet with various San Antonio organizations, and EntreprenUTSA, a networking event where students can connect with local startup leaders, learn how to refine their personal brand and receive complimentary professional headshots. The center will also support the restoration of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) at UTSA, a student-run organization that fosters future business leaders.
Additionally, the center’s growth will include the introduction of innovation labs and an expansion of the Big Rowdy Idea, designed to increase student participation. The events create a space where students can gain real-world experience with entrepreneurship fundamentals—like creating a viable business model and developing a pitch for a cutting-edge business concept. In both programs, participants also receive valuable feedback and mentorship from local industry leaders.
The Najim Center’s extensive programming is a key part of the UTSA Classroom to Career initiative, a university-wide framework that promotes practical, career-focused learning experiences that provide an advantage for students’ future success. The merger with SIE is part of the center’s university-wide collaborative efforts to create a one-stop shop where students of all levels can build their entrepreneurial mindset and discover resources to help bring their inventive ideas to life.
“Our goal is to demystify entrepreneurship and make it palatable for all students, regardless of their experience level,” Clark said.
The Najim Center’s expanded offerings are made possible in part by funding from the Blackstone LaunchPad, a charitable program run by alternative asset manager Blackstone that seeks to close the opportunity gap by equipping college and university students with the entrepreneurial skills they need to build lasting careers.
“Our partnership with Blackstone has been a mutually beneficial experience. Its funding is helping us provide impactful programming for students, but we are also sharing with them our knowledge on the benefits of project-based experiential learning models,” said Clark, who also serves as campus director for Blackstone LaunchPad. “Blackstone fell in love with our innovation sprints like the strategist program and the Civil and Social Experience (C.A.S.E.) competition, and they even plan to visit campus later this fall to learn more about those and about our best practices across the Najim Center.”
Clark looks to further advance the Najim Center’s hands-on learning programs by representing UTSA at the Student Success US conference in Los Angeles in November. She will showcase the center’s unique experiential learning opportunities and how these programs teach valuable, transferable skills that benefit students’ personal and professional success.
The Najim Center for Innovation and Career Advancement creates a place where all students can access resources for career exploration and preparation and discover experiential learning opportunities. It offers project-based learning, competitions, personal development programs, scholarships and a summer study abroad experience. Participating students receive credit on their Experience Transcript and, depending on the program, may receive a stipend.
September is National Hispanic Heritage Month. House of Neighborly Service is gearing up to increase awareness of the growing needs of our Westside community while embracing our Hispanic culture every step of the way. Our team is excited to announce the First Annual La Casita del Barrio 1K/5K Walk/Run.Our Lady of the Lake University, 11 SW 24th St, San Antonio, TX 78207
Come experience a Hispanic Market with us!Rowdy Statue
We will be reading For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez. We will meet on Zoom to discuss the book. The book is free for students who request it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request the book and/or to join the Book Club and receive messages and information about this and future readings and discussions.Virtual Event
Come and practice your Spanish in a friendly and engaging environment! You will also learn about Hispanic cultures with us as we play games, watch videos, sing, and participate in many other language and cultural activities! All levels are welcome! ¡Nos vemos!Willow Room (SU 2.02.12,) Main Campus
In partnership with UTSA Libraries and the Consulado General de México en San Antonio, Carriqui will host Ven a Tomar, where guests will sample mezcal, cocktails and unique bites to celebrate UTSA's Mexican Cookbook Collection.Carriqui, 239 E Grayson St San Antonio, TX 78215
The UTSA Orchestra will be performing Rapsodia Mexicana, a captivating concert celebrating Mexican music and the confluence of cultures in South Texas. Joined by organist Colin Campbell (Texas A&M International University) and UTSA's Mariachi Los Paisanos, watch as the orchestra brings to life the essence of Hispanic culture through their powerful performances.UTSA Recital Hall, Main Campus
A fun night for UTSA students to relax and play loteria. Student Success Centers will also have recourses for students to learn more about programs and services.Denman Ballroom (SU 2.01.28,) Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.