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Amazon has awarded an inaugural Alexa Innovation Fellowship to Dartmouth in recognition of the College’s commitment to entrepreneurship and to fuel faculty and student research that incorporates voice technology.

Dartmouth—one of ten schools to receive an inaugural Innovation Fellowship from Amazon—will encourage its campuswide entrepreneurship community to develop innovative products and services that integrate voice technology. As conversational artificial intelligence advances, voice interfaces such as Amazon Alexa are rapidly transforming how humans interact with technology in their everyday lives.

Specifically, Amazon’s Alexa Innovation Fellowship award will support:

  • An Alexa Innovation Fellow at the Magnuson Family Center for Entrepreneurship at Dartmouth College, who will bring training, programming, and resources to encourage voice technology innovation
  • Dartmouth Applied Leadership and Innovation (DALI) Lab projects that have voice technology integrated into their solutions
  • Pitch competition awards at the Magnuson Center and DALI that incorporate voice technology

In 2013, Dartmouth launched a pilot project to expand the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN) and founded the DEN Innovation Center, which has since incubated more than 100 ventures, awarded more than $400,000 in grants, and funded 30 startup internships. Meanwhile, the DALI Lab has provided more than 200 students with opportunities to put their technology and design skills to use on real-life projects.

Building on these successes, the recently endowed Magnuson Family Center is establishing a permanent base for aspiring entrepreneurs at the College, reaching out to serve students and faculty from all disciplines who want to create new products or services. The award from Amazon will encourage student and faculty research into the realm of voice technology.

The center’s director, Jamie Coughlin, a veteran entrepreneur who has developed and managed DEN’s programs during the past five years, will be the Alexa Innovation Fellow for 2018–19.

“It’s an incredible honor to be awarded this inaugural Alexa Innovation Fellowship,” says Coughlin. “The opportunity to explore and collaborate with the team at Amazon and its Alexa voice technology, throughout our entrepreneurial community at Dartmouth, is very exciting. I look forward to the promising creations that will be developed by our students and faculty through this experience.”

Dartmouth has a rich history of highly networked, cocurricular entrepreneurship activities. Supporting students and faculty who want to explore and launch entrepreneurial ventures is a top institutional priority for the College and features prominently in Dartmouth’s comprehensive campaign, The Call to Lead, publicly launched this past April.