Social Innovation Fellowship

The Social Innovation Fellowship at ASU is designed to engage early- and mid-career policy-makers, analysts, technologists, engineers, researchers, communicators, writers, designers and leaders in generating and advancing big ideas in service of ASU's Charter and our office's mission to expand access to educational and economic opportunity.  As part of the Office of Applied Innovation, Fellows work entrepreneurially across ASU to advance projects and partnerships at ASU and with our communities. Learn more about our team here.

What Fellows Do


In response to local, state, or national issues, fellows design, build and launch their own new initiatives and partnerships, collaborate with university leaders, and support institutional innovation.

Fellows spend a significant amount of their time working semi-autonomously or in partnership with one another to develop their own portfolio of projects during the fellowship. They identify problems and opportunities, conduct background research and partnership development, and design and initiate their own projects and programs with plans for transitioning them to a sustainable, permanent home at ASU or beyond. Fellows provide our office and ASU with the expanded capacity, diverse perspectives, and dedicated time and space required for constant ideation, incubation, and iteration. The fellowship’s central positioning at ASU allows for the flexibility to pursue ideas and partnerships that span the enterprise at all levels.

Fellows have previously worked on a wide range of projects, including:

  • Supported community college partners in developing clear pathways to ASU for students served by correspondence courses for those currently incarcerated.
  • Explored technology-enabled platforms to enhance and scale support programs that lead to student success, especially for low-income and first-generation college students.
  • Developed professional education offering to develop cross-sector leaders able to effectively tackle complex societal challenges.

How Fellows Work

Fellows work within a distinct entrepreneurial and collaborative office culture; they spend time gaining a better understanding of the role of higher education institutions in serving their communities, as well as developing and advancing innovative new ideas at a rapid pace. In addition, fellows consistently meet and collaborate with ASU students, faculty, staff, and community members to learn more about needs and opportunities within the university and community.


The fellowship is a full-time position (40+ hours per week) with a competitive salary starting at $55,000 - $75,000, commensurate with experience. Additional university benefits include health insurance, generous vacation and sick leave, paid holidays and reduced tuition. View additional benefits here.

Eligibility and Qualifications

Applications for the Social Innovation Fellowship are invited from those who:

  • Are authorized to work in the United States (Applicants must be either a citizen of the United States or be able to maintain work authorization throughout the fellowship. Arizona State University does not offer visa sponsorship to candidates for the fellowship program.)
  • Are able to commit for the entire duration of the program from August 8, 2022 – September 1, 2023

Successful Candidates

The Office of Applied Innovation seeks candidates with a passion for improving the well-being of the communities around them and who wish to apply their unique talents to advance Arizona State University’s charter and the institution’s goals of expanding access to educational and economic opportunity. Successful candidates will exhibit the following qualities:

  • Ability to quickly establish working relationships, making connections between people, groups, ideas and organizations;
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills;
  • Entrepreneurial spirit, self-directed, and comfortable with proposing one’s own priorities;
  • Teamwork-orientation and a willingness to learn through collaboration;
  • Experience identifying problems and designing and launching related initiatives;
  • Creative problem-solving skills, learning agility and ability to adapt to change;
  • Comfort working with emerging technologies and their economic/social implications;
  • Experience in making adjustments to project strategy and implementation;
  • Capacity to perform in a fast-paced environment;
  • Superior academic achievement.

Desired Qualifications

  • Completed any graduate program within the last 7 years or graduating in Spring 2022.

How to Apply


The final deadline to apply is Monday, April 18th, 2022.

Step 1: Create a single Adobe Acrobat (.PDF) for each of the following:

  1. Cover letter that addresses your interest in the fellowship. Your cover letter must address your interest in our Office and in Arizona State University. Your cover letter should also highlight examples of how you exhibit the qualities listed in the “Eligibility and Qualifications” section above.

  2. Resume, including employment listed in month/year format (e.g. August 2005-July 2008), job title, job duties/accomplishments and name of employing organization for each position. Education should include the month and year each academic degree was received. If the degree has not yet been earned, list the anticipated graduation date. 

  3. Contact information for three professional references, including name, phone number and email address for each.

  4. Response, in writing, to the following prompt: Describe a compelling example of how scientific, technological, policy, and/or design innovations have been used to induce positive social outcomes; examples can be from your personal or professional experience, or those you’ve observed. (Limit response to 300 words or fewer).

  5. Writing sample demonstrating your skill in writing, critical thinking, analysis and synthesis of ideas/information (please limit writing sample to 10 pages or fewer).


Step 2: Submit your Application here 

Please submit each application component as a separate PDF document through our submission system, Interfolio.


The following 2022 timeline is meant to provide a general idea of our typical process and is subject to change.

  • April 18 - Fellowship Applications Due
  • May - First and Second Round Interviews
  • June - Offers Extended
  • August 8 - Fellowship Start Date 


Throughout the year, fellows participate in a myriad of projects that vary greatly in purpose and outcome. Through these varied experiences, fellows develop a diverse portfolio, a collaborative mindset and a comprehensive skill set that heightens their career opportunities. Many fellows leverage this experience to create new positions that fill a gap at ASU or another institution.

Immediately following the Fellowship program, alumni held roles such as:

  • Director, Social Embeddedness, ASU
  • Assistant Director, Education for Humanity, ASU
  • Human Factors Specialist, IDEO, A Design and Innovation Consulting Firm
  • Director, Center for Science and the Imagination, ASU
  • Assistant Chief of Staff, ASU Foundation for a New American University
  • Entrepreneurship Catalyst, Office of University Initiatives, ASU
  • Manager, Sustainability Initiatives and Programs, Global Institute of Sustainability, ASU
  • Manager of Public Partnerships, Teach For America, Phoenix