Ole Innovation Scholars Program

The Ole Innovation Scholars interim program offers an opportunity for selected students to complete market research projects for medical device start-ups or independent entrepreneurs. Teams of four St. Olaf students are selected to participate in this experience, which is modeled after the Mayo Innovation Scholars and Norway Innovation Scholars programs.  The Interim experience is offered through the Biology 395 course, which is taught by Dr. Kevin Crisp in the St. Olaf Biology Department.

Project Description
  • Time: Interim (January) 2024
  • A stipend of $1500 for interim participants

The program aims to provide first-hand experience to interdisciplinary teams of students on the commercialization of medical technology, and to expose students to exciting innovations and inspiring entrepreneurs in the medical device field. Students will gain meaningful experience and knowledge in a range of areas, including technology transfer, business development, market research, intellectual property, health insurance, market analysis and regulatory affairs. The partner organizations and projects vary from year to year. The capstone of the experience includes a professional presentation and delivery of a business plan and/or specific project report. 

Students should understand that there will be time commitments before and after the January term. Before the term, students can expect a meeting with the inventor with whom they will be working, and likely a meeting with Professor Crisp, to go over nondisclosure agreements and the handling of confidential information and material provided by start-up or entrepreneur relevant to the project. All students are expected to review any such material thoroughly before the start of the January term. After the term ends, additional hours may be required to complete and polish the report so that it achieves professional quality and to prepare a professional presentation to the stakeholders. We anticipate that this presentation will occur within 3-4 weeks of the end of the January term. Because of this out-of-term additional work, participating students will receive a stipend of $1000 upon completion of the post-January term additional work. Students selected for this program will be registered for and enrolled in Bio 395 for the January term.

Learning to work as a member of a multidisciplinary team, where each individual has something to bring and something to learn, is an essential skill facilitated by programs like Ole Innovation Scholars. These interdisciplinary experiences cast students as both experts and learners within and outside their major fields of study, complementing college classroom and laboratory experiences with the opportunities and limitations of real discovery. Additionally, the program fosters new interactions and collaborations across disciplinary boundaries.


Interim participants will receive a $1500 stipend upon completion of the project.

How to Apply


  • Interim Program: Junior or Senior
  • Major or concentration in any of the natural sciences, nursing, economics, management or media studies, mathematics, or with other relevant academic background/experience
  • Strong academic record
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to extend one’s knowledge base to the topic at hand and to conceptualize and frame relevant questions
  • Previous experience in research preferred but not required
  • Evidence of effectiveness as part of a team
  • Understanding and respect for confidentiality
  • Willingness to commit time and energy to the project

Information Sessions: N/A

Application Deadline for Interim 2024: TBD in Fall 2023

Application Materials

  • Resume
  • Unofficial transcript – Log in to the SIS go to grades -> select all years/terms -> export as a PDF file (one way to do this is by going to a print screen and clicking on “view as PDF”, or “view in preview”)
  • Letter explaining interest in this initiative, describing background and specific experiences related to the project, and providing an example of a team on which the student has been an effective member
  • Name of one faculty member to be used as a reference, indicated in the letter

Application Process

  1. Login to Handshake via the directions next to the login fields Search for “Ole Innovation Program” under the job and internship postings tab.
  2. Save your resume, unofficial transcript & cover letter to a common location
  3. Upload your resume “under resume”, your transcript under “unofficial transcript”, and your letter explaining interest under “writing sample” (all under the “Documents” tab on the blue menu bar).
  4. On the right hand panel, select your resume, transcript & personal statement – click “Submit”.

Interviews of Selected Students

A team of faculty and staff will conduct formal interviews in Fall 2023 (dates TBD) after review of applications.  The final selection will be based on academic background and related experience with care taken to create the appropriate mix of academic backgrounds on each team