Thanks to a generous gift from Tony Fadell, BSE CE ’91, and Danielle Lambert, we are helping to support the entrepreneurial pursuits of undergraduate students at the University of Michigan that will benefit them throughout their careers.

Tony and Danielle want to support students that exhibit exceptional entrepreneurial spirit, providing  them the opportunity to focus on creating world changing innovations, and we are happy to announce the first two recipients of the Fadell Scholarship, Sasha Golubova and Elis Sholla. 

“The Fadell Scholarship is a wonderfully generous gift from Tony Fadell and Danielle Lambert that will immediately help two outstanding students from the Entrepreneurs Leadership Program, Sasha and Elis, gain a bit of footing in uncertain times,” said Assistant Director of Entrepreneurial Practice Nick Moroz. 

Sasha (Business Administration ‘22) and Elis (Computer Science ‘21) are members of the CFE’s Entrepreneurs Leadership Program and are both first generation immigrant students. 

“We are proud to honor both Sasha and Elis with these scholarships in the hopes that this award allows them to realize their educational and entrepreneurial dreams,” said Tony Fadell iPod inventor and Nest founder. 

“Elis and Sasha exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit and personal drive we look to instill in all our students at the Center for Entrepreneurship,” said Jonathan Fay, Dixon and Carol Doll Executive Director, Center for Entrepreneurship.These are the same qualities that Tony Fadell has demonstrated throughout his career.” 

Sasha graduated high school in New Jersey after moving to the United States from Russia. She chose to attend U-M because of the university’s strong alignment with her own values. 

“U-M encourages and prides itself on the work ethic of its students and I wanted to make sure that I was constantly improving and learning during my perusal of education,” she said. 

Elis, who is originally from Albania, is a transfer student from Schoolcraft Community College and chose U-M because of his involvement in research, in addition to all of the resources and opportunities the university offers. 

One such opportunity both students took advantage of is the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Entrepreneurs Leadership Program. The program provides deep training and mentorship for a select cohort of students to develop the functional, managerial, and leadership skills that differentiate the good from the great entrepreneurs. 

Elis became involved because he wants to pursue entrepreneurship in high-tech as his career post graduation, so he applied to ELP to prepare him for his future. 

“It has been an amazing experience,” he said. “Definitely the defining moment of my Michigan experience.” 

Sasha wanted to join a community of people who act on their dreams and motivate others to do so.  

“I realized that I need to push myself and utilize the amazing resources that the CFE provides for student entrepreneurs,” she said. 

A cornerstone of the Fadell Scholarship is to provide the resources to show students that entrepreneurship can, and should, happen everywhere. This is a mindset that both Sasha and Elis share. 

“You identify problems and you find solutions for those problems,” Elis said. “It is definitely a way of living rather than just a career.” 

Sasha has always loved problem solving, and believes the entrepreneurial mindset encourages people to think optimistically and fearlessly. 

The Fadell Scholarship focuses on students who are first generation or immigrants to advance their academic careers and contribute to innovation on a global scale.

Both Sasha and Elis credit their backgrounds as first generation immigrants to the U.S. in shaping their entrepreneurial mindset, and helping them understand and hone a drive to build a better future,” said Nick Moroz. “This summer Sasha will be working at Kode Labs in Detroit helping to develop their smart infrastructure platform for commercial buildings, and Elis will be working on WebJD, an online platform that he co-founded to help underserved communities file immigration paperwork.” 

Sasha said the greatest benefit of coming from Russia has been her hungry perspective, and she feels fortunate to be able to pursue an education in the United States. 

“I do not pass by opportunities,” she said. “I am always ready to work and apply myself to not only meet the goals I have set for myself, but to also help others meet theirs.” 

Elis said one of the benefits of being a first generation student is a high level of motivation and at the same time a major drive and thirst for knowledge. 

“Maybe that is not triggered solely by the fact that I am a first generation student, but I definitely believe that it makes me appreciate college more than the average student,” he added. 

Both students expressed their appreciation in being selected for the Fadell Scholarship and said it provides real encouragement moving forward in their careers as students and beyond. 

“This award motivated me toward following the entrepreneurial path right after graduation,” said Elis. “It feels great to be supported and makes me want to work even harder.” 

Sasha said she will never forget how she felt when she found out that she was awarded the Fadell Scholarship. 

“It is a sense of support and encouragement that helps launch your dreams into reality,” she said. “Danielle Lambert and Tony Fadell’s kind and gracious support of my education and entrepreneurial goals has widened the opportunities before me. 

“I am endlessly thankful for and humbled by the trust they have in my success.”