Now in its second year, the Fadell Scholarship is helping to support the entrepreneurial pursuits of undergraduate students at the University of Michigan. 

The scholarship is thanks to a generous gift from Tony Fadell, BSE CE ‘91, and Danielle Lambert who want to support students who exhibit exceptional entrepreneurial spirit. This award provides the recipients with the opportunity to focus on creating world-changing innovations, and we are happy to announce this year’s receipts, Caroline Slack and Rutvi Shah. 

“The Fadell Scholarship is one of the most prestigious awards given to students at the University of Michigan recognizing their entrepreneurial spirit and pursuits,” said Nick Moroz, Director of Entrepreneurial Practice at the CFE. “I’m very proud that the scholarship will be awarded to Carlone and Rutvi, two outstanding students who are committed to the common good through ambitious entrepreneurial efforts.” 

Caroline (Mathematics and Economics ‘22 ) and Rutvi (Computer Science ‘22 ) are members of the CFE’s Entrepreneurs Leadership Program (ELP) and exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit and personal drive the CFE looks to instill in all students. 

Caroline graduated from high school at Grand Traverse Academy. She initially pursued physics research at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, but made the decision to come to U-M after a chat with a fellow student during her research program. 

“I realized my affinity for problem-solving could be better suited for a program at U-M, where I would have endless possibilities to explore my interests and find a career path best suited for me,” she said. “While quantum mechanics and robotics still reside close to my heart, I’m so grateful for my decision to matriculate to U-M three years ago.” 

Rutvi graduated from high school in Sugar Land, Texas, and said it was the outstanding engineering program and the amount of support available for entrepreneurial students at U-M that convinced her to make the trek to Michigan, despite the “very, very cold winters.” 

Once at Michigan both students took advantage of the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Entrepreneurs Leadership Program. The program provides 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. 

Rutvi became involved in the program because she liked the emphasis ELP puts on students to explore and experiment while providing them with resources to learn from established entrepreneurs.

“It felt like the right place to be if I wanted to be part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem at U-M,” she said. 

Caroline was looking to broaden her horizons while stuck at home during the pandemic, so she decided to explore more of the opportunities the CFE had to offer on the recommendation of some of her peers in the entrepreneurship space. 

“When I was finally convinced to apply by two former ELPers I knew I would be throwing myself headfirst into one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my life,” she said. “But sending in that application was the best decision I ever made.” 

The Fadell Scholarship focuses on students who embody the entrepreneurial mindset to advance their academic careers and contribute to innovation on a global scale. 

“The award recognizes two students who have excelled in the Entrepreneurs Leadership Program and are already contributing to the ecosystem,” said Moroz. 

During the pandemic Rutivi led a burgeoning hospitality materials supply company’s entire reorganization to online sales as the hotel industry went dark. This summer she’s an intern at the U-M Desai Accelerator where she’s consulted for multiple startups as a software developer. 

“Rutivi impresses with her curiosity, creativity, and instinct for entrepreneurial opportunity,” said Moroz. 

For Rutivi, entrepreneurship means taking calculated risks that have the potential to make positive changes. 

“I want to use my skills and knowledge to better the lives of as many people as possible,” she said. 

Caroline has leveraged an entrepreneurial mindset from an early age, and is now co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of BreezeBubble, which is commercializing an air purification mask after a successful $60K campaign on Kickstarter. 

“I have always been fascinated by the sheer courage from entrepreneurs,” she said. “My mother started a fitness technology business with $100 to her name when I was young, and watching her go through that experience was incredibly eye-opening as a young girl. 

“I saw the highs and lows of being a company founder, taking a product from the idea stage to the MVP stage, and the tenacity it takes to be successful as an entrepreneur all from my mom.”

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

“I am incredibly grateful to the ELP staff, Tony Fadell and Danielle Lambert for giving me this scholarship,” said Rutvi. “This will help me receive a world class education at U-M, and assist me in my future entrepreneurial pursuits as a student.”

“The scholarship means more than anyone could ever describe in words,” said Caroline. “I’m eternally grateful to Tony Fadell and Danielle Lambert for this opportunity, and I will carry the legacy of previous Fadell Scholars in fostering my entrepreneurial spirit through every opportunity to come my way.” 

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