Accel Innovation Scholars

Preparing Stanford Engineering PhD students to bring breakthrough ideas to the world.

The Accel Innovation Scholars (AIS) program supports 12 Stanford Engineering PhD students in discovering the skills and possibilities of technology commercialization, opportunity evaluation and entrepreneurial leadership. This nine-month program complements the students’ research experiences with access to entrepreneurial leaders and innovative startups in Silicon Valley.

Current Cohort

Ana Klimovic

Electrical Engineering

David Manosalvas-Kjono

Aeronautics and Astronautics

Gift Nyikayaramba

Electrical Engineering

Pranav Rajpurkar

Computer Science
Pranav Rajpurkar

Robert Ruhlandt

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Joel Sanchez

Chemical Engineering

Stephanie Tzouanas Schmidt


Sadaf Sobhani

Mechanical Engineering

Alice Stanton


Jessica Torres

Biomedical Informatics

Grayson Zulauf

Electrical Engineering



Participate in living case studies at a diverse collection of local firms to develop a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities they face in building their ventures.


Take part in workshops focused on negotiation, team dynamics, diversity, and storytelling to develop the tools needed to become an effective leader in any organization.


Work with the teaching team, entrepreneurs, and investors to develop and deliver a class for the other Scholars, diving deeply into one aspect of entrepreneurial leadership.

Program Info and Application

Accel Innovation Scholars delivers a comprehensive, deep-dive experience into the world of technology entrepreneurship for Stanford Engineering PhD students. Through workshops, team projects, case studies and field experiences, Scholars build the knowledge, skills and attitude to tackle entrepreneurial challenges and discover opportunities to leverage their research background.

To support professional development, Scholars are assigned faculty coaches, as well as venture capitalists, corporate and AIS alumni mentors, to provide feedback and to offer different perspectives and access points to the Silicon Valley ecosystem. During the autumn, winter and spring quarters, the Scholars will meet for a two-hour session each week.
Scholars will also attend workshops and retreats during each quarter of the program. The program’s schedule should be considered when applying and scheduling vacations to avoid unnecessary absences. A prospective student’s research focus does not need to have obvious commercial applications to apply to AIS.

AIS applications are accepted from current PhD students in the School of Engineering who:
  • have completed their qualifying examinations
  • are in good standing in their programs
  • are interested in exploring entrepreneurship

Please email Nikkie Salgado with any questions about applying to the Accel Innovation Scholars program.

The application for the 2018 Accel Innovation Scholars is now closed. The application period for the 2019-20 cohort will open at the beginning of Spring Quarter 2019.


Tina Seelig

Tina Seelig

Fern Mandelbaum

Fern Mandelbaum



STVP extends its deep appreciation to Accel Partners for supporting this program for Stanford Engineering students. Special thanks goes to Ping Li, Jim Swartz and Jim Breyer at Accel Partners.
Accel Partners STVP Stanford School of Engineering