Sands Fellowship

Sands Family Social Venturing Fellowship

Bill & Susan Sands graduated from the University of Minnesota and dedicated their lives to making the Twin Cities a better community.  Through the Western Bank, Neighborhood Development Center, Jeremiah Program and numerous other social and economic development organizations, Bill and Susan provided opportunity and assistance to individuals in need. Through the Sands Family Social Venturing Fellowship, they hope to inspire future generations of Carlson MBA students to have a similar positive impact in their local community.

Financial support provides Carlson MBA students with the opportunity to create transformative summer experience as part of social venture that contributes to local community. MBA students are encouraged to either develop plans to launch their own new social venture or co-design summer internship projects with local mission-based organizations. Grants of $5,000 will be awarded to students who propose new ventures or internships that provide tangible benefits to the local community in the form of community and neighborhood economic development, housing, health and reducing poverty.  Additional funding is available for students whose ventures advance beyond the experiential STARTUP course.

Sands Fellows participating in this program have launched new ventures to address workforce training, affordable housing, homelessness, nutrition, social justice, mental health, youth education, gun violence, women's shelters, nonprofit capitalization, health care services, medical devices and a broad range of other social ventures.  Now in its 12th year, 80 Sands Fellows have either partnered with existing organizations or launched new ventures that address important societal issues in the Twin Cities. Through their fellowships, these students have honed their entrepreneurship skills and taken their initial steps to become visible leaders in the community.


2024 Sands Fellows


Mo Hicks MBA/MD'26
Proposed Social Venture: Vertex Medical Solutions

Create a transformative digital health company that will significantly reduce health disparities in vulnerable communities by addressing social drivers of health.


Rukmin Juneja MBA'24
Proposed Social Venture: Reducing substance abuse among MN teens

Empower the youth of Minnesota to prevent or overcome their substance addiction and become capable individuals who are contributing members of society.

Zane McPhee MBA'25
Proposed Social Venture: Financial Literacy, Advising, and Planning for All!

Personalized financial support and planning to educate, orient, and empower the middle to lower classes of Minnesota.


Stephen Meyer MBA'25
Proposed Social Venture: North Star Career Compass

Interactive, personalized career pathway guidance that engages and empowers high school students at every step without requiring extensive hands-on time from counselors.

Olufemi Olaolu Odumosu MBA'25
Proposed Social Venture: Aspire-X, a DEI initiative to prepare targeted individuals with career skills

Building upon personal experience in Nigeria, launch an ed-tech start-up to help individuals from underrepresented ethnic groups in Minnesota acquire the relevant skills needed to pursue careers in finance and accounting with or without an undergraduate degree. 

Ian Pytlik MBA'25
Proposed Social Venture: Overcome the barriers for young adults to enter an aviation career

After graduating from the US Naval Academy and earning his flight training, Ian desires to create a non-profit that will make flight training more accessible and affordable to a broader range of workers. 

Nida Yamin MBA’24
Proposed Social Venture: SE Asian Halal fast food meal for UMN students

Building on favorable results from a 2023 pilot on the St Paul campus, Nida plans to gain a better understanding of the market for halal meals and evaluate options for commercial kitchens to cater events and deliver affordable meals. 

In the News

Sands Fellowship

Carlson School MBA student discusses the Sands Fellowship

Previous Sands Fellows

See our previous Sands Fellows by year.

  • Josh Hansen-Connell
  • Hunter Hoelzel
  • Elijah Holmes
  • Brett Kasper
  • Morgan Kerfeld
  • Bill McCue
  • AJ Nold
  • Praneeth Punugoti
  • Rasheed Muhammad
  • Patrick Wenger
  • Manognya Wunnava
  • Elise Erickson
  • Victoria Haider
  • Jason Hutchenson
  • Ikram Khan
  • Bailey Webster
  • Joseph Woodward
  • Bill McCue
  • Patrick Wenger
  • Rebecca Meyer
  • AJ Nold
  • Chuddy Emukah
  • Melanie Ellsworth
  • Robert Astrup
  • Hunter Brocato
  • Shannon Fitzgerald
  • Cy Hudson
  • Kania Johnson
  • Steven Kutz
  • Sean Lundy
  • Ullas Pathak
  • Brian Trubowitz
  • Robert Astrup
  • Hunter Brocado
  • Kate Ingersoll
  • Varsha Mohanraj
  • Abby Solom
  • Lizzy Ullyot
  • Shannon Leach
  • Tyler Ledford
  • Rose Kelly
  • Sarah Carroll
  • Lindsay Sacco
  • Erik Muckey
  • Izaak Mendoza
  • David Ly
  • Daniella De Franco
  • Kevin Deese
  • Christopher Thompson
  • Wade Wimer
  • Isaac Murphy
  • Justin Doll
  • Jonathan Latterner
  • Joseph Alexander
  • Chris Grantham
  • Laura Johnson
  • Laura Johnston
  • Michael Moriarity
  • Harpreet Sandhawalia
  • Ryan Peter
  • Zach Hofeld
  • Jamie Glover
  • Rebecca Blumenshine
  • Simon Cecil
  • Patricia Columbus-Powers
  • Charlie Massopust
  • Peter Schmitt
  • Sarah Pritzker
  • Steven Bruce
  • Joe Braman
  • Elise Maxwell
  • Alana Buckner
  • Kate Kessenich
  • Laura-Lee Brown
  • Tim O'Neil
  • Jon Melgaard
  • Jeff Ochs
  • Eartha Borer-Bell