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The Global Innovation Exchange Graduates Its First Cohort of MSTI & Dual Degree Students

Date: December 09, 2018

GIX students at their GIX graduation celebration on December 9th.

GIX develops innovators who can navigate and lead in a changing landscape

Read press coverage here: GeekWire | Seattle Times | Microsoft On the Issues Blog

SEATTLE (December 9, 2018) — A little more than a year after the launch of the Global Innovation Exchange — a partnership between the University of Washington, Tsinghua University and Microsoft to develop leaders in innovation – the graduate program is conferring degrees upon its first cohort of students.

On December 9th, 37 students from 11 countries worldwide will celebrate their GIX graduation in the company of friends, family, and GIX leaders, faculty and staff. GIX students can earn either a Master of Science in Technology Innovation (MSTI), or a Dual Degree from Tsinghua University and the University of Washington. Among the GIX leaders making remarks at the graduation are:

  • Ana Mari Cauce
    President, University of Washington
  • QIU Yong
    President, Tsinghua University
  • Brad Smith
    President, Microsoft
  • Vikram Jandhyala
    Co-Executive Director of GIX
    Vice President for Innovation Strategy
    University of Washington

The ceremony celebrates the journey and accomplishments of GIX students in the 15-month MSTI degree, offered through the University of Washington, and the 21-month Dual Degree, which integrates the MSTI with the Master of Engineering in Data Science and Information Technology (MEDSIT) through Tsinghua University.

GIX is developing a future set of innovators who will create products and services and be part of organizations who can navigate and lead innovation in a changing landscape. Designed as an interdisciplinary, project-based learning model, which merges entrepreneurship, design thinking, and technology development, GIX graduate programs teach students how to design, develop, and launch the smart and connected solutions of the future.

The GIX education model brings together the strengths of students from diverse backgrounds and from around the world to create effective cross-disciplinary teams that leverage emerging technologies – such as AI, machine learning, connected devices, IoT, AR/VR, robotics, and blockchain – to address local and global challenges.

“We are excited to celebrate the milestone of GIX’s first graduating class,” said Vikram Jandhyala, co-executive director of GIX and UW vice president for innovation strategy. “Through the interdisciplinary, project-based GIX learning model, our graduates are equipped with the entrepreneurial mindset that’s essential to succeeding in the innovation economy. We anticipate our graduates will create the inclusive technology solutions of the future, and will lead innovation through developing products and services or being a part of organizations that will help reduce social inequities.”

GIX graduate students have achieved many notable accomplishments: students collaborated with GIX’s industry partners over the last five months of the program to create their final launch projects. They designed high-tech solutions that ranged from a device for farmers which interprets chicken vocalizations to identify when they’re in distress to an educational app that helps parents remotely customize their children’s learning. One team of students created an augmented reality app highlighting the capabilities and benefits of the 5G network. Another developed a way to use blockchain technology to quickly protect online content from copyright theft.

Additionally, GIX students were winners in technology competitions around the world. Last spring, a team of GIX students were finalists in the $1 Million Women’s XPRIZE Safety Competition. They designed a wearable sensor device that triggers location-specific wireless alerts in emergency situations as a way to address issues of sexual harassment and violence against women. Others included the Singapore Airlines AppChallenge, the 2018 SONOS Challenge, the GIX Innovation Competition, and the 2018 UW Maker Summit. And one team’s research paper was accepted into the prestigious IEEE UEM Conference.

Students have begun their employment search and are interviewing with companies such as Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and Uber while some have already been offered roles from companies like Alibaba, Amino Capital, and Baidu. Other students are creating startups after graduation based on their student projects.

“As GIX’s pioneering class, these students forged a path for future cohorts,” said YANG Bin, vice president and provost of Tsinghua University. “They’ve come together from different disciplines and cultures to learn, create, and grow together. The work they’ve done here demonstrates the potential of what’s possible through this kind of collaboration. Congratulations to the first class of GIX and best of luck on your next adventure.”


Donna O’Neill
Director, Marketing & Communications
Global Innovation Exchange (GIX)
p: 206.685.9972
f: 206.543.0586