Fellows Program

Claremont McKenna College’s Randall Lewis Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship launched its Fellows Program in the Fall of 2018. The Fellows Program provides experiential learning, mentoring and networking to prepare students to be innovative entrepreneurs.

We work with practicing entrepreneurs and investors to deliver real-world content and experiences via a series of workshops and seminars spanning a broad range of key topics faced by both founders and joiners at innovative companies of all sizes.

The Fellows Program:

  • Assists students as they plan for launching their careers with detailed insight into common roles for aspiring entrepreneurs, a cohesive summer internship program, and company visits.
  • Offers students the ability to build their professional network through a 1:1 mentorship program with CMC alumni that are successfully building entrepreneurial careers in innovative industries, with a special focus on creating direct pathways for CMC students to build careers in the tech industry.

The program is open to all majors and areas of study, and to all undergraduate students at CMC, Harvey Mudd, Pomona, Pitzer and Scripps. We encourage all freshmen and sophomores interested in business and innovation to apply. We’re open to juniors who are interested in joining the program, but the requirements to earn the RLCIE Fellows designation will require a significant commitment to accomplish in only two years.

Students that successfully complete the program’s requirements will earn the designation of RLCIE Fellow.

As a relatively new program, the RLCIE Fellows Program’s details including content, requirements, benefits and eligibility are subject to change, and very likely will change as we collect student and alumni feedback on ways to increase the program’s overall value.


The benefits of becoming an RLCIE Fellows Candidate include:

  • Regular networking sessions with alumni active in the innovation economy
  • RLCIE Mentor Program eligibility
  • Access to exclusive RLCIE Fellows Candidate workshops
  • Priority access to campus wide RLCIE events
  • Potential to receive a stipend to help support an approved summer internship or a comparable experience that advances the RLCIE’s mission
  • Fast-track admissions process for the Silicon Valley Program
  • Opportunities for paid roles on the RLCIE Student Leadership Team
  • Input on future workshop topics or specific professional development and networking sessions
  • RLCIE swag and social events


Students in their second year and above who have completed the Fellows Program onboarding are encouraged to take advantage of the RLCIE’s 1:1 mentorship program. Each student participant works with the Mentor Program Coordinator to identify their focus and goals in building their professional network. Then, the RCLIE works to pair them with a Claremont Colleges alum whose background and experience matches their career interests. If a mentor is found, both parties commit to monthly contact over the course of a semester.

A female student reading in the Mgrublian Library.


All students that apply prior to the deadline and are in good academic standing will have the opportunity to earn their way into the Fellows Program. All students that complete those requirements will earn their way into the program and become RLCIE Fellows Candidates.

Application Details:

  • Application deadline: TBD (11:55pm)
  • To apply, students must be in good academic standing
  • The written application should include a resume, cover letter with a statement of demonstrated interest in innovation and entrepreneurship, and a copy of the applicants’ transcripts (1st year college students should share their high school transcripts)


The RLCIE Fellows Program is open to all students at the Colleges. New Fellows Candidates entering the program in AY23-24 will be bound by these requirements. Earlier Fellows Candidates can either conform to these or to the previous requirements they were operating under. Rather than making decisions based on an interview, applicants will be required to participate in a series of six 1st Year CORE workshops spread across the Fall and Spring semesters, participate in a 1st Year Cohort pitch contest, and conduct office hours once per month with the RLCIE Executive Director. These events are open exclusively to students actively seeking to join the RLCIE Fellows Program. All students that complete those requirements will earn their way into the program and become RLCIE Fellows Candidates.

6 required 1st Year Core workshops

  • Problem Identification – Friday, Oct 6 (1-3pm)
  • Solution Identification & Optimization – Friday, Oct 27 (1-3pm)
  • Value Proposition & Target Market – Friday, Nov 17  (1-3pm)
  • Product Market Fit – Friday, Feb 9 (1-3pm)
  • Raising Money – Friday, March 1 (1-3pm)
  • Pitch Contest Prep – Friday, March 22 (1-3pm)
  • Pitch Contest – Friday, April 19 (1-3pm)

In addition to the onboarding series, interested students must participate in a Pitch Contest for the cohort in the Spring semester and attend monthly office hours with the RLCIE’s Executive Director, Ron LaPierre. All students successfully completing the above requirements will become RLCIE Fellows Candidates.

1) Workshops: Participate in at least 4 additional RLCIE-sponsored workshops, training or professional development sessions prior to graduation.

2) Internship: Complete an approved internship related to innovation and entrepreneurship. We are particularly enthusiastic about internships involving tech companies, startups and incubators. Internships taken through INT 30 in the Silicon Valley Program count. Fellows Candidates can apply to receive a stipend to help support their approved summer internship.

3) Mentoring: Upperclassmen participate in mentoring freshmen (and other more junior) Fellows Candidates.

4) Academic Requirements:  Complete at least four approved courses that help you prepare to be a thoughtful, productive and responsible business leader and innovator. In order for a course to count, a grade of at least B- must be achieved: Many paths lead to innovation and entrepreneurship, and we encourage students to propose tailored course plans to the Director of the RLCIE: dfilson@cmc.edu. We have listed some pre-approved options below in the areas of economics, data science, leadership along with some that consider the political and social impacts of business and innovation. However, students should not feel compelled to select courses from this list. We particularly encourage tailored plans that include technical subjects (such as design, engineering or the sciences), and we welcome plans involving all subjects and areas of study offered at the Colleges. We encourage students to consider courses outside their major. Students can count up to four Economics courses related to innovation and entrepreneurship:

  • Econ 65/165 Innovation Management/Industrial Organization (SVP)
  • Econ 98/198 Organizing for Innovation/Economics of Innovation (SVP)
  • Econ 129 Game Theory
  • Econ 134B/Fin 330 Advanced Corporate Finance/Corporate Financial Management
  • Econ 151 Strategic Cost Management
  • Econ 157 Financial and Managerial Modeling on MSExcel
  • Econ 165 Industrial Organization
  • Econ 176 Principles of Fintech
  • Econ 181 Fintech Practicum
  • Econ 191 Business Law
  • Econ 193/Fin 450 Entrepreneurial Finance and Venture Capital

Students can count up to two courses that count towards CMC’s Data Science sequence or major.

Students can count one upper division Leadership course related to innovation and entrepreneurship:

  • Lead 142 Leading Social Innovation
  • Lead 150 Leadership, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley (SVP)
  • Psych 140 Leadership

Students can propose courses that examine interactions between business and society, interactions within organizations, or related personal development, such as:

  • FHS Sacred Grounds: Coffee, Power and Religion
  • Psych 37 Organizational Psychology
  • Govt 165c Technology and Democracy
  • ID 80 Introductory Personal Finance (.5CR)

We encourage students to propose courses in the sciences as well as non-CMC courses in areas such as engineering, organizational studies, science, technology and society, and other subjects related to the RLCIE’s mission. Examples include:

  • Engr 4 HM Introduction to Engineering Design and Manufacturing
  • Engr 180 HM Human-Centered Design
  • Engr 183 HM Management of Technical Enterprise

One course can be a thesis or a comparable major research project related to innovation and/or entrepreneurship (requires the Director’s approval) 

5) Capstone Requirement: Students must complete at least one of the following in a high-quality manner. Each involves both a written component and an oral presentation demonstrating substantial knowledge of innovation and entrepreneurship. Students must obtain approval from the Director and Executive Director for their topics:

  • Produce a senior thesis related to innovation or entrepreneurship (if not counted towards the Academic Requirements). Other program capstones can also potentially meet this requirement (Team Masters Projects, Clinic Projects, the Fintech Practicum, and DS 180).
  • Explore a business or innovation opportunity in a rigorous way, and provide appropriate analyses that might include ingredients such as a market study, a business plan, or a description of a new product (ideally along with a prototype or a minimally viable version). In exceptional cases in which the business or innovation is already operational, the focus of the document should be modified accordingly.
  • Consult extensively for businesses involved in innovation and entrepreneurship. Provide a document that summarizes the activities involved and results obtained.
  • Provide a major research paper other than the thesis. This might be a paper from a course, an independent-study, or an internship, but it can also be a paper completed solely to meet the CIE requirement.
  • Spend at least one semester working part-time with a startup (normally this will occur through the RLCIE Startup Database), and provide a document summarizing the experience, contribution, and lessons learned. Sufficient hours and engagement with the startup are required. More substantial internships with startups are also appropriate.

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Feel free to email Ron LaPierre at rlapierre@cmc.edu with any questions.

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