Riata Faculty Fellows Program

Faculty Fellows

The Riata Fellows Program is a core component of the university-wide entrepreneurship initiative, where the entrepreneurial mindset and core entrepreneurship concepts are applied to disciplines across the campus.

Launched in December of 2009, the program offers a unique opportunity for entrepreneurial faculty from any discipline or academic area to be jointly appointed in the School of Entrepreneurship. Fellows are typically appointed for 2-3 years to work on research, curriculum development or outreach initiatives that link their home discipline to entrepreneurship. The fellows come together for a major forum each year to share progress and outcomes from the project on which they are working. They also contribute to ongoing discussions regarding cross-disciplinary applications of entrepreneurship, and the development of OSU as an entrepreneurial university.

2013-2014 Faculty Fellows


Ginger Welch

Department of Human Development & Family Science
Project: Fine Arts Preschool

Dr. Welch is currently a clinical associate professor and internship coordinator in the Department of Human Development and Family Science where she is responsible for developing relationships with community partners, supervising student internships, and chairing the undergraduate curriculum committee to ensure the best possible translation of theory to practice. She was previously an assistant professor of human relations where she taught and supervised human resource pre-professionals for companies including Devon Energy, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the U.S. Military, as well as pre-licensed counselors. She is also a licensed psychologist in practice since 2007 with a specialty in child clinical and pediatric psychology, holds teaching licenses in early childhood education and school counseling, and is an author of both fiction and non-fiction books. Her interests in entrepreneurship include women in small business, human service small businesses, and businesses designed to maximize families’ time management with a secondary goal of financial gain such as home-based businesses and child care. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University who returned “home” in 2012.


Phil Choo

College of Arts & Science

Phil Choo, Associate professor and Designer, teaches graphic design courses at Oklahoma State University. Choo earned his MFA from Iowa State University and was an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota for three years before joining OSU in 2005. He creates body of work to challenge and value design as a creative problem-solving process, making objects, need finding, risk-taking, redefining lives, beauty combined with effectiveness, and the outcome of collaborations. After years of his success as a graphic designer, he is currently expanding his research interests to 3D functional objects and interdisciplinary study with Business, Engineering, and other disciplines. His work ranges from printed design to interactive design.


Kevin Lair

Kevin Lair

Kevin Lair

Indiana University
Project: Design thinking and the role of language in the innovation process

Kevin Lair is an interdisciplinary designer whose work focuses on the integration of architecture, art, and entrepreneurship. At IUCA+D he is fostering a comprehensive design education and developing design research through strategic prototypes. His mission is to promote design thinking, disciplinary re-structuring, and collaboration using Columbus as aliving lab. His design practice is focusing on applications for building innovation capacity in the design of organizations, services, and new ventures. Professor Lair’s creative process and art work will be featured in a new book published by Culicidae Press (forthcoming). This fall he was awarded at Riata Fellowship in Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University where he will explore design thinking and the role of language in the innovation process. He holds degrees in Fine Art and Psychology from Drake University and a Masters in Architecture from Harvard University.


Adam Cobb

Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management Project
Project: Improving the livelihoods of farmers by reducing fertilizer costs through ecological drivers

Adam is currently a Ph. D student in the department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management. His research relates to sorghum and bean crops and their interaction with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi in the soil. Adam completed his Master’s in International Agriculture in 2011. Because he grew up in the Philippine Islands, he has an interest in poverty reduction projects and sustainable agriculture methods. They are looking at ways to use soil ecological drivers, like AM fungi, to reduce the fertilizer needs of food crops while boosting nutritional content at the same time.


Jennifer Mayo

School of Education
Project: Reusable condoms, catheters, and gloves

Jennifer Mayo is an undergraduate student studying health education and promotion. Her work as a fellow will focus on creating health products for developing countries. Mayo’s social venture project, Pearl Health, includes the development of a reusable condom that will prevent disease and be cost effective.


Lloyd Caldwell

College of Arts & Science
Project: Writing a book on Arts Entrepreneurship

Lloyd Caldwell is a member of the Theatre Faculty of Oklahoma State University, and a Riata Fellow in the Spears School of Business. In a career spanning 30 years he has appeared off-Broadway and regionally, and in feature films and television. His credits include roles at the American Place Theatre, The Roundabout Theatre, La Mama Theatre Company, and a national tour as John Adams in 1776. His acting film credits include The Group, Dropped Frames, Resistance, and A Great Day. Since 1986 Lloyd has choreographed stage combat for 93 professional productions and 120 university productions in Canada, the United States and Europe. His fight choreography credits include the Undermain Theatre, The Traverse Theatre of Glasgow, The Berlin Comic Opera, the Royal Norwegian Opera, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Lloyd is one of the founders of the International Order of the Sword and Pen, and served a five year appointment as the Executive Director. Through his company, Bladework, he has provided a wide variety of services to clients such as Universal Studios, Kings Productions, NBC, CBS, the BBC, and RTE’. In August he completed fight choreography for his ninth production of MACBETH, produced by Shakespeare Dallas. Lloyd is currently directing the upcoming production of All in The Timing.


Dan Tilley

College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources

Daniel S. Tilley is Barry Pollard, M.D./P&K Equipment Professor of Agribusiness in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. He also serves as the Associate Director of the New Product Development Center at OSU and is currently a Riata Center Fellow in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises in the Spears School of Business at OSU. Teaching experience includes introduction to agricultural economics and agribusiness, agricultural marketing, agribusiness management, and an international study tour. In addition, he has taught graduate courses covering new product development, marketing, econometrics, and price analysis. He has been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi and Gamma Sigma Delta. He has supervised 60 M.S. and Ph.D. students and has served on graduate committees in accounting, industrial engineering, economics and animal science.


Joe Cecil

Industrial Engineering
Project: Providing early exposure on engineering subjects to K-12 students through Virtual Reality and Engineering workshops

J. Cecil is an Associate Professor in the School of Industrial Engineering and the Director of the Center for Information Centric Engineering at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA. He also leads the Interdisciplinary Cyber Learning Group at OSU. His teaching and research interests deal with Information Centric Engineering (ICE) themes in a range of process domains including the 3 core facets of modeling, simulation and exchange of information; this includes design of virtual prototyping based approaches for micro/space and bio systems, creation of virtual learning environments for engineering and K-12 education, and design of cyber learning frameworks for distributed engineering and educational activities. He also directs the Soaring Eagle program at OSU which aims at providing early exposure on engineering subjects to K-12 students through Virtual Reality and Engineering workshops. Dr. Cecil has a PhD in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University (College Station).


Elizabeth Payne

School of Entrepreneurship
Project: Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Outreach

a. Elizabeth Payne is a licensed attorney currently teaching American Indian Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. She manages strategic relationships for the Dean’s office in the Spears School of Business. For nine years Elizabeth acted as Counsel then VP of HR for Ed Gaylord’s multibillion dollar private company. She led a department of 25 who managed HR, Benefit Plan Design, and Safety/Security for the growing list of Gaylord companies. Recruited to join fast growing technology company Advanced Financial Solutions, Payne served as VP of HR when Principal Financial Group awarded AFS one of the 10 Best U.S. Companies for ensuring Employee Financial Security. Elizabeth has spoken at conferences and been featured in several national publications regarding innovative employment, reward and benefit strategies. Elizabeth has driven business development and channel sales for the top two public companies in the Financial Services Technology industry. She has served as a strategist, management consultant, and executive coach to clients in many verticals including Technology, Fast Food Franchise, Rental Power, Out sourced sales/marketing, Design, Weatherization and Law. Her current interests are Strategic Engagement, American Indian Entrepreneurship, Women’s Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Outreach at Oklahoma State University.


Mihyun Kang

Department of Design, Housing, & Merchandising
Project: Development of Curricular for the Interior Design and Entrepreneurship Program

Mihyun Kang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising at the College of Human Sciences. She focuses her scholarly work on sustainability in terms of both interior design and facility management to minimize negative effects and maximize positive effects on environmental, economic, and social systems over the life cycle of a building. She also has interests in design methodology for special populations to solve complex contemporary interior design problems. Her work as a Riata Faculty fellow will focus on the development of curricular for the Interior Design and Entrepreneurship program. A course assignment entitled Rebuilding Community: Value Proposition and Retail Space Design will be developed and implemented for Interior Design and Entrepreneurship students. It will allow interior design students to plan and execute an interior environment with an entrepreneurial perspective in the context of community, while entrepreneurship students will come to understand comprehensive retail environments that support and affect business.


Krishnan R. Vaidyanathan

School of Materials Science & Engineering
Project: Developing a major research and technology transfer thrust in polymers and composite materials

Dr. Ranji Vaidyanathan is presently the Varnadow Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Helmerich Research Center at OSU Tulsa. He was previously the Director of the New Product Development Center (NPDC) and the Inventors Assistance Service (IAS) at Oklahoma State University. At Oklahoma State University, Ranji works collaboratively with faculty members from various disciplines and colleges to develop products and solutions for Oklahoma small manufacturers. As the Varnadow Professor, Dr. Vaidyanathan works with the Helmerich Research Center faculty to develop a major research and technology transfer thrust in polymers and composite materials.


Don Luper

State Fair Community College at Sedalia, MO
Project: Riding the Arts through the Motorcycle Industry

Don Luper was born in 1967 in Sedalia, Missouri. He married Tina in 1988 and they have two children. His formal art education began at State Fair Community College shortly after he was married. He then transferred to the Kansas City Art Institute graduating in 1993 with a BFA. He received a fellowship at the University of Missouri—Columbia and completed his MFA in 1996. From there, he returned to State Fair Community College as an art instructor, which is where he continues to teach today.

For most of his career his artwork centered around large-scale metal and ceramic sculptural pieces, many of which included the element of water. For the past seven years he stepped away from the 3-D arena and has been focusing on drawing. Most of his current work is geared toward the motorcycle industry. Don’s current focus is to develop new concepts and images that will find their place within this industry.


Anne-Marie Condacse

Department of Music
Project: Entrepreneurship in the Arts Internship Program

Soprano Anné-Marie Condacse has been a resident artist with the George Enescu Romanian National Philharmonic and she has appeared as a guest soloist in productions of the National Romanian Opera, Ion Dacian Operetta Theater, Cairo Symphony Orchestra, Oradea Lyric Theater, Woodlands Symphony, and the Moores Opera Center. Dr. Condacse received a Doctoral of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance with a minor cognate area in Vocal Pedagogy and Vocal Science from the Moore’s School of Music, University of Houston, and a Master of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University. Dr. Condacse is an Associate Professor of Music in the OSU Department of Music. In collaboration with faculty in the OSU Entrepreneurship, she teaches courses in Arts Entrepreneurship and works toward the development of an Entrepreneurship in the Arts Internship program.


Mary Ruppert-Stroescu

Design, Housing, & Merchandising Department
Project: Fostering entrepreneurship in the apparel industry, in both fashion and functional categories

Currently an Assistant Professor of Apparel Design and Textile Science, Mary Ruppert-Stroescu’s teaching and research centers around creative thinking. Current research and design topics include wearable sensing systems, sustainable textiles and apparel. She possesses international management and design experience. Applying creativity to apparel design for both fashion and function. Mary is most concerned with finding ways to develop ideas into reality. She began teaching full-time for ESMOD Casablanca, in Morocco, and has been teaching fashion design for over 15 years while designing for exhibit, winning the International Textile and Apparel Association Award for Excellence in Design Development using Draping. Mary served on the faculty of Stephens College for ten years, where she held the administrative positions of Study Abroad and Internship Coordinator as well as Fashion Chair. She has also directed fashion programs at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago and LaSalle College, Morocco. Ruppert-Stroescu joined the faculty of Lasell College in August of 2008 as Associate Professor and Chair of the Fashion Department.


Nurhan Dunford

Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
Project: Development of a Wheat Biorefinery System for Oklahoma

Dr. Dunford is a professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. She is also on staff at the Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center. Dr. Dunford is a registered Professional Engineer, a Certified Food Scientist and a Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Dunford’s experience as an engineer and scientist encompasses over thirty years including positions in Turkey, Canada and U.S.A. She has been awarded numerous national and international awards and inducted into Phi Beta Delta Epsilon Upsilon, honor society for international scholars. She teaches graduate level bioprocessing courses and provides technical support to producers and processors in Oklahoma through her extension appointment. Dunford’s research focuses on improving existing and developing new bioprocessing technologies; examining potential of non-food biomass as biofuel and bioproduct feedstocks; and advancing utilization of by-products/waste streams for biofuel production and value-added product development.


Nathan Richardson

Department: School of Architecture
Project: Establishing a cross-disciplinary academic collaboration between Architecture and the School of Entrepreneurship

Nathan Richardson is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture. His work as a fellow will focus on establishing a cross-disciplinary academic collaboration between Architecture and the School of Entrepreneurship. Richardson’s project, the Collaborative Understanding of Built Enterprise (CUBE), examines the role of the entrepreneurial architect in the process of conceiving, designing, financing, constructing and inhabiting the built environment.