Innovation Fellows

Meet Our Fellows

Project X-ITE Faculty Innovation Fellows are key conduits for faculty and student dialogue and discussion around cross-disciplinary engagement with innovation, technology and entrepreneurship at the University of Denver. These faculty members engage their expert colleagues from across the University, and through knowledge creation and scholarship, create programs that foster an innovative student mindset and engagement with faculty. Innovation Fellows provide guidance for the Xperiment program and other experiential education opportunities, and seek to maximize the engagement between the University community and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Matt Rutherford, Faculty Director

Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science

Professor Rutherford is a member of the Computer Science department, with a joint appointment to the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He specializes in software system engineering; unmanned/autonomous systems; and mobile, embedded, distributed, and parallel systems. Professor Rutherford is the Associate Director of the DU Unmanned Systems Research Institute. In addition, Prof. Rutherford is a founder and managing partner of MaxAccel, which provides a variety of software-as-a-service to the transportation industry.


Jesse Burne

Graduate School of Social Work

Assistant Professor of the Practice of Social Work Jesse Burne is the Executive Director at the University of Denver’s Bridge Project which seeks to provide educational opportunities for children living in Denver’s public housing neighborhoods so they graduate from high school and attend college or learn a trade. Burne has managed various youth programs serving students in New York City, Southern California, Denver and Boulder, Colorado. He led youth programming for organizations such as the American Red Cross and Mental Health Partners. Previously Burne was the Executive Director for Minds Matter of NYC. He specializes in implementing youth program models comprised of educational, mental health, youth development and college access components. Burne is a Management Fellow from the Columbia University School of Social Work.


Patience Crowder

Sturm College of Law

Professor Crowder joined the University of Denver in 2010 to start the Community Economic Development Clinic (CEDC). The CEDC “teaches transactional practice skills to students through the representation of nonprofit corporations, community-based associations and enterprises, small businesses, and artists.” Integrating the resources of the CEDC into our work at Project X-ITE will allow us to offer value to companies and social enterprises that engage with X-ITE. In addition, with X-ITE’s involvement, CEDC will now be able to offer a broad base of resources, not just those of the law school. It will serve as a one-stop shop for burgeoning entrepreneurs.


Laleh Mehran

Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Laleh Mehran constructs elaborate artworks focused on complex intersections between politics, religion, and science. The progeny of Iranian scientists, Mehran’s relationship to these issues is necessarily complex; even more so given today’s political climate in which certain views can have extreme consequences. Her research, often modeled on and about the very ideas of science and technology, takes advantage of their cultural importance in order to articulate a set of ideas which require precisely these kinds of mediations from both political and religious intolerance. Mehran received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. Mehran is a Professor and Graduate Director in Emergent Digital Practices at the University of Denver. More information may be found at Laleh’s personal website (


Stephen Haag

Daniels College of Business

Stephen Haag is associate professor-in-residence for the Daniels College of Business and former chair of the department of information technology and electronic commerce. Haag is also the Director of Assurance Learning, charged with facilitating the process and encouraging and stimulating a full-scale adoption of assurance of learning in the College. After receiving his doctorate in information systems from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1992, Haag was named assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He joined the University of Denver faculty in 1995 and was named department chair in 2000. When working with the media, Haag brings academic and community-based perspective to discussions of societal impacts of technology. He has been quoted in Parenting magazine and on Internet safety and was profiled by the Chicago Tribune in a feature on “Identity Terrorism.”

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