UK OTC is thrilled to announce that Serenity Wright, Ed.D. will lead its new Social Innovation team, as Serenity has accepted the position of Associate Director, Social Innovation as part of the Office of Technology Commercialization. Social Innovation is a new focus area under UK Innovate. Her focus will be to advance UK research and innovation that has a high potential for social impact through entrepreneurship, partnership, and other social ventures. With inclusive innovation as a tenet of this initiative, these efforts will increase access to innovation and entrepreneurship programs for underrepresented researchers and work closely with researchers in areas such as social work, social sciences, education, arts, humanities, public health and more.
“The launch of our Social Innovation team is an enormous step for UK, ahead of the field, to invest in advancing research discoveries that have a high potential for social impact, and not just economic impact. We are one of the first universities in the country to take this intentional step forward within our Office of Technology Commercialization," said Ian McClure, AVPR, Innovation and Economic Impact. "We are excited to dive head-first into inclusive innovation practices that will diversify and expand the pool of innovators we work with to create impact from research through social ventures and other commercialization outcomes. Serenity Wright will be incredible in this leadership role. She has extensive experience working to advance equity, diversity and inclusion in the business community and has led social impact and community-engaged projects through innovation and technology. Her energy and passion for this work are infectious.”
Serenity earned her doctorate from the University of Kentucky in policy, measurement and evaluation. Her research interests include equity and access to opportunities. Serenity employs a hard science approach through a lens of cultural competency for her theoretical orientation. She is passionate about advocating for those who struggle to access opportunities available for them. Serenity taught high school for eight years, served as the Associate Dean for Diversity and International Students Services at Transylvania University, worked in city government, and recently served as the Gatton Honors Pathway Director and Co-Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Gatton College of Business and Economics.
“I am thrilled to be given the honor of creating, elevating, and leading this team. We will make deep, lasting, and intentional change within our community," said Wright. "Growing through Social Innovation will enhance community needs, commercialize faculty research in critical areas of service, and diversify innovators with products and services that match community needs.”