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New Student Organization Focuses on Innovation Regular meetings planned at UH at Sugar Land, Online

Sept. 15, 2022

Marisa Ramirez

A new student organization encourages members to be innovative as they fold in leadership and academic learning into practice. The Technology and Innovation Leaders of Tomorrow (TILT) is a new group with goals of engaging with industry leaders and companies, facilitating mentoring, scholarship and job opportunities, and raising awareness of the industry trends.

Portrait of a black woman smiling.

“Our purpose is to promote students’ academic and professional success,” said student Melissa Rurangirwa, marketing officer for the organization. “We aim to promote diversity, inclusion and giving TLIM students a voice in the program.”

The group, which will meet on the UH at Sugar Land instructional site and online, aims to recruit 100 members. Many students are from the Collge of Technology's Technology, Leadership & Innovation Management (TLIM) program, but students from any major are welcome

“We are all about leadership and innovation practices, helping students transition from academia to successful careers,” said Maria Burns, coordinator for the college’s Technology, Leadership and Innovation Management (TLIM) program. She also is the faculty advisor for the group. “In late 2021 the TLIM program became accredited by the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering. After reaching that important milestone, the program’s ongoing success urged the need for students to have a voice.”

Rurangirwa is one of five officers of TILT, with the other members including an aspiring Olympic athlete, US veterans, a member of a prominent political family.

“Our academic program is all about being meaningfully unique, while our cultural banners are all about diversity and inclusion. Our student organization reflects this diversity, hence our officers represent vital segments of the student population, and our society,” said Burns.

Rurangirwa, a nutrition science and digital media major, hopes the TILT highlights opportunities for black women in technology, leadership and innovation management.

“I am one of a few black women in my areas of study. Because of this, black female representation and leadership in the nutrition and technology fields is especially important to me,” she said. “I want other people like me to be able to envision themselves thriving in these fields.”

Officials with the new student organization expect to invite industry speakers and TLIM faculty to share knowledge and experience in the field, and give students opportunities to network and ask questions.

Students interested in joining the group, and industry professionals interested in addressing the group can connect on Instagram, @uh_tilt, or

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