We award innovation, creativity and impact in our students

Each year San Diego State University recognizes one graduating senior for exceptional entrepreneurial achievement while an undergraduate. The award includes a $25,000 prize for the student to use to pursue his or her endeavors after graduation.

The Zahn Spirit of Innovation Award is funded by Irwin Zahn and the Moxie Foundation. Zahn’s philanthropic giving goes beyond this annual scholarship. His donations also created the Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad and the Zahn Professorship of Creativity and Innovation.



Shurene Premo, Class of 2019

Shurene's commitment to a higher level of social work for Native Americans drives her ambition to someday build a Native American recovery and treatment center for her hometown Shoshone reservation in remote northern Nevada.

Read the NewsCenter article about Shurene here

Chase Whittaker, Class of 2018

Whittaker founded the SanD/Stone Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to providing education and hygiene-focused interventions for vulnerable populations in Zambia, the United States and Mexico. Whittaker received degrees in public health and political science.

Read the NewsCenter article about Chase here

Anthony Berteaux, Class of 2017

Berteaux, a journalism major, was a thought leader in the SDSU student body, challenging the status quo through columns on diversity, sexism, and religious tolerance in The Daily Aztec and as campus editor-at-large for The Huffington Post.

Read the NewsCenter article about Anthony here

Austin Owens, Class of 2016

Owens received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and was the first-ever Zahn Spirit of Innovation Award recipient. Owens, who is "passionate about solving problems and making things happen against all odds," was a SDSU standout for founding the on-campus Mechatronics Club, competing in international RoboSub competitions and landing a post-graduation job at SpaceX, a space exploration company founded by Elon Musk.

Read the NewsCenter article about Austin here