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Keller Pathway Fellowship Program

Explore the market potential of your business idea.

The Keller Pathway Fellowship provides a multifaceted opportunity for Aggie innovators to expand your network and move research and ideas off campus and into the world.

Please check back to apply for our 2024/25 cohort. 


The Keller Pathway Fellowship program is designed for UC Davis Ph.D, masters and undergraduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who have a specific business idea.

In particular, the program provides women, cross-disciplinary researchers and other underrepresented university-based entrepreneurs a foundation for developing your business ideas.

The program explicitly recognizes the power of cohort-based mentorship and support in defining and growing business ideas, strategies and networks.

photo of a young woman outside a building
Amabel Gale is double majoring in computer science and design. She was a 2022/23 Keller Pathway Fellow.

The fellowship has equipped me with a mental toolkit that I can apply to my current project and all subsequent work. It has opened doors for me at a much earlier stage than I anticipated, allowing me to have a head start in positively impacting others through my work.

Snapshot: Your Year as a Fellow

  • The Pathway | Program Requirements 2023/24
  • The Keller Pathway Fellowship program supports and encourages aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs who want to change the world. Our curriculum is designed to guide you on your path. All program costs are covered by the Keller Pathway Fellowship endowment.

    UC Entrepreneurship Academy | September 19–22, all day with some evening events | UC Davis Conference Center

    Monthly Fellows Luncheons (up to two excused absences allowed) | Noon -1 p.m. | Guest speakers TBA | Gallagher Hall

    • October 11, 2023
    • November 15, 2023
    • November 29, 2023 | Note: Panel / Dinner 5:30–8:30 p.m.
    • January 10, 2024
    • February 14, 2024
    • March 13, 2024
    • April 3, 2024
    • May 8, 2024

    Big Bang! Business Competition Kickoff October 17, 2023 | 5–8 p.m. | UC Davis Conference Center

    Think. Do. Discover. Speaker Series | November 7, 2023; 5-6:30 p.m. | All Pride, No Ego | A Conversation with Author, Advocate and Corporate Leader Jim Fielding | RSVP >

    Closing Dinner | May 28, 2024 | 5–6:30 p.m. | Gallagher Hall, Executive Board Room

    Enter and participate in the Big Bang! Business Competition at least through Round 2. The Big Bang! is a forum for students, researchers and faculty to collaborate, develop and test business visions and plans. You will receive invaluable feedback from industry executives, entrepreneurs, business leaders, venture capitalists and angel investors on how to create and refine your business concept. Attendance at Big Bang! workshops is optional. Workshops meet 5–7 p.m. on Zoom.

    Regional Events | Choose three to attend from the organizations below (or others you may know of) | Submit an event attendance form for each 


    Career Fairs | Various offered at UC Davis throughout the year | If interested, ask Niki.

    Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, CSUS

    CleanStart | CleanStart Facebook Group

    Evolution Accelerator


    Greater Sacramento Economic Council | Events Page

    One Million Cups

    Startup Grind Sacramento

    Startup Sacramento | Facebook Group

    Venture Catalyst, UC Davis

  • How to Apply
  • Preference for the Keller Pathway Fellowship is given to UC Davis–affiliated women researchers, postdoctoral research fellows, graduate students, faculty and staff in science and engineering, and/or researchers from interdisciplinary backgrounds who have attended, or plan to attend, one of the institute’s entrepreneurship academies.

    Interested candidates must complete an application that includes educational background information, a brief description of applicant interest, and a professional or educational reference.

    Applications for our 2023/24 cohort have closed. Please check back to apply for our 2024/25 program. 

    Selection Criteria

    Our selection committee considers applications in accordance with the following criteria:
    1st priority: Individuals with a stated intent to enter the Big Bang! Business Competition.
    2nd priority: Women researchers actively involved in science or engineering with an interdisciplinary research concept.
    3rd priority: Women researchers in science or engineering—any discipline. 
    4th priority: Any researcher from an interdisciplinary science and/or engineering background.

    Other desirable candidate qualities include, but are not limited to, those interested in:
    • Becoming an entrepreneur
    • Exploring the commercial potential of a concept
    • Advancing an interesting research or business concept
    • Networking in an entrepreneurship ecosystem

    Note: Participation by University of California affiliates (faculty, staff, graduate students or postdoctoral fellows from UC schools other than UC Davis) will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • Schedule
  • The Keller Pathway Fellowship program spans one academic year, September through May. 

    • Monthly mentoring meetings and Big Bang! workshops begin.

    • Monthly mentoring meetings and Big Bang! workshops continue.
    • Pathway Fellows enter Big Bang! Business Competition (February).

    • Monthly mentoring meetings, Big Bang! workshops and the Big Bang! Business Competition continue.
    • Closing dinner with Business Development Fellows | May 28, 2024 | 5–6:30 p.m. | Gallagher Hall,  Executive Board Room