The Jill Ker Conway Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center is designed to prepare Smith students to become different kinds of entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators who engage with the world beyond the campus.
In February 2015, Smith College embarked on a comprehensive strategic planning process and solicited ideas designed to shape the future of the college. Many of the proposals revealed the paramount importance of emphasizing co-curricular experiences, a core value of a Smith education. President McCartney, supported by the Smith College Board of Trustees, made the decision to invest in programs that connect students’ academic experiences with creative and practical opportunities. The Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, named in honor of Smith’s eighth overall and first woman president, was envisioned and identified as a new initiative priority.
Thanks to the generosity of Smith alumnae, the Conway Center launched in fall 2016 and significantly expanded and built upon the successful programming and initiatives of the Center for Women and Financial Independence (2001–16). At the Center, we recognize that Smith’s liberal arts curriculum provides students with an intellectual foundation for critical thinking, communication and creativity. When integrated with the complementary innovative and entrepreneurial experiences we offer, students become better problem solvers able to develop compelling value propositions. We teach academic courses, offer co-curricular programming and engage in financial education and entrepreneurship research.
About Jill Ker Conway
Jill Ker Conway (1934–2018) began her tenure as Smith’s first woman president in 1975. She championed groundbreaking projects, programs and academic departments, including the the Ada Comstock Scholars Program and programs in women’s studies, comparative literature and engineering. In 2013, Conway received the National Humanities Medal for her work as a scholar, author, college administrator, and member of numerous corporate and nonprofit boards. In naming Smith’s innovation center after Jill Ker Conway, we honor the legacy of a true pioneer and affirm our shared commitment to women’s success and leadership.
Carla Candido da Silva AC’24
Away Fall 2023
Helen Glover ’24
Helen is a computer science and environmental science double major. She has career interests in creative human-centered technology including UX Design and web development. At the Conway Center, she works on the web team in sharing entrepreneurial opportunities with the community.
Juliana Hobert '26J
Major: government; Minor: economics
Daphne Hwang Spencer '25
Sydney Jacobs ’24
Sydney is majoring in psychology and quantitative economics with a concentration in global financial institutions. She is passionate about sustainable finance and is a member of the Investing Club ESG sector, the president of the Outing Club, and works at the Smith Boathouse. Sydney is beyond thrilled to join the Conway Center intern team to assist with logistics and day-to-day operations.
Ange Joseph '26
Majors: economics and government
Handi Lu ’25
Away Fall 2023
Julieta Michelin Salomon '25
Major: quantitative economics Concentration: collaborative innovation
Parunjodhi Munisamy ’24
Parunjodhi lives in Cutter House and double majors in quantitative economics and statistical and data sciences. Her enthusiasm for innovation and entrepreneurship makes her a perfect fit for the Draper Competition team. New to the Conway Center, she is excited to learn and share knowledge with her peers.
Venus Nguyen '25
Major: computer science; Minor: studio art
Dimitra Prassa '25
Majors: environmental science and policy and economics
Nicole Sanchez Flores '26
Nadira Talayee '26
Major: statistical and data sciences
Mary Tran ’25
Mary is a junior studying quantitative economics. She’s the newest member of the Conway Center team who will help students and faculty explore the Bloomberg terminal and learn how to navigate this powerful financial tool.
Danyi Xu '26z
Majors: sociology and economics
Jennifer Zhang '25
Conway Center Recognition
Outstanding Emerging Center— Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers
#2 School for Female Founders who want to change the world— College Magazine
#26 College Financial Literacy Program— LendEDU
Top Speciality Program for Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education— United States Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship