Nine graduating seniors were awarded the 2020 President’s Engagement and Innovation prizes, which provide $100,000 in funding for projects designed to make a lasting difference in the world. Each team member also receives a $50,000 living stipend and mentorship from a Penn faculty member. The prizes are the largest of their kind in higher education. Here are the winning projects:
PRESIDENT’S ENGAGEMENT PRIZES
Aarogya | Aditya Siroya C’19 W’20, Shivansh Inamdar EAS’19 C’20, and Artemis Panagopoulou C’20 EAS’20 aim to save lives by providing free medicines to those most in need. They created India’s first digital medicine redistribution platform, which will broaden healthcare access and reduce medical waste by enabling safe, convenient redistribution of unused medicine to patients who can’t afford them. Mentor: Mark Pauly, the Bendheim Professor of Health Care Management at Wharton.
The Unscripted Project | Meera Menon W’20 and Philip Chen W’20 hope to utilize improv theater training to empower Philadelphia youth to speak confidently, collaborate effectively, and practice perseverance. Partnering with Philly Improv Theater, the pair will coordinate 10-week workshops for sixth to 10th grade students in Philadelphia, emphasizing real-world skills. Mentor: Marcia Ferguson, senior lecturer in theatre arts in the School of Arts and Sciences.
Collective Climb | Kwaku Owusu W’20, Mckayla Warwick C’20, and Hyungtae Kim C’20 want to increase economic prosperity among communities in West Philadelphia through a financial literacy initiative and debt reduction model that centers around “community pots”—collections of monetary contributions that leverage collective wealth to tackle debt. Mentor: Glenn Bryan, Assistant Vice President of Community Relations in Penn’s Office of Government and Community Affairs.
PRESIDENT’S INNOVATION PRIZE
inventXYZ | Nikil Ragav EAS’20 W’20 plans to set up makerspaces at high schools across the country to empower a new generation of inventors, regardless of income or background. The makerspace design includes equipment for automated manufacturing, electronics design, augmented/virtual reality, filmmaking, and digital music. Mentor: Adam Mally, lecturer in computer and information science in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.