COLLEGE PARK, Md.– The University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and its Do Good Institute recently announced six finalists for the 2018 Do Good Challenge. The annual challenge supports the university’s culture of philanthropy, innovation and entrepreneurship, spotlighting student groups that are making a social impact on campus, in the community, and globally. Selected from 113 teams that entered the competition, this year’s finalists includes groups that are addressing social issues that range from prenatal health to sustainability and recycling to mental health to Alzheimer’s detection.
The 2018 Do Good Challenge finalists are:
- Nourish: Mommy and Me partners with the Gabriel Network, a nonprofit organization that helps women and families challenged with a crisis pregnancy, to deliver weekly maternity meal boxes to expecting mothers in Maryland. Meal boxes include groceries, recipes, and educational materials that offer pregnancy tips, health facts, and more. Nourish team members include Sarah Dudley, School of Public Policy, Beyond the Classroom, and Samantha Kennedy, School of Public Health.
- Scholars Promoting and Revitalizing Care (SPARC) seeks to address gaps in mental health resources at the University of Maryland by advocating for increased accessibility, funding, and staffing for campus mental health facilities. The team also works to raise awareness about existing resources on campus and encourages students to prioritize and dialogue about mental health. SPARC team members include Anthony Sartori, School of Public Health; Roxy Kazem, Robert H. Smith School of Business, Scholars Program, College Park Scholars (Public Leadership); Kirsten Brockett, Individual Studies Program; Sreya Gunna, Individual Studies Program, CIVICUS; Ferddy Gedeon, Individual Studies Program, College Park Scholars (Science Discovery and the University), and Alyssa Schledwitz, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, College Park Scholars (Life Sciences).
- Terp Thon, the largest student-run philanthropic organization at the University of Maryland, raises funds and awareness for patients and their families at the Children’s National Health System. Throughout the year, the organization hosts various awareness campaigns, events and fundraising activities, including their annual dance marathon where students stand for 12 hours (a typical nurses’ shift) in support of current and former patients. All of the funds raised by the group provide patients and families with superior medical care and an array of support programs to enhance their hospital experience. Terp Thon team members include Amara Fox, School of Public Health, College Park Scholars (Global Public Health); Kate Burgess, School of Education; Elizabeth McKinley, School of Education; Brenna Hohl, James Clark School of Engineering, University Honors; and Kelly Stipa, Robert H. Smith School of Business and College of Arts and Humanities, University Honors.
- Recyclify is developing a phone application and smart bin to increase recycling rates at the University of Maryland. The group plans to educate and incentivize students through the app with a “Green Score” that provides redeemable points at several STAMP food court locations. The student group implemented bi-weekly recycling bin audits in the fall and spring semesters, and is working to increase its vendor sponsorships. Recyclify received a mini-grant from the Office of Sustainability and will work closely with Dining Services and Facilities Management to develop their prototype. Recyclify team members include Ardalan Djourabtchi, Robert H. Smith School of Business; Christopher Langreo, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences; and Jason Malkofsky-Berger, Robert H. Smith School of Business.
- Symbiont Health developed an enhanced medical alert system to accelerate the response and rescue of elderly persons who fall and lose consciousness. The device and alert system detects falls through motion sensors and gyroscopic technology. The student group is working to expand its services by implementing a mesh networking system for WiFi routers to better track patient behaviors in real-time, with vital diagnostic information. The group has a prototype and plans to test the router hardware in three homes—Sunrise, Brightview, and Manorcare—this summer. Symbiont Health team members include Erich Meissner, James Clark School of Engineering, Honors College (Entrepreneurship and Innovation); Kyle Liu, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University Honors; and Maria Chen, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Honors College (Integrated Life Sciences).
- Synapto is an early stage biotech company revolutionizing Alzheimer’s diagnosis through portable electroencephalogram (EEG) and machine learning. The innovative device moves away from costly neuroimaging diagnostic techniques and qualitative methods of diagnosis to a more robust, affordable, and objective measure of analysis. They are currently seeking FDA approval (under the 510(k) Class 2 Medical Device Pathway) to continue their work. Synapto team members include Dhruv Patel, James Clark School of Engineering, College Park Scholars; Christopher Look, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, James Clark School of Engineering, Honors College (Entrepreneurship and Innovation); Anoop Patel, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, James Clark School of Engineering, Honors College (Design Cultures & Creativity); David Boegner, James Clark School of Engineering; and Megha Guggari, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Honors College (Integrated Life Sciences).
On May 1, the finalists will pitch their projects or ventures to a panel of judges and an audience for a chance to win a share of more than $20,000. First place winners in each category will receive $5,000, while second place teams will each win $2,500, and third place winners will receive $1,000 each. Additionally, audience choice awards will be decided during the ceremony with prizes that range from $750 to $1,500.
This years Do Good Challenge will be judged by Michelle Gilliard, partner, Venture Philanthropy Partners; Kahlil Kettering, Urban Conservation director, The Nature Conservancy, DC/MD Chapter; Linda Powers, founder, Miles for Smiles; Dana Priest, two-time Pulitzer prize winner, John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism, University of Maryland; Ben Simon, CEO, Imperfect Produce; and Jed Woelfle, CFP, managing director, Morgan Stanley.
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