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Challenge Winners 2020

Challenge 2020 Winners

Schmidt Futures received 838 submissions from students enrolled in 264 schools in 40 different countries, representing 86 nationalities and speaking 53 primary languages. Participants spanned a variety of backgrounds, such as undergraduate freshman at liberal arts schools, PhD candidates in the sciences, graphic designers, and aspiring lawyers, among others. 

The submissions focused on a range of issues, many of which included solutions to tackle mental health issues; expand access to telehealth services; increase access to high-quality education; mitigate the pandemic impacts on the elderly and aging population; alleviate refugee and migrant worker hardships; end global food insecurity; and more. 

Schmidt Futures worked with the 20 winners to refine their proposals and publish them in an online anthology. The anthology is a capstone of the months-long competition, amplifying voices of students around the world and their promising solutions to build a better future. 

Meet the Reimagine Challenge 2020 winners below, and read about their proposals in the online anthology.

The Anthology

The Winners

Phyllis_Mugadza

Phyllis Mugadza

Nationality: Zimbabwean

School: Yale University

Bhavya Gupta Photo

Bhavya Gupta

Nationality: Indian

School: Parsons School of Design at The New School

Bio: Phyllis Mugadza is a senior at Yale University pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.) as well as a dual degree at the Yale School of Public Health, working towards a Master of Public Health degree in the Health Care Management program. Phyllis cites her Zimbabwean upbringing as a source of her inspiration to use the intersection of engineering and public health studies to develop a startup built around creating a reusable menstrual product.

Bio: Bhavya Gupta is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Design and Technology at Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York City. Bhavya is a multidisciplinary designer, illustrator and practicing researcher from New Delhi, whose research is centered on creating social impact through design-oriented solutions.

Proposal Summary: Phyllis proposes the creation of makerspaces for recyclers and workers in developing nations with high waste mismanagement to provide supplies, tools, and a safe working environment for makers to repurpose trash into usable items that can be sold in international markets.

Proposal Summary: Bhavya proposes the creation of an app to organize and network female migrant entrepreneurs in India and a website that puts a human face on the plight of female migrant workers.

Proposal Pitch:

Proposal Pitch:

Muzzammil_Ismail

Muzzammil Ismail

Nationality: South African

School: University of Cape Town

Yvette_Homerlein

Yvette Homerlein

Nationality: Australian

School: University College London

Bio: Muzzammil Ismail is a medical doctor in Cape Town, South Africa, currently pursuing a Masters of Medicine in Public Health Medicine at the University of Cape Town. He is passionate about improving population-level healthcare systems and enabling data and information systems to create impact.

Bio: Yvette Homerlein is a first-year undergraduate student at the University College London pursuing a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences. Yvette’s international background has driven her passion to solve global issues.

Proposal Summary: Muzzammil proposes the VECTOR (Virtual Emergency Care Tactical Operation), a data-driven project for virtual management and observation of patients. The project proposes to scale a successful model from South Africa that assists with the management of elderly diabetic patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proposal Summary: Yvette proposes the creation of Check-mate, a Chrome extension and smartphone app that will battle misinformation online by identifying the owners of news sources in an easy-to-interpret color coding.

Proposal Pitch:

Proposal Pitch:

Valeria_Robayo

Valeria Robayo

Nationality: American

School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Thomas_Bizzell

Thomas Bizzell

Nationality: Australian

School: University of Queensland

Bio: Valeria Robayo is a sophomore at MIT majoring in Management and minoring in German.  Valeria hopes to pursue a career in medicine, specializing in cardiovascular surgery.

Bio: Thomas Bizzell is a first-year undergraduate student at the University of Queensland pursuing both a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws.

Proposal Summary: Valeria proposes the creation of Resource Hub, a free online service that provides a consolidated search for community resources, connecting financially struggling users with community resources and nonprofits.

Proposal Summary: Thomas proposes a global movement to address mental health issues associated with social isolation by reconnecting people with friends to whom they were once close.

Proposal Pitch:

Proposal Pitch:

Khushi_Shelat1

Khushi Shelat

Nationality: Australian

School: Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania

Glenda_Xu

Glenda Xu

Nationality: New Zealander

School: University College London

Bio: Khushi Shelat is an undergraduate student at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She has led an Australian national non-profit for gender equality in STEM and entrepreneurship, and is currently working on building an edtech startup that builds upon her proposal.

Bio: Glenda Xu is an undergraduate student in the Medicine MBBS program at the University College of London pursuing both a Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS). Her goal is to connect science and global leadership to pioneer solutions in health economics, politics, and translational medicine.

Proposal Summary: Khushi proposes the creation of Project Driven, a data science education program that will bring together existing resources and build a network of industry partners, students, and educators to partner on data science projects with tangible social impact.

Proposal Summary: Glenda proposes the creation of InspireSeed, a web platform to help foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong through employer certifications and personal development opportunities.

Proposal Pitch:

Proposal Pitch:

Lerato_Motaung

Lerato Motaung

Nationality: South African

School: University of Cape Town

Julian Kanjere Headshot

Julian Kanjere

Nationality: Zimbabwean

School: University of Cape Town

Bio: Lerato is a first-year law student at the University of Cape Town. She is a passionate human rights activist whose future plans include pursuing a Master’s degree in Law and entering the world of development planning.

Bio: Julian Kanjere is a graduate student at the University of Cape Town pursuing a Master of Philosophy in Financial Technology. Prior to graduate school, Julian developed enterprise and investment management software. His ambition is to harness the power of technology to advance the financial services and agricultural sectors in Africa.

Proposal Summary: Lerato proposes the creation of the Guardian App, a mobile application that provides victims and survivors of gender-based violence with resources and ways to get access to assistance in one place for free.

Proposal Summary: Julian proposes the creation of the FoodPrint Farmer platform, a digital, cloud-based and blockchain-enabled food traceability and produce logging platform for smallholder farmers.

Proposal Pitch:

Proposal Pitch:

Atish_Shah

Atish Shah

Nationality: Tanzanian

School: University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Togqing Zhu

Tongqing Zhu

Nationality: Chinese

School: University of Southern California

Bio: Atish Shah is a first-year graduate student at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, pursuing a masters degree in biomedical engineering. Atish is also a medical doctor in Tanzania and the founder of Roverlabs Tanzania, a platform enabling patients to access free online medical consultations.

Bio: Tongqing Zhu is a graduate student at the University of Southern California in the Master of Social Work program. Tongqing was born and raised in China and immigrated to the United States. She plans to become a licensed clinical social worker to provide mental health treatment to children, adolescents, young adults and their families, her long-term career goal is to establish child protective services in China.

Proposal Summary: Atish proposes the creation of a virtual health consulting service to help patients who cannot access medical care and intervention.

Proposal Summary: Tongqing proposes the creation of the Sunrise Project, an online portal to provide culturally adapted community-based social services to the elderly Asian immigrant community in Los Angeles Count in linguistically and culturally appropriate ways. The Sunrise Project aims to reduce depression, anxiety, loneliness, and social isolation among Asian adults aged 65 and older.

Proposal Pitch:

Proposal Pitch:

Christine_Cannon

Christine Cannon

Nationality: American

School: Pomona College

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Neha Halebeed

Nationality: American

School: University of Southern California

Bio: Christine Cannon is a sophomore at Pomona College in Claremont, California, currently majoring in molecular biology. She is passionate about creating a positive impact in medicine, tech, and climate policy.

Bio: Neha is a sophomore communications major at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. Neha plans to use her skillset to find ways to ethically utilize technology to solve social problems that arise from our increasingly tech-based world.

Proposal Summary: Christine proposes the creation of WeCan, a centralized hub for social justice movements that connects movement leaders, members, and subgroups of activists.

Proposal Summary: Neha proposes the creation of Giving Streets, a QR Code-based cashless donation system to replace typical street-side cash donations for homeless populations in urban settings.

Proposal Pitch:

Proposal Pitch:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rowyn Naidoo

Nationality: South African

School: University of Cape Town

Suhani Jalota

Suhani Jalota

Nationality: Indian

School: Stanford University

Bio: Rowyn Naidoo is an undergraduate student at the University of Cape Town pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He is committed to creating long-lasting global change by developing new solutions to complex problems using nature as a source of inspiration.

Bio: Suhani Jalota is a graduate student at Stanford University pursuing both a Master of Business Administration and a PhD in Health Policy and Economics.  In 2015, Suhani founded the Myna Mahila Foundation, an organization to educate, enable, enhance, and empower women in the slums of India by improving their health and standard of living.

Proposal Summary: Rowyn proposes to address the issue of food insecurity with the development of vertical gardens that incorporate drip irrigation and compost, all from recycled materials found in settlements in South Africa.

Proposal Summary: Suhani proposes extending the reach and goals of the Myna Mahila Foundation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to improve access to women’s health and hygiene products and shift health behaviors for two million women and girls by 2025.

Proposal Pitch:

Proposal Pitch:

Lia _ Bote _ Photo

Lia Bote

Nationality: Filipino

School: University College London

stevenwang-headshot

Steven Wang

Nationality: American

School: Harvard University

Bio: Lia Bote is a second-year biological sciences student at the University College, specializing in cell biology. She is passionate about solving problems at the intersection between science and society, and in particular about improving access to quality healthcare in low- to middle-income countries.

Bio: Steven Wang is a first-year student at Harvard University with a joint concentration in Philosophy and Computer Science. He is involved in creating solutions to support small businesses and educational initiatives through his work as a partner at Dorm Room Fund.

Proposal Summary: Lia proposes the creation of a two_part project that provides primary care in the Philippines through telehealth services: a website for physicians and volunteer researchers to list their services and a phone hotline service that connects patients with the healthcare system without the need for online mobile applications.

Proposal Summary: Steven proposes the creation of UsTogether, a fundraising app for regionalized small businesses that allows users to search by location and business type to then invest in businesses they love from their home regions, generating long-term buy-in for community members and high-quality financial support for small businesses.

Proposal Pitch:

Proposal Pitch:

Simbarashe_mambiri

Simbarashe Herbert Mambiri

Nationality: Zimbabwean

School: McNeese State University

Manas_Punhani

Manas Punhani

Nationality: Indian

School: Yale University

Bio: Simbarashe (Simba) Herbert Mambiri is a graduate student at McNeese State University in Louisiana pursuing a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering.  His work is focused on researching Zeolite catalyst and effective methods in coking reduction with plans to continue his work in the Energy sector.

Bio: Manas Punhani is a graduate student at Yale School of Management pursuing a Master of Business Administration. Manas grew up in multiple locations across Asia, Europe, and North America and, prior to business school, worked at an edtech start-up and management consulting firm.

Proposal Summary: Simba proposes the creation of Dzidza FM, a fully integrated FM radio-based education system for use in remote areas where schools are not feasible and internet access is unavailable.

Proposal Summary: Manas proposes an initiative to help migrant and refugee communities through the mobilization of professional development resources and allowing investments based on payment from future income.

Proposal Pitch:

Proposal Pitch: