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14 Outstanding Teams Selected as 2019 Do Good Challenge Semi-Finalists

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The Do Good Institute is excited to announce the selection of the 2019 Do Good Challenge semi-finalists. These teams will compete for the opportunity to advance to the Do Good Challenge Finals where they can win a share of more than $20,000 and present in front of a panel of expert judges and an audience of hundreds.

A total of 14 teams were selected as semi-finalists, from an impressive number of student teams from across campus. This year’s semi-finalist teams are addressing social issues ranging from mental health awareness and support to STEM education, from solar technology to early Alzheimer’s disease detection. Semi-Finalists will pitch on Thursday, April 11 at the STAMP in front of a panel of judges. Our project-track judges are: Courtney Holder, coordinator, Leadership Community Service-Learning; Jeany Cadet, coordinator, College Park Scholars; Andy Fellows, former mayor of College Park; Kameron Patterson, director of programs, Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice & Ethics; and Jonathan Kidwell, partnerships officer for Nothing But Nets, United Nations Foundation. Our venture-track judges include: Sara Herald, associate director for social entrepreneurship, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship; Sammy Popat, campus connector and Discovery District Manger, Office of Innovation and Economic Development; Alla McCoy, director of Startup Support, Office of Technology Commercialization; and Gul Branco, director, Hillman Entrepreneurs 

Meet our 2018-2019 Do Good Challenge semi-finalists:

Project-Track Teams

Camp Kesem at University of Maryland supports children impacted by a parent's cancer through innovative, fun-filled programming to foster a community in which children can feel safe, loved, and understood. This summer, 100+ student volunteers will host a free week-long program for more than 45 campers.  Team members include: 

  • Alexander Tran, Robert H. Smith School of Business, College Park Scholars (Environment, Technology, and Economy), QUEST Honors Program

  • Devin Cain, James Clark School of Engineering, College Park Scholars (Public Leadership)

  • Jordan Babin, School of Public Health, College Park Scholars (Public Leadership)

  • Robin Bachkosky, School of Public Health

  • Jordan Walker, James Clark School of Engineering

FLAME empowers the next generation of STEM leaders by supporting the academic and social development of up to 100 students from underrepresented groups through weekly lessons in scientific topics, hands-on experiments, and mini-projects at two Title 1 schools in Prince George’s County (Charles Carroll Middle School and Adelphi Elementary). Team members include: 

  • Natalia Ochman, James Clark School of Engineering, Honors College (Integrated Life Sciences)

The Help Center is an anonymous, confidential, and free peer-counseling and crisis intervention hotline at the University of Maryland. Founded in 1970, it is completely student-run by trained student counselors. The Help Centers responds to callers 76 hours a week to support, refer, and provide mental health services to students on campus. Team members include:

  • Erin Hill, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, University Honors

  • Natania Lipp, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

The Motion Project supports Sri Lankan children with physical disabilities through targeted educational support and scholarships. For the past three years, in partnership with The Colombo Friend-in-Need Society, The Motion Project has provided educational grants to more than 40 students annually in addition to personalized tutoring services. Team members include:

  • Donald De Alwis, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, School of Public Health, Honors College (Integrated Life Sciences)

Peer to Peer provides weekly after-school and weekend programming for up to 60 local refugee students to improve their academic and social skills with interactive activities and homework help. This April, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee, Peer to Peer will bring 150 refugee and asylee students and their families to campus for a day of college and career exploration. Team members include: 

  • Shivani Shah, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University Honors

  • Benjamin Walton, James Clark School of Engineering, Honors College (Entrepreneurship and Innovation)

Public Health Without Borders (PHWB) is a service-learning student organization that provides health education and intervention-based workshops abroad. Students are engaging in cultural exchange, practical public health skill-building, and analysis of health needs have currently have projects are in Peru, India, and Sierra Leone. Team members include:

  • Kathleen Lindsey, School of Public Health

  • Maddy Pekosz, School of Public Health, College Park Scholars (Global Public Health)

  • Veeraj Shah, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, School of Public Health, Honors College (Integrated Life Sciences)

  • June Solow, School of Public Health, College Park Scholars (Global Public Health)

  • Kelsey Talarico, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences

ROOTS Africa works to combat hunger and poverty in Liberia through partnerships with local communities, farmer organizations, and colleges to promote the use of innovative and sustainable agricultural practices, while emphasizing the importance of youth-based involvement. Team members include:

  • Leyla Merlo, School of Public Health, McNair Scholars Program

  • Alice Murphy, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • William Mast, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Brian Glenn, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Annabelle Arnold, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Venture-Track Teams

Biokmir is focused on improving public health outcomes for people with Tuberculosis by developing a point-of-care diagnostic device and securing an international partnership to house an on-site research location. Biokmir plans to make its device hand-held, efficient, and low-cost. Team members include:

  • Zakariya Kmir, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences

Chat Health uses novel machine learning and artificial intelligence technology to provide students with real-time information about Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPD’s) like HPV. The app enables students to communicate with the University of Maryland Health Center using an SMS platform to receive information about vaccines and other public health concerns. Team members include:

  • Veeraj Shah, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, School of Public Health, Honors College (Integrated Life Sciences)

  • Neil Johnson, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences

DriveBox aims to provide the world’s first affordable self-driving add-on kit for people with physical limitations such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or spinal cord injuries. The kit would be installed on any existing car, making driving safer, more accessible, and less strenuous. Team members include: 

  • Adharsh Babu, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Honors College (Entrepreneurship and Innovation)

  • Niloy Gupta, James Clark School of Engineering, Honors College (Entrepreneurship and Innovation)

  • Jonathan Taylor, Robert H. Smith School of Business, Honors College (Entrepreneurship and Innovation)

Hydraze (formerly FlushX) is on a mission to save buildings, universities, and cities millions of gallons of water by eliminating empty “phantom” toilet flushes. Hydraze has piloted their proprietary water-sensing and automatic flushing devices at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in partnership with University of Maryland Facilities Management. Team members include: 

  • Charles Grody, James Clark School of Engineering, QUEST and Honors College (Entrepreneurship and Innovation)

Padres Preparados, Jóvenes Saludables is a culturally grounded, family-skills health app for Latino immigrant families with adolescents. This open-source app aims to combat obesity in children by improving fathers’ or male caregivers’ positive parenting practices. The app includes a wellness curriculum, a food resource library, bi-directional text messaging, video, audio, and evaluations. Team members include: 

  • Matthew Rodriguez, School of Public Health

  • Amara Channell Doig, School of Public Health

Solr Tech has developed the first retrofit kit to easily turn any patio umbrella into a solar charging station, meaning whether you’re at a hotel, by the pool, at a cafe, or at your favorite outdoor study spot, you’ll always have a convenient way to charge up. Team members include:

  • Alexei Onufrak, College of Information Studies

Synapto is an early stage biotech company revolutionizing Alzheimer's diagnosis through portable EEG and Machine Learning to make diagnosis more accessible, effective, and accurate. Synapto won first place in National Institute of Health’s DEBUT competition and has been featured in Forbes, Science Magazine, and Washingtonian. Team members include: 

  • Dhruv Patel, James Clark School of Engineering, Life Science 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

  • Megha Guggari, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Honors College (Integrated Life Sciences)


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