2021 President’s Commitment and Innovation Award winners
University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann announced the recipients of the 2021 President’s Commitment Award and the President’s Innovation Award. Awarded annually, the awards enable Penn students to design and undertake post-graduation projects that make a positive and lasting difference in the world. Each winning project will receive $ 100,000, as well as a living allowance of $ 50,000 per team member. The awards are the most important of their kind in higher education.
“This year’s winning projects are inspiring and are important examples of implementing Penn education to meet the urgent and important human needs of local, national and global communities: from addressing the risk of eating disorders in young people in our city to improve the experiences of patients and frontline health workers, to contribute to the global refugee crisis through clean water and agricultural training, ”said President Gutmann. “The recipients embody Penn’s foundational commitment to service leadership, a most vital and urgent call in these trying times.”
The awards are generously supported by Trustee Emeritus Judith Bollinger and William G. Bollinger, in honor of Ed Resovsky; The Trustee Lee Spelman Doty and George E. Doty, Jr .; Director Emeritus James S. Riepe and Gail Petty Riepe; The Trustee David Ertel and Beth Seidenberg Ertel; Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation; and an anonymous donor.
The following scholarship students will spend the next year implementing their projects.
Elizabeth Carson Eckhard, Natalia Rommen and Sarah Simon for Project HOPE: Ms Eckhard, Ms Rommen and Ms Simon will address the lack of legal support and reentry of incarcerated Philadelphians by serving as the nucleus of a vast advocacy network. They are supervised by Marissa Boyers Bluestine, associate director of the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.
Martin Leet and Leah Voytovich for Maji: Mr. Leet and Ms. Voytovich will install a solar-powered water tank for household use and irrigation in the Olua I refugee camp in Uganda, and provide hands-on agricultural training and medical training in first aid to refugees. They are mentored by Ocek Eke, director of global and local service learning programs at the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Christina Miranda and Amanda Moreno for Be Body Positive Philly: Ms. Miranda and Ms. Moreno will address the risk of eating disorder among high school students in Philadelphia by implementing a validated body positivity program and an innovative model of peer mentoring. They are supervised by Caroline Watts, director of academic and community engagement at Penn’s Graduate School of Education.
Aris Saxena and Yiwen Li for mobility: Mobility aims to provide patients around the world with access to healthcare directly from their homes. The company has created a software solution for health clinics in Africa to seamlessly coordinate primary health care home deliveries. The software is designed specifically for underfunded areas with little technological access, requiring minimal WiFi, data usage and user response. Mr. Saxena and Mr. Li are mentored by Tyler Wry, Associate Professor of Management at Penn’s Wharton School.
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert for Lumify Care: Lumify Care aims to improve the patient experience by developing innovative tools and resources needed to support frontline healthcare workers. Its flagship product is the uNight Light, a portable LED light that enables healthcare workers to light up their workspace while reducing sleep disturbances for patients. Mr. Scarpone-Lambert is mentored by Therese S. Richmond, Andrea B. Laporte Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Research and Innovation at Penn’s School of Nursing.
“From incarcerated Philadelphians to chronic disease patients in South Africa, Project HOPE, Maji, Be Body Positive Philly, Mobility and Lumify Care have the ability to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable around us,” said the president Gutmann. “These Class of 2021 members set out to implement extremely promising companies, and each brought to the table exceptional ability and an infectious desire to make a tangible, substantial and lasting impact.”
This year’s finalists also included, for the President’s Commitment Award: Angela Kumirai and Arabang Dingalo for Central Pharma, a platform that aims to increase access to life-saving medicines in rural Zimbabwe by improving the experience. purchasing drugs and reducing stockouts in health facilities; Abraham Mascio and Rouguiatou Sall for La Graine de Guinee, which aims to combat rising rates of diabetes in Guinea by implementing a culturally sensitive diabetes awareness program; and Samira Mehta for WASH for San Juan Tlacotenco, which aims to increase access to clean water and sanitation services in Mexico. Ricky Pati was a finalist for the President’s Innovation Award for 3Cor Bio, a low-cost rapid diagnostic platform that has the potential to target multiple infectious diseases, starting with COVID-19.
Ninety Penn seniors, a record total, submitted nominations for both awards this year, with submissions covering an impressive array of innovative and impactful ideas. Mentors from faculty and staff and staff from the Undergraduate Research and Fellowship Center worked closely with the students to develop the projects.
“Our excellent students at Penn,” said Provost Wendell Pritchett, “are producing ideas that will change the future. These exciting projects demonstrate their strong commitment to helping others and finding solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. They are particularly focused this year on health and wellness, which will be vital priorities as the world emerges from the pandemic in the years to come. We are indebted to their academic advisors and the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, who are invaluable partners in the development of these visionary ideas.