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Five Scholars Named 2024 Do Good Challenge Semi-Finalists

The Do Good Institute recently announced the selection of the 2024 Do Good Challenge semi-finalists. These student-led teams will compete for the opportunity to advance to the Do Good Challenge Finals on April 30 where they will present in front of a panel of expert judges and an audience of hundreds and vie for a share of more than $20,000 in prizes.

Five of the 14 semifinalists are College Park Scholars. Congratulations to Ethan Adler (MSS), Sara Blau (IS), Mohammed Ndiaye (GPH), Srivishnu Piratla (IS), and Takiyah Roberts (STS).

Adler is a student in the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences. His project, Terrapin Think Tank (TTT), is the first student-led policy incubator at the University of Maryland. For the past two and a half years, TTT has been developing and advocating for community-centered policy solutions to significant health challenges in Prince George’s County. The organization is officially partnered with the School of Public Health’s Office of Public Health Practice and Community Engagement, and works closely with elected officials and the Prince George’s County Health Department on several “health in all policies” initiatives. Students can apply to join TTT as a fellow and take a 1-credit course on policy research and advocacy while developing their own policy proposal. 

Blau is a student in the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Her project, Game Changers aims to empower disadvantaged youth around the world by providing them the opportunity to become athletes. Game Changers facilitates connections between sports equipment donors and children’s sports programs globally through an online database. Since its founding in 2016, Game Changers has donated 100,000+ pieces of sports equipment worth more than $2.5 million to 130 partner organizations in nine countries. These collective efforts have enabled the organization to impact the lives of more than 440,000 children worldwide.

Ndiaye is a student in the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences. His project, The Blood Pressure Screening Project, aims to combat heart disease and health disparities in the local community and empower individuals to proactively manage their health. This year, the organization’s 75+ volunteers held a successful event at the YMCA Silver Spring, providing 50 blood pressure screenings. The group has plans to expand its reach into the greater DC area, collaborate with more key partners, and increase its impact by extending its services and resources.

"Mohammed was a dedicated student in GPH and has stayed in touch sharing excitement about his work on the Blood Pressure Screening Project," said Elizabeth Maring, Global Public Health Scholars program director. "He has demonstrated commitment to addressing health disparities from the start of his college career. His work on this project aligns with his interests in becoming a physician and making a difference in the world."

Piratla is a student in the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences. His project, Mission Uplink, builds low-cost internet infrastructure for schools in Malawi where internet would otherwise be prohibitively expensive. By intelligently compressing and storing websites on a local network the first time any student visits them, Mission Uplink is able to significantly improve and expand internet usage in schools. Last year, Mission Uplink entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Malawi Government to deploy the initiative in schools across the country and has plans to launch its first full-system pilot test at the Parachute Community Day School in Salima, Malawi, giving 500+ students consistent access to the internet.

Roberts is a student in Undergraduate Studies. Her project, Dare to Dream (DTD), is a nonprofit organization that empowers marginalized communities to chase their dreams unapologetically through entrepreneurship. Their team of 25 interdisciplinary students has developed an eight-week entrepreneurial development curriculum; secured a contract with the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission, where youth with families who receive housing support engaged in a three-week program to kick off their knowledge of entrepreneurship and dream chasing; and is conducting a full academic year contract with the University of Maryland’s Dingman Center of Entrepreneurship and Junior Achievement to teach their first-ever cohorts of high school students in Prince George’s County how to launch their own LLCs, obtain capital and investors, and liquidate their businesses. 

"Takiyah is a force," said STS Program Director David Tomblin. "From my first interactions with Takiyah, I noticed that she was itching to make a difference. In STEAM Rising, a course that explored the fusion of art and technology to empower people and communities, Takiyah created a photo album of her diversity and inclusion work that is truly impressive. Her Dare to Dream organization is just the tip of the iceberg. She is tirelessly making a difference in organizations all across campus such as Startup Shell and the Sandbox."

This year’s semi-finals will be taking place on Friday, March 8, at the Do Good Accelerator, with finalist teams announced on April 1. Social impact and innovation experts from across University of Maryland’s campus make up the semi-finals judge panel, including: Lottie Byram (Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship), Erica Estrada-Liou (Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship), Nima Farschi (Center for Social Value Creation), Leslie Jefferson (School of Public Policy), Erin McClure (School of Public Health), Sammy Popat (Office of Innovation and Economic Development), Kamrie Risku (Leadership & Community Service-Learning) and Antoyna de Silva (Office of Community Engagement).

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