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CGI U Commitment Makers 2016

Meet UC San Diego’s CGI U 2016 Cohort.

This year, UC San Diego will have 42 students participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University, or CGI U, a meeting where students, university representatives, topic experts, and celebrities come together to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. As part of the initiative, students develop Commitments to Action—new, specific and measurable initiatives that address global challenges. UC San Diego’s students will be presenting 18 commitments which address several pressing issues.

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Commitment #1: A novel rapid HIV test for U.S./Mexico border community

A novel rapid HIV test for U.S./Mexico border community

A novel, rapid HIV test capable of handling whole (fingerstick) blood is needed to meet the needs of high-risk, indigent populations along the U.S./Mexico border. Such a test would permit truly mobile testing and would deliver critical health information to vulnerable and stigmatized persons who are unlikely to return to traditional healthcare sites for results. A test that eliminates venipuncture and the associated need for a trained phlebotomist would also represent cost savings and increased deployability in the community. Our miniaturizable testing methodology for HIV protease I, a necessary enzyme for viral replication, represents a novel solution.

Participants:

Elaine Skowonski

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Elaine Skowronski is a Ph.D. student in NanoEngineering at UC San Diego. She designs assays with the potential for translation as point-of-care diagnostics. Elaine couples charge-changing fluorescent peptide substrates with gel electrophoresis to rapidly measure disease-related enzyme activity in whole blood. She also utilizes electrokinetic techniques to capture protein and nucleic acid biomarkers for disease diagnostics. She validates the clinical utility of her assays by collaborating with researchers at multiple institutions. In the laboratory, Elaine trains and mentors undergraduate and graduate students, two of whom have completed their M.S. in Bioengineering. Outside of the laboratory, Elaine has won the 2016 Siebel Scholars award for leadership in bioengineering and has competed in the NSF Innovation Corps as the entrepreneurial lead of a team exploring the commercialization of diagnostic assays. Elaine is a recipient of the Cancer Researchers in Nanotechnology Fellowship and the San Diego Fellowship.

Commitment #2: Amelicate: Healthcare for Homeless

Amelicate: Healthcare for Homeless

Amelicate is a grassroots and grasstops organizing campaign that strives to create mental health resource fairs for underprivileged communities facing substantial health disparities and inequities. The fair provides existing health resource information to residents who have limited access to resources and live in poor socio-economic circumstances (e.g. poverty, lack of education attainment, language barriers). Our goal is healthcare for the homeless.

Furthermore, Amelicate partners with local organizations who understand the the demographic trends of these communities. These strategic partnerships will bring a variety of diverse resources to the fair in order to meet the individualized needs of populations.

Participants:

Hillary Liang

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As a low-income, first-generation student, Hillary developed a passion for voicing the needs of underrepresented minorities. In 2010, as Vice Chair of the San Francisco citywide Youth Commission, she helped draft a resolution for the city’s Life-Line Pass, enabling underprivileged youth access to public transportation. Her resolution enabled free public transportation for 40,000 youth and a 13 million dollar transportation fund.  In her first year at UCSD, she was appointed student-wide Transfer Senator, Campaign coordinator against tuition hikes, and Phi Alpha Delta Law member. She later interned in Washington DC to help reconstruct national Asian American advocacy programs. Her experience in government and nonprofit includes working at the Golden Gate Bridge District Secretary's office, SF Department for Children Youth and Families, Bay Area Asian Legal Office, Miss Asian Global Foundation, Americorps, and helping coordinate one of San Francisco Mayoy’s Office of Housing’s biggest inclusionary housing projects for low-income families.

Commitment #3: Cameroon Empowerment Program

Cameroon Empowerment Program

The Cameroon Empowerment Program committing to collaboratively and demonstratively construct the first solar pump water filtration system in Nkambe, Cameroon resulting in increased water accessibility and prototype replicability. By facilitating workshops on solar pumps and other low-cost sustainable technology and ideas, we will empower the youth of the area to gain technical skills and apply those skills to the workforce. Through collaborating with our community partners in the Ashoka Fellowship and the Peace Corps, we aim to increase the amount of integrative solar pump systems in Nkambe by at least 20 in the next few years.

Participants:

Sam Bunarjo

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Sam Bunarjo is a 3rd year Environmental Engineering undergrad student at UC San Diego. He is the water filtration lead in the Cameroon Empowerment Program, a student project that aims to create a sustainable water retrieval system in the community of Nkambe, Cameroon, Africa that will provide accessible clean drinking water to a local community and school. He is also a lead project management intern at the sustainability office at UCSD, and is currently working on Green Labs, a certification program that aims to reduce the footprint of research labs on campus. Outside of sustainability work, Sam is the Vice President of Finance for his engineering organization at school, and is also an active member of Alpha Phi Omega, a professional community service fraternity.

Kimberly Nguyen

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As an aspiring chemical engineer, Kimberly hopes to utilize her knowledge and skills towards sustainable efforts to help counter against the effects of climate change. Her passion for sustainability could be seen through her daily actions and the various affiliations and involvements she has on campus. Since her first year, she's been highly involved with a student organization, Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), where she has been a project member on the Cameroon Empowerment Program and a leader, specifically the VP of Project Management. She helps oversees and guide the various sustainable-focused projects. Alongside that, she also participates in research on energy storage devices to help explore and improve alternatives for widespread energy storage technlogies.

Emily Phan

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Emily has been a part of Engineers for a Sustainable World for 2 years and currently, she is the project leader for the Cameroon Empowerment Program, an international project aimed toward gaining access to clean groundwater sources in various rural areas of Cameroon and teaching local agriculture students good water resource management. She was also previously a study abroad ambassador for the Programs Abroad Office at UCSD following her summer at Munich University of Applied Sciences and a former executive board member of Theta Tau, a co-ed professional engineering fraternity. Currently, Emily is researching under professor Jennifer Burney on black carbon and particulate emissions of cook stoves used in developing countries. In her free time, she participates in the Muir Art Club and the Triton 3D Printing Club on campus.

Commitment #4: Clean Water and Solar for Orphanage in Mexico

Clean Water and Solar for Orphanage in Mexico

In an effort to optimize the limited resources at the Los Angelitos Orphanage,  the team is working to reduce the usage of electricity and propane-dependent utilities. This in turn will reduce the operating cost of the orphanage, and increase the number of children they can help. Additionally, the team is working to provide essential aid and necessities for the children and youth living in extreme areas of poverty of Baja, Mexico by creating an educational program to teach the children about the water heater and how they can make similar efforts around their community.

Participants:

Megan Ong

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Megan Ong is currently an Environmental Engineering major at University of California, San Diego. Beyond the classroom, she has taken advantage of the multiple organizations and projects around campus. So far she has taken campus leadership roles as an Orientation Leader and as a leader in Warren College Student Council. She is also currently serving as the Vice President of Alumnae Relations for her sorority, a position that has taught her time management skills as she plans large scale events and balances a budget of $12,000. However, most rewarding of all has been her involvement in the Global Teams in Engineering Services (TIES) Baja project. On November 1st, as a member of this team, she collaborated with others to produce and implement a solar powered water pump for an orphanage in Baja Mexico and will continue to work to create a solar powered water heating system for the orphanage.

Diana Wu Wong

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Diana is a fourth year Environmental Engineering student. She first joined Global Teams in Engineering Service Program at UCSD as a member of the Fiji Kindergarten Project and helped design a sustainable kindergarten to promote primary education in a remote village in Fiji. Today, she is the Project Adviser for the Solar Water Heater team that is projected to implement in Mexico. Diana has also had experience working of the Engineers Without Borders Rwanda Project designing a Water Catchment System to alleviate water stress at a 3,000 people village. Outside of TIES, Diana works with the Undergraduate Student Advisory Committee for the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department to help improve MAE students' quality of education and address their concerns to the MAE faculty. She is also heavily involved in her sorority Sigma Kappa and her engineering networking organization Academic Connection of Engineers as their Project Advisor.

Commitment #5: Closed loop ecosystem for the community

Closed loop ecosystem for the community

This initiative establishes an off-grid food production and waste prevention system through a sustainable, closed-loop, and scalable controlled greenhouse completely independent of non-natural resources. This greenhouse guarantees food supply for any community, regardless of resources or weather by utilizing innovative, renewable energy techniques such as hydroponic growing and atmospheric water generators, both of which are net zero in water and carbon. Furthermore, this greenhouse design has the capacity to process food waste by converting it into organic fertilizer for soil or hydroponic crops, while capturing greenhouse gasses produced therefore addressing both the issues of food waste and climate change. Click here to view committment website.

Participants:

Gabriella Bastos

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Growing up in both Minnesota and Sao Paulo, Brazil, I've witnessed extreme disparities between the regions across fields such as food security and environmental degradation. My passion towards sustainable development and poverty alleviation has strengthened during these past three years as an undergrad. I’ve held an internship at the Inter-American Development Bank working in the department of the Opportunities for the Majority, worked for Work Movement in Hong Kong (a crowdsourcing startup seeking ideas for poverty alleviation, education equality, tech innovations, etc.), and worked for Beyond Green Partners (a business that delivers organic, scratch-cooked foods to schools). At my university, I’ve interned at the Student Sustainability Collective and am currently a member of the Roger’s Community Garden where the commitment of this application will take place. Email Gabriella

John Bogich

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John has squeezed from his college experience everything it had to offer. In addition to maintaining high grades in engineering and science classes, he has worked with UCSD Outback Adventures for 4 four years as a Lead Guide for outdoor expeditions. He also works in the Rental Shop, the Surf Shop and teaches Recreation Surf Classes. He is an alumni of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, while active he held positions as Scholarship Chair and University Relations and received the national W. Emil Foreman Award for excellence in community service. He is coordinator on the Box Art Project, a program that beautifies power boxes on campus. He has volunteered in the Roger's Community Garden for two years as Garden Steward, helping plant, harvest, and coordinate volunteers. He is currently interning as a Research Fellow with Equinox Center, a think-tank organization promoting a healthy environment, strong economy, and civic engagement.

Ismael Ramirez

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Ismael Ramirez is an undergrad at UCSD and has participated in leadership and sustainability organizations to further his college's goal of engaging students in research and helping to solve the food, energy and water trilemma in food production. He is part of Rogers Community Garden that is integrating technologies from different fields of chemistry, engineering and computer science into the agricultural systems set up at the garden. They work to create a unique student resource/space for innovation, research and environmental stewardship at UCSD that couples agriculture and new technologies. He is passionate about food coming from the Imperial Valley, an agricultural community in Southern California, and hopes to bring these ideas back home to engage students on the high school and community college level in solving real world problems and helping the global and local community.

Commitment #6: Early Diagnostic Tool for Malaria Based on Heated Magnetic

Early Diagnostic Tool for Malaria Based on Heated Magnetic

Current field diagnosis for malaria is a time consuming process and unable to detect early infections. The paramagnetic properties of hemozoin (Hz), the disposal product formed from the digestion of hemoglobin (Hb) in the erythrocytes by the malaria parasite, are different from those of the heme group in uninfected RBCs. Based on these principles, a diagnostic device for early detection of the malaria parasite will be developed and implemented in Maputo, Mozambique, giving patients access to treatments before further progression of the parasite.

Participants:

Vivek Jani

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Vivek Jani is currently an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego as a Bioengineering major. As a student researcher at the Functional Cardiovascular Engineering Laboratory, Jani works to apply engineering principles to various fields of cardiovascular study including microcirculation, microhemodynamics, and systemic cardiovascular and microvascular function in health and disease. As a result, his work has lead to research systemic cardiovascular diseases, like malaria, that affect people in low resource settings. However, he has recently done more work to expanding his research into literal application via an organization Engineering World Health (EWH). In EWH, he works in creating propriety algorithms for a low cost Electrocardiogram (ECG) in the attempt to diagnose cardiovascular anomalies in patients with poor cardiovascular health in low resource settings. He hopes to continue to work in engineering affordable solutions to medical problems to help people in low resource settings.

Alexander Williams

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Alexander Williams is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of California, San Diego studying bioengineering. Williams started research in the Functional Cardiovascular Engineering lab in 2013, where he applies engineering principles to study the microcirculation, microhemodynamics, and cardiac function control gas transport. As many diseases alter these parameters, his research has included studies in systemic cardiovascular diseases such as malaria, a disease that is endemic in low resource settings. Williams is also very interested in educating young students in STEM fields. He volunteers with the Bioengineering Graduate Society as a teacher at a local elementary school as a science teacher, and has created and presented educational material for the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering. He hopes to continue these outreach efforts as well as help develop inexpensive solutions to global medical problems.

Commitment #7: Easily Accessible Clean Water for Siruvani

Easily Accessible Clean Water for Siruvani

The project under CORDUSA (Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development) aims to facilitate integrated and sustainable solutions to help a rural community within India progress and empower themselves. The specific goal of this project is to provide easily accessible drinking water to a rural community in Siruvani, Tamil Nadu. This will be achieved in two ways; an initial number of water filtration systems will be set up and the community will be taught how to create and maintain these systems in a sustainable way themselves.

Participants:

Ashwin Kumar Kannan

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Ashwin Kumar Kannan is a fourth year electrical engineering student at UCSD. He is passionate about helping people who are less fortunate than him by using his knowledge in water sanitation. He is particularly interested in creating renewable energy from alternative sources such as compostable trash and solar energy. He is involved in Engineers Without Borders UCSD,  where he has previously done projects in Rwanda and in the United States helping people get access to clean water and improve their quality of life. He is interested in CORD because he feels it has the same goals of helping people. Ashwin joined CORD because he was moved by their mission and is passionate about providing a sustainable solution to clean water for those who need it resulting in empowering the community as a whole.

Lennart Langouche

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Lennart, an international student from Belgium, is pursuing his PhD degree in NanoEngineering at UCSD. His work focuses on designing drug delivery vehicles for improved delivery of cancer drugs. The long term goals of his work are more effective treatments for several different cancers and to improve patient's lives by diminishing harmful side effects of treatments. He has always been passionate about discovering different cultures and using engineering approaches to improve people's lives. CORD USA facilitates integrated and sustainable programs in local communities in the Indian subcontinent through processes of self-empowerment and enrichment. Inspired by this mission Lennart joined their ranks this fall. He believes this project is an ideal opportunity to combine his passions; discovering a different culture and trying to improve people's lives by using engineering approaches.

Tanvi Sheth

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Tanvi Sheth is a third year chemical engineering student at the University of California San Diego. Tanvi has worked alongside CORDUSA (Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development) for the past five years and was primarily involved in rural education in India. She is also a project team test engineer for UCSD's student chapter of Engineering World Health. The project aims to develop cost-effective devices for conducting HIV viral load tests in developing nations. Additionally, Tanvi is a member of the school's Engineers for a Sustainable World organization; she is involved in an initiative aims to recycle the campus dining's milk jugs into 3D printing filament. Ultimately, Tanvi's interest lies in advocating and ensuring the fair use and equal distribution of the world's resources. Her long-term goal is to receive a graduate degree and then employ her learned engineering skills to design socially-conscious solutions to assist low-resource settings.

Commitment #8: Siku Njema Kesho - Economic Empowerment Through Water in Kenya

Siku Njema Kesho - Economic Empowerment Through Water in Kenya

Focused on the provision of water tanks filled by rain water harvesting, this project is a commitment that was collectively agreed on by Celia Breuer and the Mzee Wanyama community in Nakuru, Kenya. As most of the community members live at the poverty line and cannot afford school fees for their children, the project seeks to alleviate poverty, promote sanitation in the area and empower women economically while also expecting their active participation. The project is a commitment to actively involving a local community in their own community development.

Participants:

Celia Breuer

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A Global Health major with a minor in African Studies, Celia Breuer is a second-year international student from Germany at UC San Diego. At UCSD, she serves as a board member for Students For Global Health managing publicity. She further works at Middle of Muir and Muir Residential Life. In June 2014, Celia founded Siku Njema Kesho, a community-based organization located in Kenya. As the director, Celia works on administration, publicity and finances as well as fundraising. As the only representative of the organization outside the community, Celia is responsible for networking and maintaining communication between the community, the local executive committee of the organization and sponsors as well as the Kenyan government. To improve communication, she has been taking self-study Swahili classes. Email Celia 

Commitment #9: Lotus: A River Filtration Project

Lotus: A River Filtration Project

Lotus is a sustainable engineering design for polluted river systems. The ultimate goal of the project is to restore access to a clean water source by filtering out chemical and solid waste in rivers. To achieve this, Lotus will use a combination of aerofoil shaped pillars and natural bio-filters: the aerofoil shaped pillars will passively interact with the flow of the river to direct the solid waste to a collection area, while the natural bio-filters will filter out the chemical waste in the river. Click here for committment website.

Participants:

Samuel Gutierrez

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Samuel Gutierrez is a fifth year undergraduate environmental engineering major at UC San Diego. Samuel started his career at UC San Diego studying computer engineering. During his second year, he attended a community service event that his fraternity hosted that consisted of cleaning the San Diego River Valley. After several clean ups he realized how polluted the San Diego rivers were and begun to research the environmental issues in his local Spring Valley community. Half way through his second year Samuel decided to switch careers to environmental engineering in order pursue a career addressing environmental issues. Cleaning the local rivers sparked his interest in helping the environment. Now he is part of the Lotus project and is working on a solution for polluted rivers. After graduation Samuel hopes to continue his work with Lotus and similar solutions in his local community in order to promote a healthier environment. Email Samuel

Winnie Kuang

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Winnie Kuang is a second year undergraduate Mechanical Engineering major in the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Through her past involvement in park conservation efforts with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the San Bruno Mountains Watch, she has developed an interest to address environmental concerns through sustainable design. She is involved Engineers for a Sustainable World and Lotus to kindle her drive to solve environmental issues. As a team member of Lotus, she aspires to gain a better understanding of sustainability research while contributing to Lotus' mission. Email Winnie

Yu Zhang

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As a fifth year environmental engineering student at UC San Diego, Yu Zhang is an environmental conservation and sustainability enthusiast. Eager to apply her engineering knowledge to real world issues, Yu participated in and lead various projects in sustainability. During her first year, she joined the student organization CALPIRG in its efforts to ban plastic bags in San Diego. Later on, she became the mechanical team leader for a humanitarian engineering project called One Village Philippines. In the span of six months, she led a group of students in designing, prototyping and deploying a solar street lamp for an NGO in the Philippines. She also joined a team in designing a sustainable garden for an orphanage in Mexico, incorporating drip irrigation and composting. In her senior year, Yu joined Engineers for a Sustainable World, and has since devoted her time to Lotus’s mission to make an impact in water quality. Email Yu 

Commitment #10: Low-Cost Microfluidic Diagnostic Platform in Tijuana, Mexico

Low-Cost Microfluidic Diagnostic Platform in Tijuana, Mexico

Our partners at the Health Frontiers Clinic (HFiT) in Tijuana, Mexico have identified a pressing need for improved disease detection. Currently, clinics in this region operate on limited budgets and lack the resources to run essential diagnostic tests. To address this need, our team has committed to designing a scalable, customizable, and easy-to-use microfluidic chip platform, which would enhance the clinic’s diagnostic testing capabilities and drastically improve healthcare for this low-resource community. Our commitment’s success will be measured on its financial feasibility, ease of production and operation, design quality and performance, and social impact on the people of Tijuana.

Participants:

Yajur Maker

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Since his first year in college, Yajur has helped to develop affordable and robust designs for several low cost medical devices through the Engineering World Health (EWH) organization. As Co-President of EWH this year, he hopes to spread his knowledge to newcomers on the EWH team, while also expanding the breadth of EWH’s impact on its target communities. He is currently working on plans for the distribution, manufacturing, and implementation of some of EWH’s devices in low resource settings in Tijuana and Mozambique. Additionally, as the CGI U Campus Representative, he works to create an atmosphere of social innovation and change across the entire UC San Diego Campus. His long-term goals are two fold. He not only hopes to continue to apply his bioengineering knowledge to innovate healthcare for low resource applications, but also hopes to foster a culture of commitments to action across the UC San Diego Campus.

Haley Sherburne

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Haley strives to translate her passion for science into innovative medical technologies. She has considerable experience with medical research and product development, having completed a yearlong internship at the Chemical Physics and Spectroscopy Laboratory of Concordia University in Irvine, worked as laboratory technician at the biomedical firm Prodo Laboratories, and now furthering clinical studies at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. Utilizing the skills and knowledge gained from these experiences, Haley collaborates with the Engineering World Health Microfluidics Team, committed to creating durable, low-cost, and easy-to-use diagnostics for low-resource communities. By researching new technological designs and applications, she works to build medical devices that will increase access to reliable healthcare, and thus radically improve the health of impoverished communities.

Julie Yip

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Julie's concern for the medical, psychological and social well-being of individuals, intertwined with her fascination with the process from idea to product, led her to bioengineering. Given her passion for people, she ensures the Engineering World Health Microfluidics Project Team is considerate of how the diagnostic tools they are developing will affect the target population, including expenses and implementation. For the project team, Julie also brings forth her knowledge in laboratory animal care and trial-based experimentation to create efficient, concise methods with minimal risk for technicians and patients. In addition, as an aspiring science journalist, Julie applies her experience as a Jacobs School of Engineering Communications Intern and UCSD Guardian Editorial Assistant to facilitate clear communication of the technology behind the microfluidic chips such that users who are less scientifically literate can comprehend.

Commitment #11: Minding the Community: Local Mental Health Responders

Minding the Community: Local Mental Health Responders

The project's goal is to promote awareness of mental illnesses in the Siruvani region, specifically within the issues of suicide, depression, domestic violence, and substance abuse of alcohol and betel nuts, as well as helping the community begin to build some amount of a safety net for individuals dealing with these issues. This group plans to engage the community through coalescing a local volunteer group and teaching them to identify signs of mental illness, educate the sufferers and their loved ones about what they are going through, and inform them of what avenues they may take to find treatment. Click here for committment website.

Participants:

Pooja Ekbote

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Pooja Ekbote is a fourth year student and UC San Diego, majoring in Cognitive Science with a minor in Computer Science. She is a board member of CORD UCSD and has been a member of the organization for three years. So far she has traveled on a trip to Siruvani once in September 2015, where she, with the suggestion and help of Dr. Meera Krishna, branch manager at CORD Siruvani, began giving presentations to the women's empowerment groups on anger management, depression, and suicide. Coming back to the States, she wanted to address the problem of substance abuse, domestic violence, and disenfranchisement that lay under these issues from a psychological perspective, and so, with CORD members Shushoma Sravostree and Priyanka Dasgupta, came up with a project that would engage the community in addressing issues of mental health, violence, and addiction.

Shushoma Sravostee

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Shushoma Sravostee is a first-year at UC San Diego, majoring in environmental engineering. She is also planning to minor in international studies with a focus on political science. It is her first year in CORD USA. She is a member of two other campus organizations, Project RISHI (Rural India Social and Health Improvement) and Engineers for a Sustainable World. She comes from a lineage of child brides and so she has always had an interest in women’s rights and promoting women’s health. Email Shushoma

Commitment #12: Open Viral Load Test

Open Viral Load Test

The Open Viral Load project aims to develop an affordable, open source viral load test for HIV that can be easily modified to test other viruses.  The team, part of the Global TIES organization, is working with both the UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, and the team will perform preliminary testing in Tijuana, Mexico, followed by secondary testing in Mozambique. This project will allow low resource communities to receive the regular testing they need to know the status of their viral disease, which in turn will help doctors issue proper treatment.

Participants:

Hayley Chong

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Hayley Chong is a third-year bioengineering student at the University of California, San Diego. She is the team lead of the Global TIES Open Viral Load project team, and has been on the team for one year. In the summer of 2015, Hayley was an intern at the Blood Systems Research Institute in San Francisco, where her research focus was examining the mechanism by which HIV infects T cells. She has a strong interest in virology, and hopes to use her bioengineering degree to make treatment for viral diseases more effective and accessible.  Hayley has been an active varsity member of the UCSD Sailing Team throughout her time in college, and holds the position of Alumni Liaison, in which she maintains positive relationships with the team alumni.  She is also the student manager at Roger’s Market at UCSD.

Kirk Hutchison

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Kirk Hutchison is a student at the University of California, San Diego. While his major is in Biology, Kirk is passionate about engineering, business, language, and international affairs. Kirk has been working with the Global TIES World Health Team for one year, and he currently serves as the Project Advisor as an employee of the Global TIES program. He also volunteers as an undergraduate research assistant in the Cleland ecology lab, and he is a member of the men's Ultimate Frisbee team. Kirk loves to cook, travel, read, and meet exciting people. He speaks English and Spanish and studies Russian and Mandarin. Email Kirk

Wesly Wong

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Wesly is currently a 4th year student at UCSD, in pursuit of a degree in Bioengineering with a minor in business. He has been a part of the Open Viral Load Global Ties Project since April of 2015, working on general project goals and leading the Thermocycler and Hardware divisions of the group as subteam lead. His contributions to the project have been through general project management and knowledge of engineering programs and principles, such as computer-aided design, C++ based control code in the arduino environment, and design for manufacturability. This falls in line with his professional aspirations, which involve working on life-changing medical devices/technologies. His interests include photography, technology, and martial arts, and he is also a current board member of the UCSD Wushu Club.

Commitment #13: Project Light on the Door

Project Light on the Door

This group will create an interactive website to facilitate communication and connection amongst U.S. citizens, refugees and resources. Resources included will facilitate transitional housing, access to education and healthcare, refugee and immigration services, and peer mentorship. An interactive map will serve as a double-sided tool. For refugees, links to resources in the area and registered Light on the Door houses will be available by region. U.S. citizens will gain knowledge and understanding of the current refugee crises through personal and family narratives linked to differing regions and unbiased facts on political unrest in these areas. Click here for committment website.

Participants:

Emma Jackson

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Emma Jackson is a senior at UCSD studying Global Health and Bioanthropology. She is a student representative for her major and a founding member of Students for Global Health. She interns at the Center on Gender Equity and Health, where she participates in research on girl child marriage, sex/labor trafficking, adolescent partners and sexual violence, and child/maternal health. She plays a key role in organizing the Quarterly Conversations in Global Health forums, and ran a social media campaign of her own design for International Day of the Girl Child 2015. In her third year of college, Emma travelled to Uttar Pradesh and Dharamsala, India as part of a delegation to speak to the Dalai Lama about climate change and compassion towards the environment. She also travelled to Santiago, Chile to study health inequality, intercultural health centers, and narratives of political violence and health.

Serena Dunham

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Serena Dunham is a double major in global health and public health. Her college career started in community college with a plan to be a nurse due to her ambition to help people. She became a COPE Clinical Care Extender at a not-for-profit hospital in Oxnard, California. While there, she witnessed the health disparities faced by the low income community served by the hospital. She then applied to UCSD for public and global health. Now at UCSD, she has traveled to Jordan to work with refugees, interns at Center for Gender Equity and Health working in child marriage research, and has collaborated to start the organization: Students for Global Heath. She is now the organization's first and current president.  She is also involved in the school's Public Health program's advanced practicum where she will work with dementia caregivers and their mental health.

Jenny Zhan

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Jenny is a third year Molecular Biology major with a Psychology minor at UCSD. She interned at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and assisted in behavioral neuroscience research. She is on the officer board for Students for Integrative Medicine, planning and coordinating event logistics while advocating for a change in healthcare and people's perspectives of it. She became involved in Students for Global Health to broaden her scope of knowledge about health and its surrounding social issues. Even with her strong science background and interest, Jenny enjoys learning and thinking about a variety of other topics and questions. Email Jenny

Commitment #14: The Green Cell Project

The Green Cell Project

The Green Cell Project’s goal is to build a hydrogen fuel cell system that produces electricity by utilizing hydrogen from local resources. The fuel cell and hydrogen tank will be made out of materials that are greener than currently used materials. Even recycled materials might be employed. The hydrogen will come from the hydrolysis of water or from landfills. The system will have the potential to form part of a macrogrid and itself be available as a microgrid. At UC San Diego, the system could be used to power outdoor events or be connected to the university's microgrid.

Participants:

Tatiana Freiin von Rheinbaben

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Tatiana Freiin von Rheinbaben is a 4th year molecular biology student at UC San Diego.  She is half German and half Mexican and has lived in various countries, including a study abroad semester in Hong Kong in 2015. Calling herself an environmentalist, Tatiana is involved in two projects with the organization Engineers for a Sustainable World at UCSD. The first project, Lotus, focuses on developing a water filtration system for rivers. In addition, The Green Cell Project, a project Tatiana leads, is meant to design and built a hydrogen fuel cell that is made of recycled and environmental-friendly materials and that further utilizes hydrogen from renewable, clean sources, such as water and landfills. Additionally, Tatiana recently founded an animal rights organization and a campus sustainability organization at UCSD. As far as leadership is concerned, Tatiana has also been an orientation leader for incoming freshmen twice so far. Email Tatiana

Ryan Toh

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Ryan Toh is an undergraduate bioengineering senior at UCSD. He came from High Tech High School, in which he gained his Eagle Scout rank, worked at the Salk Institute, and pursued algae biofuel and bioplastics research with UCSD's CAB and Biofuels Action/Awareness Network and constructed photobioreactors at home. Next was solar energy research at college, working on low cost concentrated photovoltaics and battery technologies. He also worked at Moore's Cancer center and became an active member of SEDS, a student organization in which he did orbital mechanics simulations for a lunar cubesat. Now working at T2Energy, he recently joined ESW to find more members passionate about renewable energy. He is pursuing three patents for cheap and renewable energy, two for energy generation and storage and one for vaccine storage in poor regions.

Keshav C

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Keshav is a vibrant, bright and innovative student. He is always attempting to make a difference to his community with his enterprising spirit.  He has been actively involved with Engineering organizations over the past three years.  Having joined Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) as a first year student, he has actively participated in projects over the years and now holds a board position at ESW. He has been involved with and overseen many projects. The green cell project was the brainchild of his vision , as he believes that hydrogen fuel cells have the potential to be game changers in the renewable or green energy industry.

Commitment #15: UCSD Solar Chill

UCSD Solar Chill

The Solar Chill team is committed to promote sustainability and campus unity by constructing the first student engineering project approved to be on the UC San Diego campus. The Solar Chill project will create a unique safe haven for UC San Diego students, faculty, staff, and its community members to de-stress and recharge their electronic devices. Solar Chill is sustainable in that it is completely off-grid, giving students extra energy for their devices while requiring little to no maintenance. Click for comittment website.

Participants:

Josh Hill

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Josh Hill enjoys being able to apply what he has learned through classes to a concrete project and gain some practical experience in the engineering world. Working with professionals in the field - engineers, contractors, project managers, etc. - is a great opportunity for exposure to all of the elements that go into actually implementing a project. Outside of Solar Chill, Hill's engineering experience is derived mainly from his classes so far UCSD under the MAE department, with some construction experience working with his father who is a contractor. At UCSD, Hill is also an active member of Warren College's student body, serving on the Provost's Student Advisory Council and as an executive member on Warren's Residential Hall Council. Hill also recently joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends either doing outdoor activities, such as snowboarding or hiking, or having a night in playing videogames or just messing around. He enjoys playing almost any sport and wants to improve at playing the guitar.

Alexander Han

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Alex became an engineer primarily inspired by the need to address current environmental concerns. He has a passion for sustainability, which led him to join Engineers for a Sustainable World, and eventually, the Solar Chill Project. One aspect that he enjoys the most about the project is knowing that the Solar Chill team has a complete say as to how they want to design the structure, and then can see it out to its completion. The project allows for students to apply their knowledge that they have learned in school into real-world environments. Another engineering project Alex is involved in is the Solar Drive Project, which plans to build a solar powered race car to potentially compete at the American Solar Challenge. Outside of engineering involvement, he is part of Tritons for Bernie, Venture Crew, and Mind Body Nutrition. In his free time, Alex likes to play tennis, swim, produce music, and go on outdoor adventures.

Victoria Santos

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As one of the Solar Chill leads, Victoria has appreciated the fact that she can apply the skills and knowledge she has acquired from her education into real world applications. She enjoys bettering her communication and networking skills with fellow team members, UCSD staff, faculty, and executive members. Her summer internship at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority enriched her ability to multi-task in several projects that ranged from redesigning a regulated division-wide bus wash cycle to combating food deserts along the rail lines, to processing a permeable pavement pilot project to tracking underground storage water tank submittal reports. Working on multiple projects gave her the passion to oversee a project in all aspects, in terms of engineering, planning, and its social economic effects. Victoria can be seen involved in other campus extracurricular activities, such as Kyrie, a Catholic Fellowship; Kaibigang Pilipin@, Pilipin@-American organization; and Sixth College Festivals Committee. Her hobbies consist of spending time with her family and friends, as well as playing sports such as volleyball, softball, snowboarding, and pool. Email Victoria

Commitment #16: UCSD Solar Light

UCSD Solar Light

UCSD Solar Light is a commitment to provide solar light fixtures to communities who can benefit from their presence. These light fixtures are stand alone, meaning they will not use any energy from the grid and thus will persist during power outages. UCSD Solar Light will distribute these energy saving light fixtures to low income communities who benefit greatly, yet cannot afford such solar street lighting.

Participants:

Cesar Magana

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Cesar Magana is a fourth year undergraduate student at UC- San Diego. Cesar has always been passionate about renewable energy and the technology used to make sustainable energy. This passion fueled Cesar to be the first in his family to attend university and for him to pursue a rigorous degree in Electrical Engineering. As a freshman, Cesar immediately joined UCSD’s Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) organization. Under ESW, Cesar has worked on sustainability projects regarding energy. He first participated on ESW’s Battery Bank team, which worked on transforming old electric car batteries into energy storage devices. Now Cesar is leading the ESW Solar Light team as means of providing solar energy to communities. Not forgetting his heritage, Cesar is also a member of Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Through SHPE, Cesar does outreach at San Diego schools in low income communities to inspire students to pursue higher education.

Commitment #17: Uniting Mother and Child: A Battle Against PPH

Uniting Mother and Child: A Battle Against PPH

Saving Sara has developed a medical device that improves the standard of care device used to stabilize bleeding women who give birth outside institutional settings. This condition, postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), can kill a woman from excess blood loss after childbirth unless she is immediately stabilized. By improving the efficacy of the standard of care, our device ensures that fewer women die en route to a clinic, where they can receive further treatment. Click here for committment website.

Participants:

Sandeep Prabhu

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Sandeep Prabhu is a medical student at UC San Diego and the co-founder and Chief Communications Officer at Saving Sara. He also is a co-founder at Incubate and is the Medical Student Director at the San Diego County Medical Society. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in bioengineering and from UCLA with a M.S. in bioengineering, completed an NIH-funded fellowship on biomedical needs-finding at UC Berkeley and performed research at University of Cincinnati, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and UC Berkeley. He routinely pitches Saving Sara at competitions all over California. At UC San Diego, he heads the planning committee for a conference that brings together health professions students all across California to raise awareness about healthcare inequities and different techniques to overcome them. Sandeep’s long-term goal is to work at the intersection of clinical care, engineering innovation and social entrepreneurship. Email Sandeep

Commitment #18: VIRA: A low-cost HIV viral load quantification system

VIRA: A low-cost HIV viral load quantification system

To address the HIV threat in Tijuana, Mexico, clinics must implement regular viral load testing as a means of both diagnosing patients and monitoring for drug resistance. VIRA is an innovative system for viral load testing that significantly decreases the time, material costs, and expertise required to meet this need. VIRA combines a low-cost centrifuge, automated RNA extraction device, paper-based genetic circuit, and smartphone-based photometric quantification system to yield a fast, easy, and inexpensive point-of-care viral load test which may be implemented in Tijuana and readily adapted to other low-resource settings. Click here for committment website.

Participants:

Neel Parekh

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Neel Parekh is a fourth year bioengineering student at UCSD. He brings to the team a host of leadership in the medical technology field, from independent inventions and projects to internships at leading medical device companies. His ventures in low-resource HIV technology began four years ago through Engineering World Health, of which he now proudly serves as President. Bringing onboard technical engineering expertise, along with an intimate understanding of the management of the full medical device lifecycle and the HIV virus, will be of maximal importance in ushering the project towards completion. His future goals include graduate studies in medical device engineering and business administration.

Orysya Stus

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I am in my final year of undergraduate studies in Bioengineering: Biotechnology. As a member of EWH since my second year, I have been involved on the centrifuge team, as a VP Internal, and, currently, as a team lead in devising a functional genetic circuit for HIV RNA detection. Using my knowledge of molecular biology and laboratory experience, I contribute to designing, testing, and validating the genetic circuit. My future goals focus on graduate studies either in synthetic biology or computational biology. Email Orysya

Christopher Yin

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As the Vice President of Project Teams in Engineering World Health, Christopher works to manage several interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate engineers innovating solutions to meet the diagnostic needs of low resource settings. He monitors progress, coordinates teams, provides technical support, identifies sources of funding, and applies for grants and conferences. Christopher also volunteers as an undergraduate assistant in a biomaterials research laboratory. He utilizes both his broad bioengineering background and wet lab experience to contribute to the design and testing of the genetic circuit. In addition, he continues to leverage his programming knowledge to support the automated RNA extraction device. In the future Christopher intends to pursue an MD-PhD because he wants to ensure his research has a direct clinical application.

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