Makeshift Innovation and Engineering in the Third World

Tell us about your “Makeshift Innovation and Engineering in the Third World” course –what is it about and why do you feel passionate to offer it?

Makeshift Innovation and Engineering in the Third World is a course I came up with the uses the lens of international development to explain basic science and engineering principles through innovative solutions to global challenges. Students in the course come up with their own innovative solution to solve a global need.

What key concepts and skills do you want students to come away with?

The course has different goals for different types of students. Students with a background in science and engineering should come away with a better idea of the problems that exist today, and how they can use their technical expertise to design to solve them. Students with a background in international development should come away with a better understanding of basic scientific and engineering principles that build the world we live in.

Tell us about the connection between philanthropy and social enterprise–how are they distinct? How do they intersect or connect

Philanthropy and social enterprise share a common goal of helping people, but go about it in completely different ways. Social enterprises use the power of business to create social and environmental impact, and rely heavily on the principles of capitalism. Philanthropy by definition is promoting the welfare of others by generous donations. Think of it as this- philanthropy is giving a man a fish, but social enterprises are microfinancing fishing gear. Both are important, but to me social enterprises promote long-term growth more. However, without philanthropy helping in the short-term, this growth is impossible.

You’ve been a commitment maker and you have won the GWupstart Best For-Profit Social Venture prize for your venture, Pedal Forward. Did these experiences influenced the way you designed the course?

The course was definitely influenced by CGI and my work with the Clinton Foundation. I was able to bring in a lot of amazing guest lecturers who are experts in their fields through my connection with CGI that brought great perspective to the course. The application to CGI U and to the GW biz plan competition were both homework assignments in this class, so students were definitely encouraged to participate in both.

Give us an anecdote or story about the course–an “aha moment” or a compelling moment.

This past weekend seeing two of my former students at CGI U presenting and being named as Finalists in the Resolution Project was super rewarding. Their project was a great example of the what course is all about. They originally came up with an idea that had potential, but was untested. They were able to gather a lot of information through customer interviews to be able to pivot their model to a more human-centered design, that still needs site based testing, but is definitely more feasible and is gaining traction. You should ask them about it.

Will this course or a similar one be offered again soon? Will you be teaching other courses next year?

I loved teaching this class! This semester I am co-teaching a course with Professor Volker Sorger in the School of Engineering and Applied Science on Innovation and Technology, that uses a lot of the same principles from my last class, but applied to a more broad spectrum than solely international development and social enterprises. Unfortunately I will be moving to NYC for work, but would love to find a way to continue teaching this class, whether it be at a University in NYC, or even online through GW (what do you say GW? I’m in if you are!).

What has happened to Pedal Forward since you won? Where do you see it in the future?

Pedal Forward has is scaling our production to 250 bikes and just launched our new website where we are accepting pre-orders. We hope to continue to expand our domestic sales to increase our impact abroad.

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Global Dance Initiative

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INTERVIEW

An interview with Angela Schopke (Dance & ESIA BA ’14) about Global Dance Initiative: Transforming conflict to constructive dialogue through dance

May 18, 2014

Q. What does “social entrepreneurship” mean to you?

A. Social entrepreneurship is taking a dream about how to address a social issue and finding a practical way to make that dream a reality.

Q. If you met a peer not sure about making the move from dreaming big to stepping into the arena of action, what would you say to them?

A. Dream big. Life is challenging. Paying bills is challenging. Work is challenging. Relationships are challenging. But, all of that doesn’t mean you can’t dream big. Maybe all that means today is writing down one sentence about your dream. Maybe that means writing a full business plan for how to make the dream become reality. You’ll find the time to make your dream happen when the time is right for you. Important to remember between now and when that dream does become reality, is to keep it in sight and to keep your alive.

Q. What issue are you addressing with Global Dance Initiative?

A. This year in Afghanistan, the US is withdrawing military support, international investors are leaving, the Taliban are temporarily out of power, the Soviets are long gone, and the British are even longer gone. For the first time after decades of occupied conflict, Afghanistan will find itself in a time of relative independence and peace. Now the question Afghans around the world are asking is, “What does it mean to be Afghan?”

For many years Afghan identity has been defined in relation to conflict. As Afghanistan seeks to transition from a period of conflict to peace, the notion of an Afghan identity is changing. Afghans are beginning to define themselves increasingly in relation to each other in an environment of deep internal economic and political instability, and the renewal of civil conflict looms as a real possibility. For the Afghan diaspora that fled the country, a path for reconnection and re-identification with their homeland is uncharted.

Q. How does your initiative actually set out to address the issue of Afghan identity and peace?

A. Perceiving the social, political, and economic ramifications of this period of uncertainty among the international Afghan community, Global Dance Initiative uses the culturally rich topic and medium of dance to give a “safe dialogue space” to Afghans. Our mission is to use dance to facilitate the rebuilding of a positive, stable Afghan identity and contribute to a long-term vision of peace in Afghanistan.

Why dance? Dance provides a relatively neutral entry point into otherwise very difficult discussions of ethnic, religious and gender issues. It can provide a space for Afghans at home and abroad to engage in constructive dialogue, and can also expand to engage non-Afghans passionate about social issues, cultural preservation, Central Asia, and the arts.

We will curate an online platform to which anyone can submit information about dance in Afghanistan, contributing to a collective, openly accessible ethnography of dance in Afghanistan. Our curation will include checking contributions for accuracy and providing light editing as well as translation services into English/German/Dari/Pashto. This section of our platform will also host a collection of sensitively moderated forums relating to dance on topics that bridge it with otherwise singularly contentious issues like gender, ethnicity, and religion. Our facilitation will craft a safe environment for discussing difficult identity-related topics.

Q. The theory of change behind your initiative sounds like a fine-tuned, time-tested one. Do you have any mentors who have blazed the trail and inspired you?

A. There have been so many people that have inspired me, mentored me, helped me, or worked with me. One person–though not the only–that stands out particularly strongly is Navy Captain Edward Zellem, who wrote Zarbul Masalha: 151 Afghan Dari Proverbs and founded and directs his own initiative called Afghan Sayings. Captain Zellem has provided tremendous social media strategy advice, and continues to inspire me with the great success he has experienced in making a safe dialogue space for Afghans and non-Afghans to communicate about important issues through the international language of proverbs. He has been a transformative mentor to which I am profoundly grateful.

Q. You became a CGI U Commitment Maker and were a semi-finalist in the GWupstart Prize Track of the GW Business Plan Competition. How did those experiences inform your efforts?

A. CGI U and the Business Plan Competition made a tremendous difference to how I see my venture. The Business Plan Competition helped me to both to strategize and understand the detailed steps that I would need to take to realize my venture. CGI U helped me to situate my idea in relation to others and most importantly to hone my venture through speaking to others about it, hearing about other approaches to common obstacles to realizing ventures, and creating a network of supportive entrepreneurs.

Q. How does your work on the Global Dance Initiative feed into your path as a professional?

A. During the couple months before graduating from GW just two weeks ago, I thought a lot about this question. I have two answers to it. The first, I realized that my greatest asset in terms of employability is a commitment to thinking creatively to solve real issues and to seeing that solution through with pragmatic steps. That is a skill that I have developed through pursuing my venture’s goals. The second, I think that pursuing my venture has and will continue to shape who I am and how I think about the world in the longterm. Both of these things are vital to realizing the professional goals I have for my lifetime.

Q. What’s next for Global Dance Initiative?

A. Make it happen! It feels a little like I imagine jumping off of a ledge might feel the moment before it happens–exhilarating, nervous, and a little reckless.

An interview with Tim Savoy

dc-center-by-tommy-wells-optimizedAn interview with Tim Savoy
Public Health MPH ’14
Student in the Spring 2014 ‘Philanthropy and Social Enterprise’ course taught by Dr. Blaine Parrish

May 28, 2014

Q. What motivated you to take the Philanthropy and Social Enterprise course with Dr. Blaine Parrish?
I was motivated to take the philanthropy and social entrepreneurship course with Dr. Parrish because I am interested professionally with corporate social responsibility (CSR). To me, I have always been interested in where private enterprise intersects with philanthropy and how the corporate world can shape charitable giving. I have seen corporations throw money at causes to no avail, and yet have also seen targeted and message driven campaigns by other corporations that make major impact. This made me want to learn more about how this process happens.

Q. How was it similar and distinct from other academic courses available to you in your program?
My Master’s degree is in public health, concentrating in epidemiology (the study of disease across populations). Believe it or not, this course complimented my coursework in a big way. Through my program in epidemiology, my colleagues and I learn about the biggest health problems both here in the US and abroad. This course, in many ways, put that knowledge into action. This course taught me how to ask the best questions in order to understand how to make the most informed charitable gift.

Q. What surprised you most about the course?
I was most surprised about the giving experience. Initially, our class put out a request for proposals (RFP) to about 8 HIV-related nonprofits. However, these were all major players in HIV in the Washington, D.C. area, and I think they saw our $10,000 grant as a small opportunity. Thus, we really had to think outside the box about how to market our gift to other groups. In the world of philanthropy, donations like ours may be small, but I was surprised to see the amount of innovation we were able to find with the DC Center for the LGBT Community for our gift.

Q.Tell us your understanding of how philanthropy and social enterprise connect.
Philanthropy and social enterprise and constantly evolving. There has been a generational shift over the past several decades from philanthropy that focuses on just a cause (for example, focusing on a specific disease) to a focus on innovation and impact (really getting at “HOW” we can make change).

To me, philanthropy 2.0 (as we call it) could not exist without social enterprise and vice versa. Both of these concepts in the modern day feed off of each other. This is clear when we look at the current environment for philanthropy and social enterprises. Groups like Kickstarter and Indigogo are based on the idea that philanthropists really want to feel connected to their causes.

Q. What were some key takeaways from your experience with the course?
I had several takeaways from this course. They included a better understanding of how philanthropy has evolved over time, how to adequately make grant funding and philanthropic donations, and finally, how corporate giving can be made to give back to communities while also promoting enterprise.

Q. Give us an anecdote or story about the course–an “aha moment” or some compelling moment.
During our check presentation to the DC Center, my classmate and I got to present a large check (physically, it was about 5 feet long!) to the board of directors at the organizations headquarters. During the presentation, I had a overwhelming feeling of joy as we did press and photos with the organization. The individuals at this nonprofit, a very small group compared to some of the HIV players in DC, were very grateful for our gift and it was an amazing opportunity to give back to a good cause that promotes innovation.

Q. How does this experience contribute to your professional goals?
I am someone who is a big fan of interdisciplinary research and learning. This course enhanced this as the course was truly service-learning in multiple disciplines at its finest. The course had elements of research within public health while also focusing on policy and project management. I believe that this course will allow me to better understand my giving philosophy when I started a full time career.

Q. If a fellow GW student were on the fence about taking this course, what would you say to them?
This is the only time in my six years at GW that I have been given $10,000 to spend as I wish. This will be an opportunity that you may not have for many years! Take this course because you will get first-hand, real life experience in the world of philanthropy and understand how major gifts are made!

Read more about the grant in Metro Weekly, and an interview with the faculty member leading the course here.

An Interview with Kristen Pinto ‘Perform for Peace’

May 23, 2014

Q. What does “social entrepreneurship” mean to you?

A. Social entrepreneurship means developing creative solutions to pressing social issues.

Q. Tell us about the issue you’re addressing through your initiative (or “commitment to action,” in the terms of the Clinton Global Initiative University.

A. Elementary and middle school kids face bullying everyday. My project, Perform for Peace, aims to interrupt the cycle of violence and raise awareness about bullying.

Q. What exactly does Perform for Peace do?

A. By employing theater as a positive, creative outlet, the Perform for Peace initiative teaches peace skills to middle schoolers. It introduces them to theater around the world, strengthens their reading and writing skills, and equips them with the tools to peacefully address bullying in their schools.

Q. What is Perform for Peace’s goal?

A. The goal is to harness the community-building capacity of theater to inspire and empower potential peacemakers. Standing up to bullying in schools starts by teaching students how to peacefully resolve conflict

Q. What moment or moments inspired you to move from thought to action?

A. Last year through my service with a peacemaking nonprofit, I led a short, 4 week lesson on theater games. We then wrote a skit about how to use peace skills in school. My “Perform for Peace” initiative is inspired by this project. I loved seeing how much the kids enjoyed performing and how they were able to learn from the experience.

Q. How does taking on the responsibility of your own commitment to actionsupport your professional goals?

I am majoring in public health, and violence is a pressing public health threat. My venture supports my professional goals by helping me practice and implement an intervention that helps ameliorate an important issue.

Q. Who has served as a mentor for you in developing Perform for Peace?

A. My mentor and inspiration for this venture is MJ Park, the co-founder and director of Little Friends for Peace, a nonprofit organization in DC that empowers children and adults to employ non-violent conflict resolution to solve their problems and create a culture of peace. MJ inspires me because of her dedication to her vision and her compassion for everyone in the community. She believes that peace needs to be experienced, learned and practiced, and it is such a privilege to help her spread the Little Friends for Peace mission.

Q. How did becoming a Clinton Global Initiative University commitment maker, and attending the annual gathering of 1,100 student social entrepreneurs from around the globe this past March, make a difference for you?

A. It was an incredible opportunity. I was able to network with other students interested in peace and conflict resolution in the DC area. I have been able to connect them with Little Friends for Peace and start potential partnerships. The best part of the conference was hearing about all the different ventures. It was inspiring to hear so many college students talk about their passions and what they aspired to achieve to make a difference.

Q. What’s your next step to roll out your Perform for Peace project?

A. Right now, I am hoping to do a small pilot project over the summer with some peace campers at Little Friends for Peace. If I do not have the opportunity to pursue my venture over the summer, I plan to collaborate with Little Friends for Peace to see if there is a site during the school year to pilot my program.

Q. What would you say to a fellow GW student who was interested in engaging in social entrepreneurship?

A. If you are passionate about something and you have an idea, go for it! There are wonderful students, professors, faculty, and community leaders that will help you every step of the way and who want to see you succeed.

“If Bono had a Record Label”

An interview with Max Grossman (ESIA BA ’17)

May 14, 2014

Q. Tell us about social entrepreneurship. What does it mean to you?
A. Social entrepreneurship is about citizens creating solutions to social problems that governments and traditional businesses have not yet been able to fix.

Q. What problem are you working to solve?
A. GenerationA seeks to solve three pain points: (1) social initiatives’ lack of funding and exposure, (2) artists’ inability to reach larger audiences, and (3) Millennials’ desire for socially conscious products.

Q. What is GenerationA all about? What does it aim to do?
A. GenerationA is a socially conscious record label that produces music, puts on events, and creates video content. We provide (1) social initiatives with funding, (2) music artists with exposure; (3) Millennials with the socially conscious music experience they desire.

Q. Who are some mentors who have provided insights for GenerationA?
A. Melanie Fedri, the Coordinator of GWupstart, has been an unbelievable resource for GenerationA. She’s honest, knowledgeable, and always seems to have the right critique or suggestion on how to address issues GenerationA has faced. Ron Bose, our mentor for the finals, has been extremely insightful in terms of our financials. Professor John Rollins has taught us how best to write our business plan, and Professor Lynda Maddox has shown us how best to pitch GenerationA! Also, for me in particular, my dad is my inspiration. He works like no one I’ve ever met.

Q. Have you had an “aha” moments of insight while working to get Generation A off and running?
A. Maybe not an aha moment, but definitely a pivot, going-back-to-the-drawing-board moment. Just this week GenerationA met a university student–a Millennial in our target demographic–who loved the goals of GenerationA but had suggestions as to exactly what kind of artists GenerationA should target, and how also to really hone in on the social component of the record label. The student’s comments were vital, unexpected, and we took them seriously. Aha!

Q. So it sounds like GenerationA has been “getting out of the building” a lot to understand what your prospective customers really want. How has that process gone for you?
A. As GW students, we tell a lot of our friends about the idea, because they are in many ways the Millennial audience whose pain points we are seeking to solve. They share comments, considerations, and questions that half of the time get us even more excited about the idea of GenerationA. The other half of the time, they get us brainstorming how we can reshape GenerationA’s product so it is exactly what our “customer archetype” is looking for.

Q. GenerationA seems like it thrives on collaboration. Have you had any early wins with collaborations?
A. GenerationA has worked with GRID (Gaming Revolution for International Development), a non-profit venture that creates video games that teaches best practices to address the nuances of international development. GRID just launched their pilot video game that featured music produced by GenerationA’s own Bryce Connolly. For GenerationA, this was our first experience working with a social initiative. It was a very helpful way to learn about social initiatives’ needs and concerns.

Q. How did competing in the GW Business Plan Competition all the way through the finals affect GenerationA?
A. The Business Plan Competition was an incubator for my team. It forced us to write our business plan, pitch our idea, ‘get out the office,’ and ask people what they thought. It provided us mentorship and, most importantly, allowed us to fail as a venture—we did not win the competition. Failure is essential to success, and has hardened us to pursue our vision.

Q. If a GW student was on the fence about turning their ideas into action through social entrepreneurship, what would you say to him or her?
A. I would say to someone on the fence about social entrepreneurship to hop off the fence and get involved! GW has so many resources to help actualize whatever it is you want to accomplish with a social venture. With hard work and the ability accept and consider feedback, really, the sky is the limit.

Q. How does your work with GenerationA support your professional goals?
A. If it were not for becoming a part of GenerationA’s team, I would not have had the experience of working with such a solid team to write a business plan, nor would I have pitched a business in my first year of undergrad. These two experiences have been invaluable. They’ve shown me the ins of what it takes to  start an entrepreneurial venture.

Q. What’s next for GenerationA?
A. Next for GenerationA is producing music, conducting more artist outreach, and streamlining how best to provide value propositions for all three of our customers.

Watch Generation A Record’s Finalist Pitch in the 2014 GW Business Plan Competition:

In the game of international development

GWupstart’s Melanie Fedri took a moment to sit down with Mariam Adil (ESIA MS ’15)

May 12, 2014

Q. Tell us about social entrepreneurship. What does it mean to you?

A. When you mix entrepreneurial passion with a vision to change the world for the better you get social entrepreneurship. At its very core is the ambition to contribute positively to the world around you.

Q. You had the initial idea to found GRID. What problem are you working to solve?
A. There is a learning gap between the science of international development taught to students and development practitioners, and the art of development practiced by professionals in the field. Until now, there have been few tools to bridge that gap – to provide the experiential learning required to practice complex decision-making at a scale well beyond one-to-one interaction.

Q. What is GRID all about? What does it aim to do?
A. GRID provides low-cost, demand-driven gaming solutions for greater understanding of the challenges encountered in international development. With a push towards innovative use of technology in international development, and the recognition of the effectiveness of games as learning tools, the stage is set for development games to be introduced as training mechanisms for development practitioners and students.

Q. Was there one moment or a series of moments that inspired you to action?
A. Being a student and a practitioner of international development, I realized the importance of the art of development and the need for learning tools that could simulate the challenges faced in perfecting this art.

Q. Have you had an “aha” moments of insight while working to get GRID off and running?
A. It is easy to get carried away with the excitement of a new idea. An important lesson for me was “not everything can be simulated as a game,” and this came as a random thought when I was trying to make sure our first game did not end up looking like an online course module. It was an important thought that allows me to filter between challenges that have the potential to be simulated with GRID games.

Q. Has anyone been a sounding board for you in the process of founding GRID?
A. GRID has been a team effort and our inspiration has come in little doses, in the shape of moments when we’ve gotten to discuss our idea with development experts and they’ve told us GRID is unique and meets a pressing need.

Q. The diversity on GRID’s team is notable. Tell us about that.
A. GRID serves a niche market of gaming solutions for the development world. This marriage of gaming with development is a fairly new idea, and it helps build holistic knowledge in the field, which is hard to gain because topics are taught in a fragmented way. Creating games that simulate realistic scenarios for international development requires an interdisciplinary approach. GRID has a number of students and mentors from different fields on its team. Our student team members have expertise that ranges from economic development to public policy to computer programming to business administration to fine arts and music.

Q. You and two of your teammates attended CGI U 2014. How did that experience benefit GRID?
A. Two days packed with inspiration, passion, and optimism made CGI U the perfect launching pad for our first game.

Q. Can you share a valuable insight you picked up at CGI U?
A. We met Asi Buran of Games for Change at CGI U 2014, and he gave great advice about marketing social games. The pricing and marketing of social games is very different from conventional games.

Q. If a GW student was on the fence about social entrepreneurship, and turning thought into action, what would you have to say to him or her?
A. It won’t be easy but its worth every ounce of energy! There will come a time when your venture will be the driving force behind all your ambitions, be they professional or academic.

Q. How does your work with GRID support your professional goals?
A. Being a development practitioner myself, I know that holistic knowledge of the development process is critical. The process of developing GRID games helps me do my development work for the World Bank so much better. I know it can help thousands of practitioners and students just like me.

Q. What’s next for GRID?
A. We’ve piloted our first game with the World Bank, and we’re looking forward to expanding our reach and making more games.

GRID was also a 2014 Finalist in the GW Business Plan Competition. Watch their pitch in the final round here:

An Interview with Professor Blaine Parrish

An Interview with Professor Blaine Parrish
Assistant Professor and Director of the Graduate Certificate Program in Community-Based Program Management in GW’s Department of Prevention and Community Health

May 28, 2014

Q. Tell us about your Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Course–what is it about and why do you feel passionate to offer it?
A. The Philanthropy and Social Enterprise course is a collaboration between GW and the Learning by Giving Foundation.  The main objective is to help students better understand the world of philanthropy and how it intersects with public health and social enterprise.  The Learning by Giving Foundation provides $10,000 in funding for the students to award to charitable organizations in the DC Metro area.

My passion for offering the course comes from my work at the community, governmental, and academic levels.  Organizations do best when they are community-based, sustainable (without total reliability on one source of funding or one type of funding), and led by individuals who value innovation and change.  The non-profit world must embrace many different models to ensure the services they promise to a community when they open their doors, is reliable, dependable, and available well into the future.  My passion is to make sure students have the skills and understanding to make that happen.

Q. What key concepts and skills do you want students to come away with?
A: Students are 100% responsible for putting out a request for proposal (RFP), reviewing the applications they receive, conducting site visits, and deciding which organization will be awarded the funds.  By leading the process, students better understand the importance of critically evaluating the organization’s ideas, capacity, sustainability, fiscal responsibility, ability to be innovative, among other desirable organizational traits.  Students also learn about their own philanthropy and the value of giving.  The skills necessary to make all this happen in one semester are skills students don’t usually gain in other courses.  Community engagement and service learning prepare students to jump into community work confident and open to new ideas and approaches.

Q. Tell us about the connection between philanthropy and social enterprise–how are they distinct? How do they intersect or connect?
A. Philanthropy is the act of giving, understanding, exploring, and connecting.  Putting time, resources, and support behind an organization or idea keeps it alive and helps it grow.  Social enterprise is the act of developing, innovating, adapting, and changing.  Putting well-trained social entrepreneurs into the public health arena will help ensure social change, accountability, strong business practices, and an ability to generate resources at the community level.  When you connect philanthropy with social enterprise, you get the ability to upstart community ideas and grow community leaders from within.

Q. What key takeaways do you think the students gain? How about your own insights?
A. Students universally are surprised by the imbalance between best practices in business and best practices in programs.  Students takeaway a profound desire to support awareness of the importance of using best business practices (fiscal responsibility, accountability, management) to the same degree many organization use best public health practices (science, evidence-based interventions, program evaluation).

My own insight includes how dependent public health programs and non-profit organizations have become on government funding, with little options to choose from when those funding opportunities fail.  Sustainability, community ownership of programs, and social innovation continue to be the keys to organizational and programmatic longevity.

Q. Give us an anecdote or story about the course–an “aha moment” or  a compelling moment.
A. Students come with wonderful ideas – ways to change the world, which is what we teach them to aspire to as global citizens.  So, as you might imagine two aha moments come to mind – the first, a little disappointing, when students realize the challenges to putting their wonderful idea on paper, in a business plan, in a way that helps other understand how it will be implemented.  Students describe the process as a painful reminder that public good is also a business venture.  The most compelling aha moment usually comes when students from across disciplines – across the departments, schools, and GW – realize how interconnected their ideas, skills, academic training, and service learning is when social change and social good is the common denominator.  Class is never long enough and I usually have to kick students out of the space!

Q. Will this course or a similar one be offered again soon? What courses are you teaching next year? What research have you been most intensively engaging in these days?
A. The Philanthropy and Social Enterprise course is taught every spring as a graduate course, which also admits undergraduate students.  During the summer, Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship is offered as a study abroad course (twice to India, twice to South Africa, and next year to Peru) and covers the advances in social entrepreneurship as it relates to public health and development of a business plan to pitch for social change.

In addition to these courses, which I co-teach with Dr. Amita Vyas, I teach Program Planning and Implementation, which focuses on development of public health programs and implementation of best-practices interventions, and I teach Community Engagement and Advocacy in the MPH@GW online program.  My research is focused on LGBT health, use of social media on college campuses (sexual assault, violence, and alcohol/drug use/abuse), sentiment analysis use in community participatory research and engagement, among others.