Final Fellowship Pitchfest!

It is with great excitement (and truthfully, a little sadness) that we announce that our 2017 Millennium Fellowship has officially come to an end!!

This past week our amazing Fellows from both the Boston and Miami MCN Hub-sites completed the 2017 Millennium Fellowship program. It is with great honor that we congratulate all of our Fellows for the tremendous amount of work and time each member committed over the course of the past few months. The conversations fostered within the individual teams, hub-site meeting discussions, and panels with outside guest speakers made this Fellowship session truly inspirational.

2017 Boston Fellows: Grace Lee, Shawn Mozeika, Sarah Khmijee, Khushee Nanavati, Valeria Al-Khatib, Taylor Garner, Christian de la Cruz, Tyler Godfroy, Maria Grant, Debbie-lee Baskir, Sandrah Nanziri, Joey Milici, James Purdy, Malavika Madan, Monika Rodiqi

2017 Miami Fellows: Martine Domond, Aris Lorenzo, Jovan Wint, Janai Thermitus, Jhoanna Jimenez, Matias Solari, Eugenia Bouzas, Riane Roldan, Kiana Vidal, Laurene Sanon, Krystal Lanier, Teja Bollepalli, Rhea Manohar, Justin Randolph

 

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Boston Pitchfest

Boston Pitchfest Judges: Eleanor Joseph, Justin Kang, Mark Weber, Netia McCray

First Place Winner: Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center, Bentley University  - Led by James Purdy and Joey Milici

Second Place Winner: Challah for Hunger, Brandeis University - Led by Debbie-Lee Baskir

Third Place Winner: GlobeMed, Northeastern University - Led by Grace Lee and Shawn Mozeika

 

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Miami Pitchfest

Miami Pitchfest Judges: Matt HaggmanCarolina Pina, Natalia Martinez-Kalinina, Rebecca Fishman-Lipsey

First Place Winner: Healthy U, Healthy Me, University of Miami - Led by Rhea Manohar and Teja Bollepalli

Second Place Winner: Knights of the Roundtable, Lynn University - Led by Jhoanna Jimenez, Eugenia Bouzas, and Matias Solari

Third Place Winner: Pangea, Miami Dade College North - Led by Jovan Wint, Aris Lorenzo, Laurene Sanon, and Janai Thermitus

 

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We wish all of our Fellows the best in their future academic and professional endeavors and welcome them warmly into the MCN Alumni Community!! Make sure to check out their individual profiles on our website - the future is so bright for each of them! 

MCN Boston Fellow Highlight: Meet Valeria Al-Khatib!

MCN Boston Fellow Highlight: Meet Valeria Al-Khatib!

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"I always knew I had a passion for social impact and advocacy, but I never knew just how strong these goals were. Since I began college I engaged on a wide variety of campus activities that ultimately strengthened my goals to work for social impact. Not too long after this realization I found an opportunity to begin my work through Amnesty International. I started a chapter of Amnesty at my university hoping to get other students who were passionate about social impact like me interested in human right advocacy. 

As an Amnesty chapter, our main concern is to protect human rights to the best of our ability wether that be abroad or at home. In our chapter we have focused a lot on the rights of refuges and undocumented immigrants since it has been a very relevant topic in the last few months. Our main purpose is to educate our community so that we can all work together to protect the rights of those that are in need of protection. Ultimately, my goal is to pursue a career where I can advocate for those that need it. It is my hope to gain the necessary knowledge, education and means to serve as a defender of human rights and moral legislation. My long term goal is to go to law school wherein I will be able to gain the skills necessary to do the above mentioned.  MCN has helped me in this through allowing me to grow my network connections and develop professionally. MCN has opened my eyes to see just how many ways there are in which I can become more involved in social impact.

Oceans Campaign Update: Pitch Presentations!

During the first week of March, the Clean Street, Clean Sea campaign applied to a challenge named Innov'Pap, organized by a local youth group. It was selected among the best initiatives.

On Saturday March 18, Clean Street Clean Sea presented a two-minute pitch and connected with two keys enterprises, HaiPlast & Recycling SA and CEDEL Haiti. The first is a local enterprise involving in the waste management sector, particularly plastic; and the second is a social enterprise that supports entrepreneurship in Haiti.

MCN Miami Fellow Highlight: Meet Martine Domond!

Who am I?

My name is Martine Domond, I am a 22-year-old, Haitian-American, student studying biology and public policy in hopes of one day becoming a cardiovascular surgeon. 

What is your project?

My project is HealthnetwoRx, an online health and research community, more specifically, a database in which health professionals can interact; connecting the wired and unwired worlds, streamlining distribution and reporting, and improving the efficiency and reach of messages. 

What do I hope to accomplish in the long run? 

If successful, I would hope this website to become the main area for health professionals to communicate as well as for the public to receive vital healthcare regulations and information for each country...thus bridging the divide between clinical practice and international policy. Also, the website will have a home page which contains updated news on international epidemics and outbreaks (such as the zika virus or ebola). Most importantly, it will contain communication options, such as chatting, messaging, or video chatting/conferencing. HealthnetworRx will be optimized for low bandwidth Internet connections and operate on lower end computers and tablets, eventually becoming accessible on smartphones.

Moreover, I am a firm believer that private entrepreneurs can do more public good when they team up with government. I hope and am actively working on establishing partnership with government agencies such as UNICEF, WHO, and the CDC in order to build a better form of public health surveillance. With some form of a grant, I will be able to establish an infrastructure for public health prevention, offering tested, cost-effective ways to protect us so we’re not always playing catch-up after an epidemic has already gained momentum.

How has MCN helped you?

If I can be quite honest, I did not expect for me to gain so much from these weekly meetings. Being that I am different, trying to build a social enterprise compared to those representing student organizations, I thought I would not be able to relate as much. I simply thought it would be the structure of student organization meetings.

But...it was so much more. Since the creation of my project through Clinton Global Initiative University, I have scoured the Internet to find resources to assist in not only networking, but also for mentorship, guidance, and growth. With that being said, MCN was the perfect, next step in my project development. I was able to connect with so many individuals, especially those in the entrepreneurial and social impact world..that I would've never otherwise met. I was able to have reflections and enlightening discussions, and implement design-thinking and inclusiveness in my daily life.

There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to travel fast, go alone. If you want to travel far, go together.” No matter how self-sufficient we all believe ourselves to be, the truth is we all need a support system, especially when pursuing a dream, purpose, vision, or calling in life…which I am realizing in my desire to become a changemaker and what I have gained through MCN. MCN became my "safe place." It’s only when we have “traveling companions” as we journey towards our goals that we’re able to reach our full potential–to go farther in life.

Have you met any speakers through our MCN Fellowship that have impacted you in some way? If so, how and whom?

Yes, I have been impacted by speakers and I will share some lessons that left a lasting impression:

  • Yeni Simon, Out Miami: 1 hour of volunteering is equivalent to $23 of work in the non-profit sector
  • Victoria Fear, Miami Foundation: "The pitch is dead, long live the conversation."
  • Dr. Michael Lenaghan, Miami Dade College: "Do you want to be important or do you want to be influential?" & "Most governments were founded for the happiness of the people."
  • And of course our amazing hub-site director Liz, I truly do not have enough space in this blog post to express the immeasurable wisdom and insight that she has shared with us all. 

MCN Alumni Highlight: Meet Kayla O'Neill!

Jumping into International Development with Both Feet

"As an underclass student, I was in the kiddie pool when it came to social change. I was working with a student-run nonprofit addressing educational needs in India at the time, but I had no clue what I was doing. The Millennium Campus Conference dropped me into the deep end of international development.

I was lucky enough that the conference was hosted at my own university, so I signed up as a volunteer photographer for one of the plenary sessions. A man who was introduced to us as Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute took the stage, and I remember thinking, “Who is this guy?” while snapping away with my camera. I learned a great deal from that talk and from experiences like it since.

In the spring of 2015 I was privileged to work for Millennium Campus Network as a Marketing Associate Intern. Since then I have kept busy finishing my undergraduate degree in Business Administration and International Affairs at Northeastern University. I also completed two co-ops with Amazon Web Services and TripAdvisor Charitable Foundation, while staying involved social change initiatives as a leader for student organizations.

Working at MCN gave me helpful event execution experience and an opportunity to build my design portfolio. I had the chance to sit in on the sessions with MCN Fellows and I benefited from learning about how their student organizations are run and what challenges they were facing. My time at MCN also showed me the importance of networking and making time for face-to-face meetings with the people you’d like to learn from.

In the two years since, I have been a leader for several social change movements at my university. I developed a voter registration marketing campaign with a team from Northeastern University Marketing Association, and we saw a 34 percent increase in the number of students who registered to vote as compared to the previous presidential election in 2012. I also became a leader for Northeastern’s Social Enterprise Institute Student Association, where I promote social business and scalable solutions to global poverty. While I knew I wanted a career with impact, I steered away from the nonprofit sector for a bit to gain valuable business experience that I hope to apply to benefit social causes. I found that tech companies are certainly open to making an impact, and they can in fact be leaders in the speaking out about important causes.

While working at Amazon Web Services as an Event Marketing Co-op, I had the opportunity to develop projects addressing event sustainability and gender diversity. The concept known as “intrapreneurship,” or taking risks in new projects within an established company, has been a driver of innovation and social change at companies from Amazon to Zappos. I felt privileged to share new approaches and ways of thinking with my team within a global company with the resources to make significant change.

My role as a Co-op at TripAdvisor Charitable Foundation was a dream come true, in part because for the first time, I got the chance to dive deeply into a single cause issue. The company had recently pledged $5 million over the next three years to address the global refugee crisis, and I was heavily involved in researching potential funding areas such as refugee resettlement. I also got to help organize a donation drive, fundraiser, volunteer activities, and educational events with speakers from nonprofits like the International Rescue Committee, RefugePoint, and International Institute of New England. I was exposed to the world of corporate philanthropy and it opened my eyes to the potential for so many other companies to get on board and give back.

I discovered through work in issues areas like refugees, environmental conservation, and educational nonprofits that I care deeply about many things. Working at MCN showed me that what I am most interested in is the infrastructure that enables social change and connects changemakers with resources. For that reason, I am starting my career as a Business Development Fellow at GlobalGiving in Washington, D.C., where I will support the efforts of companies to give back effectively through their international development efforts.

My advice to MCN Fellows and Delegates is to keep your eyes and ears out for opportunities to connect with organizations and individuals. Being part of a global network like MCN is a great first step, but there are likely local communities that can add their support. Read all you can and listen to the experts, but also do not be afraid to learn by doing, even if it means you might fail!"

- Kayla O'Neill

Gender Campaign Updates! Gender Network Leaders Tanyaradzwa Chinyukwi & Thabu Mugala

Update from Tanya Chinyukwi

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"Access to education is a right of every child in Zimbabwe but of recent, poverty has become a major challenge to the education of the girl child. This is because female children are seen as a source of income to sustain their families through early child marriages, child labour such as prostitution and being maidservants for the richer families. The high cost of education has also seen some of the girls dropping out of school as the poor families prefer sending the male child to school to sending the female child. Thus the number of girls dropping out of school has been increasing for the past two years and hence the need to address this situation before the country loses its future Oprah Winfrey or Maya Angelou.

Therefore, the Girl Power Initiative Campaign seeks to ensure that the girl child has access to basic education and livelihood skills training which empower her to reach her full potential and become an independent woman in the society. Through the MCN global webinars, I have managed to get some skills on how I can organize the campaign with the help of other people. So far, I managed to connect with some University students in Zimbabwe and together we have formed a mentorship group for the girls who are going to benefit from this campaign.

Furthermore, I connected with some young lady entrepreneur (Ruramiso Mashumba) who has volunteered to give skills training workshops on various agriculture projects and also one of the local female artists (Cindy Manyavi), who would be focusing on personal development workshops.

We shall also be working closely with Girl and Women Empowerment Trust, which is a local organization that focuses on empowering the girl child both socially and economically. For now, all the ground work has been set and what still remains a stumbling block is funding which we hope to get in the future.  Upon getting funds, we hope to get broiler chickens for the families of the girls so that they can start a poultry project which helps them generate income in order to send the children to school.

Through the MCN global webinars, we managed to connect with other African student leaders who are also interested in empowering the girl child and women in their respective countries, so in the future we hope to transform this campaign into a regional program where girls and women will also have an opportunity to participate in seminars, workshops, trainings on education, health, entrepreneurship initiatives etc. This is aimed at improving girls’ self-awareness and decision making skills as well as equipping them with skills that uplift their social status. At Girl Power Initiative Campaign, we believe that the change Africa needs now lies in the hands of the girl child so let us then join hands together and transform her life!"

--Tanya


Update from Thabu Mugala

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"My name is Thabu Mugala; I was born and raised in the northern part of Zambia. I am currently studying Agricultural sciences at EARTH University in Costa Rica. Since I was young I have watched how hard my Cousin (guardian) worked to put food on the table for my nieces, nephews and I, always waking up early and coming home late. He has always been a big inspiration to me. He taught me the importance of education, and it’s because of him that last year when I realized people of my community think that child marriages and prostitution are solutions to poverty but in the actual sense they are probably the main cause, I came up with a campaign which was recognized by the Millennium Campus Network for the X-factor prize.

The campaign “Child Marriages and Prostitution Are Not Solutions to Eradicating Poverty” started as a give-back project which aimed at reducing poverty in my community by empowering young women with various agricultural and entrepreneurial skills. With my background in agriculture sciences and natural resource management, I really have a deep understanding of food production which is vital in this campaign, I am also very passionate towards advancing sustainable techniques of agriculture to create food security for all especially to the women of Mpyana Bwalya. Mpyana Bwalya is a small community in Chinsali, Zambia where I actually live.

Living on a farm led me to loving agriculture and also the processes involved in food production, hence most of the activities for this campaign are agriculture related. Among the many activities are: posts on the importance of women empowerment on different social medias, empowering women on different entrepreneurial skills, and outreach to communities. The chicken project is a cardinal component of the campaign; its purpose is directed towards raising enough revenue to give loan to the women with an already established business plan and with entrepreneur and agriculture skills, in order for them to start a business. They later give back the money with interest enabling other women to also have the chance to borrow. Hence keeping these young women busy and making them avoid early marriages and prostitution.

Some of our short term results are to expand the campaign by partnering with different stakeholders who work for the common good, which is women empowerment; we hope to have at least 100 women empowered by 2018."

--Thabu