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2018 CGI U Commitment Makers

CGIU 2016 Group PictureIn 2018, 42 UC San Diego students participated 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 developed Commitments to Action — new, specific and measurable initiatives that address global challenges. UC San Diego’s students presented 17 commitments which address several pressing issues.

Commitment #1: There's an App for That: Know Your Immigrant Rights

There's an App for That: Know Your Immigrant Rights

Shine Cho and Emily Sim, two DREAMers, will address the information gap in non-English speaking immigrant communities by building a multilingual mobile application. The duo will equip immigrants with legal knowledge of their rights and opportunities to connect with local immigration organizations made accessible on their phones. Launching in Los Angeles, home to a multinational immigrant community and a recent hotbed of ICE activity, the platform will allow users to: learn their rights through an interactive module, connect with rapid response  immigrant hotlines in the area, and receive alerts of ICE activity. The team will connect with 10 immigration advocacy and legal organizations to promote the application, before expanding to other sanctuary cities by June 2019.

Participant: Somang Cho

Shine Cho is a junior at the University of California, San Diego majoring in Political Science and minoring in Law and Society. Politics has always been personal for her, after learning of her family’s undocumented status when she was ten years old. She currently researches immigration policy and enforcement issues, using the Freedom of Information Act to acquire and analyze public records. She is fascinated with the media’s role in government transparency and accountability. On campus, she is the managing editor of The Triton, which she helped develop as a digital-first source. Previously, she advocated for student free speech rights with the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C. Cho has also contributed to CBS News in Los Angeles as an investigative intern and a data-driven news agency in San Diego. Combining her passions for investigative journalism, policy research, and advocacy, she hopes to become an immigration attorney.

Commitment #2: Cocreate Change

Cocreate Change

In collaboration with community members in Myanmar, Lin Hein and the Cocreate Change Team is committed to create a technical leadership and entrepreneurship program for local youth in order to provide a framework for identifying and addressing community issues though the co-creation of innovative, sustainable, and locally manufactured products. The team will pilot this program through two student cohorts with one focusing on the development of a solar street lamp and the other on a solar home system. They will partner with the local UN branch, STEM institutes, university humanitarian engineering programs, and local suppliers to assist the creation of this program. The team expects to promote local entrepreneurship and economic development through a pilot run of this program within 18 months.

Participants: Lin Hein, Jenny Nguyen, and Philman Tjong

Lin Hein was the UC San Diego CGIU Student Representative 2018 and a fourth-year electrical engineering student with special interest in alternative energy and power engineering. Currently working as the Fellow in Humanitarian Engineering in Jacobs School of Engineering, he advises three engineering teams, each of them creating sustainable solutions to the local needs in Philippines, Fiji, and Mexico. In addition to serving as a CGI U Campus Representative, he is on UCSD's Ashoka Changemaker Steering Committee as a student representative. Lin also working with a group of journalists to investigate issues of environmental justice and access to education in low-resource neighborhoods of San Diego. Lastly, he is currently designing a net-zero PV microgrid system for a nonprofit organization in Nigeria through Engineers Without Borders.

Jenny Nguyen is a third year at UC San Diego with a major in chemical engineering and a minor in design. Throughout her three years there, she has demonstrated a high commitment to her community through her extracurricular activities at Thurgood Marshall College and at UC San Diego as a whole. She has been a member of several organizations, such as the Multi-Asian Student Association (MASA), Marshall Activities Committee, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Active Community at Thurgood Marshall College, and Each One Reach One (EORO). Of those organizations, she served as a Public Relations Chair for MASA and a Co-Coordinator for Each One Reach One, the Marshall-exclusive mentorship program. Also, she served as a dean's intern last year and is currently serving her community as a resident assistant and a member of UCSD Global TIES (Teams in Engineering Service).

Philman Tjong is a 2nd year undergraduate student that is currently studying Electrical Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. As of present, he is a member of Kyrie Eleison, a Catholic organization, and the captain of the Social Tennis Club. Furthermore, he is the creator and founder of Christian Modern, an online business that markets, advertises, and sells Christian-related products. He is passionate in his endeavors to inspire change within a community. His upbringing brought harsh realizations at a young age and he believes it is his right and duty to aid those in need. He is compelled to help the underprivileged and it is his mission to empower people in communities to rise and take action in helping not only themselves but others as well.

Commitment #3: Revolutionizing EMS in Developing Communities

Revolutionizing EMS in Developing Communities

In 2016, Global TIES Cruz Roja team committed to developing a solution to improve ambulance supervision and dispatchment in developing countries. Operating through Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, they partnered with the Tijuana Red Cross organization and the Tijuana Institute of Technology to develop a software program where emergency medical dispatchers can track, visualize, and dispatch ambulances in real time. The team is initially deploying and field-testing the solution in Tijuana, Mexico, and expect to decrease patient transportation and pickup durations, improving access to and reliability of health care for millions of people. By June 2018, the team aims to integrate user feedback from Emergency Medical Personnel and finalize the second version of the prototype.

Participants: Timothy Lam, Jose Rodriguez, and Hans Yuan

Timothy Lam is a fourth year Computer Engineering undergraduate at the University of California San Diego. He is pursuing a Masters in Computer Science at UCSD in the Fall of 2018. He leads a team of students at Qualcomm Institute to develop mobile applications that integrate remote real time data to server side systems for analytics and research. He also developed for and led the UCSD Global TIES Cruz Roja project, where rapid progress is being made on constructing an ambulance tracker and dispatcher application in Tijuana.

Jose Rodriguez is a computer science major at UCSD. He is an alumni of the program Teens Exploring Technology, an organization that empowers inner-city black and brown boys from South Central Los Angeles to become tech entrepreneurs. Jose has been part of this organization for over 8 years, each year giving back to his community by mentoring high school students to launch their own startups.  On campus Jose is involved in UCSD Global TIES Cruz Roja's mission to revolutionize the dispatch system for ambulances for over 1.5 million people in Tijuana. Jose has been involved in the development of the software and demoing the product in ambulances in Tijuana. Like Teens Exploring Technology, Jose is passionate about helping communities in need. Whether its empowering the youth of South Los Angeles to become the next tech leaders or revolutionizing EMS in underprivileged communities, Jose will not stop to make it a reality.

Hans Yuan is a senior Computer Science major at UC San Diego. During his involvement with Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers in collaboration with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), as Outreach Chair, he led undergraduate committees to invite underrepresented high school students to campus for tours, labs, and general exposure. He applied the leadership knowledge he gained from starting the first accredited orchestra class at Arroyo High School with his work with SASE to the Global Ties Cruz Roja project. As project manager, he ensured that each group made meaningful regular progress towards the goals. As a result, the project is now in a testing stage. For 2 years, he was a tutor for UCSD’s Introduction to Computer Science and was Teaching Assistant for three quarters. He authored a new programming assignment. He wishes to continue studying computer security in the future.

Commitment #4: CommUnity Garden

CommUnity Garden

CommUnity Garden works to provide high school students from socioeconomically disadvantaged families with a source of healthy, fresh food and to spark their interest in pursuing careers in STEM fields. Previously working with Hoover High School’s Gardening Club and now currently partnered with the Lorax Garden Club at The Preuss School in La Jolla, California, CommUnity has helped to build raised bed gardens and aquaponics systems in which the students grow vegetables that they can take home to their families to increase food security. CommUnity also designs and leads workshops that teach the students science and engineering skills and concepts that promote their interest and capability in STEM fields.

Participant: Emma Zelus

Emma Zelus is a 3rd year Bioengineering: Biotechnology major at UC San Diego. Her previous and present work experience includes the UCSD Holway Lab (environmental research on habitat fragmentation), Alperin Lab (women’s reproductive health research) and Christman Lab (tissue engineering and regenerative medicine research). Currently a member of Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) and the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, Zelus is highly involved within UCSD. As a leader of ESW - CommUnity Garden, Zelus has increased membership and member participation, designed and presented workshops to students, and expanded her project to other high schools in San Diego. Zelus hopes to continue to expand her project’s reach in the greater San Diego Area and improve the project’s ability to provide STEM and environmental education to the students it works with.

Commitment #5: Project Lotus

Project Lotus

In 2018, Jenny Hong, Brandon Markey, and Roy Choi committed to build a sustainable filtration system comprised of an array of pillars designed to remove physical and chemical waste from the Citarum River in Indonesia. By doing this, they will be reducing the amount of pollution that enters the ocean through one of the most polluted rivers in the world. The team is currently working with the advisor of the UCSD Global TIES and have a partnership with the San Diego River Park Foundation (SDRPF). Upon completion of their project,  they anticipate an 80% reduction in plastic waste in the ocean and a 40% reduction in chemical toxins, bringing cleaner water to locals to promote sanitation and health.

Participants: Jenny Hong, Brandon Markey, and Roy Choi

Jenny Hong is a UCSD physics student that embraced her role as project lead in the  Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), a student-led organization that focuses on engineering projects that promote sustainability. For the past two years as project lead, Jenny has been conducting many build sessions, research/brainstorming days, and field test days for Project Lotus. She was recently elected as Director of Resource Management where she oversees the progress of 5 different projects under ESW and provides counseling, resources for funding and competitions/conferences, hosts workshops for technical skills, and serves as a liaison between chapter president and project leads. Both groups have given her countless opportunities to develop her skills as a professional and as an engineer in order to fulfill her long-term goal of diminishing the Pacific Garbage Patch.

Brandon Markey is a third-year nanoengineering student at UC San Diego who is focusing in the field of materials science.  Brandon’s interests in sustainable technology, environmental preservation, and their associated societal impacts have driven him to participate in many student organizations, including Engineers for a Sustainable World and Nanoengineering Technology and Society.  Additionally, Brandon has assumed leadership roles for the past three years as a collegiate athlete and has led project meetings and research sessions for the Lotus project.  Completing coursework through the Rady School of Management’s undergraduate business program has allowed Brandon to approach Lotus from a business perspective, which has subsequently helped Lotus to foresee potential legal and ethical concerns related to international projects.  Upon graduation, Brandon plans to pursue a graduate degree in materials science with the goal of developing and commercializing new sustainable materials based on the unique properties of matter observed at the nanoscale.

Roy Choi is a second-year UCSD mechanical engineering student born and raised in San Diego. Having grown up in a very eco-conscious community, he is passionate about helping bring a halt to climate change. Roy is currently involved in three major projects that tackle sustainability issues. He is the upcoming project lead for UCSD’s first ever Solar Car team. His efforts as the mechanical sub-team lead in Yonder DEEP’s glaciological exploration in Norway are furthering advancements in climate change research. Roy’s work with Project Lotus hopes to pave the way for sustainable filtration systems across the globe.

Commitment #6: One Village Philippines

One Village Philippines

In 2018, the One Village Philippines team committed to empowering impoverished Filipinos by creating a community-owned enterprise based on addressing the need for reliable lighting. The team has developed a solar-powered lantern to address this issue. Since 2010, they have partnered with Gawad Kalinga (GK), a Filipino NGO focused on poverty reduction and promoting local social entrepreneurship. The team plans on leveraging their partnership by piloting a community-owned enterprise with villagers in the Enchanted Farm, a GK village in the Bulacan province that is home to other social enterprises. By providing a framework through this enterprise, the team aims to promote increased level of productivity, education, and safety for villagers while helping alleviate socioeconomic adversity within one year.

Participants: Eric Richards, Elaine Silverman, Myuki Sasagawa

Eric Richards is a 3rd year student at UC San Diego. He double majors in Cognitive Science, Human-Computer Interaction and Design for Social Innovation, an individual major he created combining coursework from management, engineering, sociology, design, communication, and urban studies that is specifically focused on using human-centered design for social good. He is currently a Social Innovation team lead with the One Village Philippines team within UCSD Global TIES, a nationally recognized humanitarian engineering organization. Eric is also a team lead with UCSD Design for America, where he leads a team project centered on co-creating with minority youth to empower them to actively engage with their community. Eric also serves as a lead undergraduate researcher at the UCSD Design Lab where he works on conducting user research. Eric hopes to one day use human-centered design and social innovation to help alleviate poverty and empower community members around the world.

Elaine Silverman is a second year, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She chose to pursue engineering because of a love for math and physics, though she's really found her passion for engineering in its potential for environmental and humanitarian applications. On campus, she's part of the club gymnastics team and has become heavily involved in the student organization, Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW). She served as one of the project directors for the past year, and was recently elected the new Chapter President. She also works part time in a lab at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography that specializes in deploying buoys and mooring with instruments that collect data for climate change research. In her personal time, Elaine loves doing anything outdoors from backpacking to rock climbing.

Mayuki Sasagawa is  the Historian and Academic Chair of the Professional Engineering Organization called Theta Tau at University of California, San Diego. He takes photos that capture the engineering spirit of Theta Tau. He also facilitates academic success and excellence within the organization of Theta Tau. Additionally, he is an integral member of the Mars Rover Project called Yonder Dynamics. He is a part of the Motions team and has spent 10 hours/week creating a Mars Rover in preparation of the 2018 Mars Rover Competition.

Commitment #7: Giving H2O: Giving Hope 2 Others

Giving H2O: Giving Hope 2 Others

In September 2017, Kaela Wong pledged to provide a small community in Nakuru, Kenya with a potable source of water in efforts to decrease the public health issues caused by contraction of waterborne illnesses. She is in the process of designing a gravitational filtration system that will be implemented with chlorination and a defluoridation system to rid the water of any solid particles, bacteria, viruses, and excess fluoride. Kaela will work with a local water company to excavate a sump that will provide a local water source. By providing a local source of potable water and implementing sanitary stations and educational sanitation programs, Kaela expects to reduce the local incidence of waterborne, bacterial illnesses by 50%.

Participant: Kaela Wong

Kaela Wong is a third year Environmental Engineering major with a double minor in Global Health and Economics at UC San Diego. Outside of classes, she works as a Research Assistant at a carbon emissions lab where she analyzes the correlation between combustion of biomass, clean burning fuels, and ambient air pollution. She is also actively involved in Engineers for a Sustainable World and Engineers Without Borders. Within Engineers for a Sustainable World, she is a member of The Bioenergy Project, which works to convert campus food waste into purified methane gas, which can be used as a renewable source of electricity. In Engineers Without Borders, she serves as a project lead for two water filtration projects that aim to bring a clean, potable source of water to communities in Kenya and Mexico.

Commitment #8: PSA for All

PSA for All

In 2018, Leira Mae Digma and Nhat Quang Nguyen committed to continue their work in preventing sexual assault by implementing a comprehensive, inclusive educational curriculum for the K-12 students. They will continue to partner with the government officials from the City of Chula Vista, the Chula Vista Police Department, and the Sweetwater Union High School District. They expect to completely develop the curriculum by the end of 2019, train educators and law enforcement officers from January 2019 to July 2019, and implement the program in school in the Fall 2019. We expect to empower students to use the knowledge they have gained from our program to do their part in preventing sexual assault and combating rape culture.

Participants: Leira Digma and Nhat Quang Nguyen

Leira Mae Digma is in their third year of studying Economics at UCSD. They were raised in a low-neighborhood of San Diego by kind, loving, hard-working immigrant parents. Leira was exposed to various inequalities and their societal effects at a young age. These disparities are caused by years of systemic erasure and oppression are what initially, and continue to, drive Leira to make the world a more just place. Leira currently serves as a Youth Ambassador of California where their previous projects have focused on mental health care access in low income neighborhoods and ensuring classrooms are inclusive for all intersections of one’s identity. Leira is also employed on campus where they use data analysis that they are currently learning in a classes to create models that further student retention, specifically amongst first-generation college students.

Nhat Quang Nguyen is a fourth-year undergraduate at University of California San Diego studying Public Health. An aspiring public health nurse, his passions lie in community development and social change. Nguyen strives to continually learn about communities outside of his own; he has engaged in several service learning trips, both international and domestic, working on the issues of poverty, youth empowerment, inequality in healthcare access, and HIV/AIDS prevention. He is currently a Life Course Scholar, researching the effects of the social, economic, and environmental climate on the aging population and collaborating with San Diego senior communities to develop social support systems to address these complications. Nguyen is a third-year student leader for both Warren College Transfer Commuter Commission and the Public Health Club at UC San Diego.

Commitment #9: Hapty Hearts: Connecting mother and baby, heartbeat by heart

Hapty Hearts: Connecting mother and baby, heartbeat by heart

Niranjanaa Jeeva, Ella Stimson and Julie Yip have committed to advocating for maternal mental health and applying technology to address perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). They will build Hapty Hearts, a two piece wearable device that strives to alleviate new mothers’ postpartum depression symptoms and feelings of detachment by utilizing heart rate feedback to connect mother and child. The goal is to provide the mother with the sensation of her child’s heart beat and be comforted both physically and mentally. The team will partner with local hospitals, postpartum support groups, and community organizations to reach mothers and test the device. They expect to increase awareness of PMADs in San Diego county by 40%.

Participants: Julie Yip and Niranjanaa Jeeva

Julie Yip is a fourth year undergrad studying Bioengineering: Biotechnology at UC San Diego who is passionate about reproductive women’s health and maternal mental health. She has previously served as Vice President of UCSD Engineering World Health, an organization dedicated to creating low-cost medical devices for underserved communities, and has been an active member of the UCSD Biomedical Engineering Society’s Outreach Committee since she was a freshman. This past year, she was part of The Vagina Monologues and TheirStories production at UCSD, for which all proceeds benefited local organizations focused on supporting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Driven by human empathy (and aiding babies!), Julie strives to combine her interests in engineering, design thinking, and advocacy into her professional post-graduate career, all centered in women's health.

Niranjanaa Jeeva is a third year Bioengineering student at UC San Diego, who is currently the Junior President of the University's Engineering World Health chapter and an embedded mentor with the Analytical Writing Program. She is passionate about women's health and engineering for under-served populations, and hopes to work in the intersection of public health, global health, and engineering. She strives to increase access to healthcare by applying culturally aware technology to long standing problems such as mental health.

Commitment #10: Improving Accountability in Public Health in India

Improving Accountability in Public Health in India

In 2018, Koki Sato committed to develop a SMS notification system that enables message deliveries to patients so that they can have access to operating days or hours at public health clinics in India, which, in general, are subject to change. Koki will make monthly, weekly, and daily message services so that patients can adjust and react to a sudden change in operation hours or days and go and see the doctors. He will partner with a NGO and health workers to expand the use of the mailing list to inform people of accurate information. Koki expects to see a decline in patients’ visits to empty facilities by 80%, foregone earnings by 50%, and travel costs by 30%.

Participant: Koki Sato

Koki Sato is a junior student at University of California, San Diego and currently working towards a Bachelor Degree in Economics and Mathematics. As an Economics student, he has focused not only on studying but also on volunteering in several countries, including India, Cambodia, and Japan. He started a project in Nepal with friends and raised $9,000 to rebuild five houses that had been destroyed by the huge earthquake in 2016. He was motivated by his own experience of the 2011-Japan earthquake that brought devastating damage to his hometown. Since the project in Nepal, he has been strongly interested in development economics to improve people’s lives and welfare and been in charge of Treasure in Tritons for UNICEF, a student organization supporting UNICEF’s lifesaving work. He is a well-rounded individual who lives with passion, dedication, and grace.

Commitment #11: Move-Ed: A Trauma-Informed Dance Curriculum

Move-Ed: A Trauma-Informed Dance Curriculum 

In 2018, Movement Exchange at UCSD (Move-Ex) dance diplomats committed to developing a trauma-informed dance curriculum (Move-Ed) to increase children’s well-being. The project will use literature reviews and fieldwork data to develop a Curriculum Handbook. Move-Ed will provide at-risk youth in low-income or foster care centers with year-long dance programming. The project has mentorship from incubators and dance professionals. Volunteering is provided by local non-profit partners and college students. The overall goal is to help teachers improve wellbeing for at-risk youth who often face Adverse Childhood Experiences. They aim to reach 100 youth in San Diego this year. At their August 2018 conference, they trained a nationwide network of dance teachers to do the same in their communities.

Participants: Alice Lu, Emily Robleza, and Shannell Ciruso

Alice Lu is an aspiring physician interested in trauma, rehabilitation, and health inequities. She is passionate about improving well-being for at-risk youth. In her 16 years of dance training in various ethnic styles, she witnessed the unique way that dance and performance builds character and bridges people together. She identified the potential for dance as a universal language for teaching and therapy, and is proud to see how much impact her Movement Exchange at UC San Diego team has made since then. Alice will be graduating this year having created a strong track record for enacting positive change in her communities through social entrepreneurship. In her time at UC San Diego, she has established two non-profits, in addition to taking internship experiences educating peers on mental health alongside psychologists, providing physical treatment and rehabilitation for student athletes, and outreaching about cancer prevention to the API community.

Emily Robleza has been the outreach coordinator for the leading after school program at Movement Exchange at UC San Diego for two years now. She is glad to be able to combine her three passions: dance, culture, and service. Her approach to teaching the underserved children in low-income schools emphasizes building trusting relationships, and her compassion and thoughtfulness has allowed the program to grow in both students and newly trained teachers. Her dance experience comes from years on various teams and in dance classes. She also regularly volunteers with diverse demographics sharing and learning cultural knowledge with others while making close connections along the way. Emily is now an active researcher for the Move-Ed curriculum development, pulling from her field experiences to weave dance classes with lessons of respect, safety, and open-mindedness. She hopes to continue to work with underserved communities after graduating through research and community building.

Shannell Ciruso is an aspiring dance therapist. She began her journey in 5th grade through color guard, and fell in love with how dance gave her freedom of expression. Shannell turned to it for safety in high school after the loss of a parent, and also to reconnect with her brother. Her dedication led her to take on competitions and teaching roles in the community. Carrying her passion to a new school, she found a home in Movement Exchange at UC San Diego where she could further combine dance, education, and community service. Shannell is a creative leader and a natural working with kids. By the first half of the school year, Shannell had already taught at 26+ outreaches. She also organizes cultural dance workshops on-campus and teaches at-risk youth and seniors in San Diego in order to provide that safe place she found to others who are struggling.

Commitment #12: Move Around The World: A New Course at UC San Diego

Move Around The World: A New Course at UC San Diego

Jane Alvarado, Xiangdi Zhang, and Pei-Yun Tsai are committed to develop a course that bridges the traditional classroom and kinesthetic learning environment to raise UC San Diego students’ cross-cultural understandings. The course will address the pressing problem of the lack of innovative methods to foster an environment that all students feel included in campus and experience equitable opportunities in achieving their aspirations of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).  The team will collaborate with the Urban Studies Department,  Theater and Dance Department, Associated Students, and the Office of DEI of UC San Diego to achieve this goal.  The committee expect to open the course to the entire UC San Diego student population in 18 months.

Participants: Jane Alavardo, Xiangdi Zhang, and Pei-Yun Tsai

Jane Alavardo has participated in Musician's Club as a songwriting mentor and performer. She enjoys singing, writing lyrics, and music improvisation. She attained experience in slam poetry through the study of Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Her interest in nature, architecture, and writing have helped her evolve creative innovative solutions in the realm of dance. The dance curriculum she implemented through intense research of metaphysics and quasi-philosophy in the department of UC San Diego with Movement Exchange, has brought her to the position of an Artistic Director. Her contribution has made her feel blessed in examining psychology, arts, and humanities for the empowerment of society. She continuously seeks to find other forms of examination for enhancing low-income communities and her passion of researching spirituality. Mindfulness is one of the factors she takes into consideration when communicating with alchemy resonance. She is a strong advocate for multicultural integrative solutions.

Xiangdi Zhang was the UC San Diego CGIU Student Representative 2018. When the cultural barrier moving from China to the United States left her feeling alienated, Xaingdi (Emily) joined her high school dance team and gained a new sense of belonging. Now an outgoing community activist, she organizes open dance workshops at UCSD and teaches at-risk youth in San Diego and abroad. Utilizing dance as a catalyst to serve communities, she also dances to empower other females through UCSD’s all-female hip hop dance team, 4N01. Additionally, she is also a student activist with California Public Interest Research Group(CalPIRG) at UCSD. During the 2016 election, she organized the campaign to save the California Plastic Bag Ban (Prop 67) at UCSD to protect the ocean wildlife. Currently, she is campaigning to âSave The Bees by banning neonicotinoids in La Jolla, California.

Pei-Yun Tsai chose to major in Psychology to be a mental health advocate for the Pan-Asian area and to dedicate herself to community service. Pei-Yun stumbled upon Movement Exchange when she enrolled in UC San Diego. Although intimidated by dance, Pei-Yun was fascinated by the cause of Movement Exchange and encouraged by the stories of other non-dancer members’ involvements and growth. Eager to contribute more to Movement Exchange, Pei-Yun joined the marketing committee and utilized her talent in graphic design and experience with social media marketing to promote the student organization's cause and publicize events. Now a seasoned volunteer, Pei-Yun actively joins dance workshops on campus and volunteers as assistant dance instructor weekly at Mary and Gary West Senior Wellness Center in downtown San Diego. She is looking forward to advocating for the integration of culture, dance, and mental health.

Commitment #13: Fostering economic independence of the Hijra Community

Fostering economic independence of the Hijra Community

In 2018, Yogitha Chareddy, Akhilesh Yeluru, and Jordan Setayesh committed to establishing a communal space for gardening and garment production accessible to the Hijra population in Bangalore, India. The team will provide basic materials and land for these purposes, and utilize local NGO’s like Jeeva to establish a consistent trade mechanism between Hijras and urban areas, allowing Hijras to sell without stigmatization. Having a community that supports the productive activities of the Hijras will protect them from social and economic oppression faced in urban areas. The group expects that at least 75% of members will eliminate dependency on sex work, develop a new vocational skill, and fully support themselves from their activities at the community center in 24 months.

Participants: Jordan Setayesh, Yogitha Chareddy, and Akhilesh Yeluru

Jordan Setayesh is a 3rd-year Biochemistry and Cell Biology Major at the University of California, San Diego. He does signal transduction research at Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. He is co-founder of the student volunteer organization San Diego Health Connect, which seeks to address the social determinants of health in the impoverished San Diego communities. They travel to food banks and meal services to talk one-on-one with individuals about the free and reduced cost health resources in the San Diego area. He also volunteers at Palomar Medical Center in the physical therapy department where he works with physical therapists to directly provide rehabilitation therapy. He also writes educational articles about economics for the Foundation for Economic Education. His articles have been featured by outlets such as Yahoo News and Newsweek.

Yogitha Chareddy is a junior at UC San Diego studying Molecular Biology and Business. Her experiences as a queer, second-generation American have greatly influenced her perspectives on global issues, leading her to develop a Commitment to Action that focuses on assisting the transgender community in her home country, India. Her volunteer work is partly inspired by her involvement with TEDxUCSD as a Finance Director, where she was exposed to diverse, inspirational speakers, and by her activities as a trustee on the board for Student Foundation, a UC San Diego based philanthropy organization. She has participated in numerous volunteer committees and organizations on campus such as Volunteer50, and spends many weekends at the San Diego Food Bank and the San Diego Humane Society. Her interest in scientific communication has led her to adopt community service projects on enhancing scientific literacy in underserved communities in San Diego.

Akhilesh Yeluru is a third year Bioengineering major from UC San Diego. His role as Sponsorship Executive on the Triton Engineering Student Council and as Secretary and Treasurer of the Society for Undergraduate Research and Outreach has allowed him to hone his leadership and communication abilities. As a Palomar Health Pathmaker Intern and a volunteer through UCSD Include Autism, he has had the opportunity to perform the function of a CNA in clinical and nonclinical settings. His international service experiences have opened his eyes to the dire situations of people around the world and have inspired him to be a part of the change. He has volunteered at old age homes and orphanages in India and the US, was part of a team that built a house for a Tijuanan family in need, and has spent time working at free clinics in Tijuana and the US.

Commitment #14: Solar Water Heater & Water Purification for Orphanages in Mexico

Solar Water Heater & Water Purification for Orphanages in Mexico

Baja del Sol is committed to designing and implementing sustainable and affordable water heating systems and drinking water purification systems for orphanages in Baja California, Mexico, in order to improve children’s well-being and alleviate orphanages’ financial burden. The team partners with La Mision Children Fund, a nonprofit that connects Baja del Sol to various underprivileged orphanages that experience hot and/or clean water insecurity. By the end of 2018, the team aims to ensure four orphanages have hot and clean water for daily usage, ultimately saving each orphanage approximately $760 per year.

Participants: Joanne Ting-Yu Hsu and Michael Yiu

Joanne Ting-Yu Hsu is a devoted product designer and engineer who thrives to bring design thinking and good products to underserved communities. She is currently the team lead for Baja Del Sol and the founder/director for the Menstrual Experience. In both projects, she ensures her team to create solutions that are user-centered. She is also an artist, photographer and physicist who loves to provokes interesting conversations with different people through art and science.

Michael Yiu is an eccentric, amicable individual with a variety of interests and hobbies that makes him enjoyable to be around. Academically, he shows interest in using the knowledge he has applied from his engineering courses to humanitarian projects, such as the Baja Solar Water Heater Project, helping to provide sustainable, hot water to orphanages in Tijuana. However, Michael is also a Renaissance man; aside from a rigorous engineering course load, he expresses his artistic side through film, photography, and improv performances. His has proven his leadership skills through taking roles leading a team to create an air sampling device for the city of San Diego, and leading another team to developing a fully functioning robot for competition.

Commitment #15: DIABEATIT


Andres Baez and his colleagues committed to create better health education opportunities for food scarce families. Together, his group will implement their gameplay in various elementary schools, hospital waiting rooms, and will make it available for download on personal devices. We are aiming to help children (ages 8-13) and their families make more health conscious choices.

Participant: Andres Baez

Andres Baez is a third year Cognitive Science student at UCSD who specializes in design and human computer interaction. He has been involved heavily in design organizations on campus such as Design For America, a nationwide design studio that uses human-centered design to solve complex social issues. In his time in DFA he has contributed to the research/development of products and services concerned with senior citizen mobility and civic engagement in minority youth. Aside from DFA, Andres currently works in UCSD's Design Lab as an undergraduate research assistant. His project, CommunityCrit, is an online crowdsourcing platform that allows community members to give their input on citywide design choices that affect their daily lives. In class, has worked as a team lead within the Global TIES organization on campus for his project, DIABEATIT. The project is a health education game, aimed at children 8-13 years old.

Commitment #16: Plastic With a Purpose: Reusing Plastics for Environmental Education

Plastic With A Purpose: Reusing Plastics for Environmental Education

In 2018, Samantha Kuglen committed to launching an environmental education initiative to repurpose plastics for K-12 low-income and underserved students in California public schools. The goal is to tackle the issue of plastic waste pollution and help San Diego reach its Zero Waste Initiative to reduce waste by 75% by 2020. Samantha will create programs that weave environmental education with fun and engaging art and STEM projects using recycled plastics. She plans to partner with teachers and after-school programs in these two school districts and environmental sustainability professors at the University of California, San Diego. The expected outcomes are to reduce plastic consumption and plastic waste and educate youth on the importance of environmental sustainability in a developing world.

Participant: Samantha Kuglen

Samantha Kuglen is passionate about community service and environmental stewardship. She is majoring in Environmental System Studies and is actively involved on campus. She has been a member of Alternative Breaks at UCSD for two years, where she participated in service over her spring breaks to help serve communities with pressing social justice issues. In 2017, she worked on a reforestation and environmental education project in Yunguilla, Ecuador and in 2018 she worked on a mental health and youth empowerment project in Kansas City, Missouri. She has also served as an intern for the UCSD Student Sustainability Collective, where she advocated campaigns for the University of California to divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy. She worked with the San Diego Sierra Club to perform and outreach to state legislators and the University of California Board of Regents for sustainable energy solutions for the future.

Commitment #17: Yo me cuido, yo decido (My body, my choice)

Yo me cuido, yo decido  (My body, my choice)

In 2018, Karina Collins and Camila Sanchez committed to address gender violence and teenage pregnancy in Cartagena - Colombia. They designed a young mothers educational program in collaboration with the Juanfe Foundation. Juanfe was founded in 2001 and has since helped over 5,000 teenage mothers. Through an innovative program, they will empower women to take ownership of their bodies and develop a violence-free life plan, providing tools to secure economic stability, despite the diminished opportunities and the vulnerabilities that come with teenage pregnancy. The program aims to avoid new pregnancies of current participants for at least 5 years after enrollment in the program and to ensure occupational retention of affiliated mothers for the first 2 years after the program.

Participants: Camila Sanchez

Camila Sanchez is an undergraduate student pursuing a double major in Public Health and Sociology. She was born and raised in Colombia and travelled to the US to find tools that would let her give back to communities in need. In Colombia, she was able to engage in meaningful experiences as a volunteer at the Colombian Red Cross and got certifications as an instructor for  the Sexual Education program and the Peace Program working in the most disenfranchised communities in her city: Cali. At UCSD, she was a part of a leadership program at the Women’s Center and also collaborated with the Sustainability Center on campus as the ambassador for Public Health education. She is currently a Residential Advisor and a Research Assistant in Sociology, conducting field work for a study on Mexican deportees in Tijuana. She is driven and curious and wants to learn more and do more for others.

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