By Susan Davis and Dóri Pap
Georgia Tech is surrounded by social innovators. The Institute for Leadership and Social Impact (ILSI), is fortunate to be partnering with seven of them as part of the 2022 Ideas to Serve: Civil Bikes, Best Fit, Step Ahead Scholars, TruDiary, Helping Empower Youth! (HEY), Nourish Botanica, and Umi Feeds. These groups, all led by women, are addressing issues ranging from maternal health deserts, to food insecurity, to preserving and promoting Atlanta's lesser-known civil rights landmarks, to helping young people get to and through college. Join us at the Ideas to Serve showcase on April 18 (5 PM in Scheller College of Business) to meet and network with these amazing partners and to vote for your favorite student presentation.
In a continued quest to develop meaningful and equitable community partnerships, this year, ILSI is investing the funds contributed by generous sponsors to fund the work that these women and their organizations are doing in the communities around Georgia Tech.
2022 Ideas to Serve sponsors are The Cecil B. Day Program for Business Ethics, the Center for Serve - Learn - Sustain, The Denning Technology & Management Program, Center for International Business Education and Research, Design Bloc, VentureLab, Global Development Program at Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, Scheller College of Business, Mosley Ventures, Speechworks, Georgia Social Impact Collaborative.
“This program allows students to have real-world experiences, gain a more rounded perspective of their community, and be challenged with co-design,” says Nedra Deadwyler of Civil Bikes. “Community leaders need specific expertise to do their work and may lack more technical and analytical skills that would help support the development of their work. This collaboration offers the opportunity for that kind of support.”
Nedra Deadwyler, Founder of Civil Bikes with the student team.
The Social Impact course is designed as a series of workshops to help students learn techniques to deeply understand social problems, from root cause analysis to asset-based community development to active listening. As part of the course, student teams have been working with and learning from our social innovator partners to develop stakeholder maps. Stakeholders are not just the people the organization serves. They can be within the organization (staff, volunteers, board of directors) or outside of the organization (people you want to help, donors, partner organizations, businesses, policy/decision-makers). Students also learn why it’s important to include people who are keeping the problem in place as stakeholders.
Erica Clahar, Founder of Umi Feeds, with the student team.
For the students, working with partners to develop a stakeholder map helps them gain a deeper understanding of the root causes of a social issue. For the community partners, a stakeholder map can serve multiple purposes. It can be helpful in developing or refreshing an organizational strategy, identifying opportunities for advocacy, finding new partners, and creating targeted communications plans.
“From drawing upon current solutions to identifying potential stakeholders, working closely with HEY has taught me the necessary tools to lay out the full scope of working with Atlanta youth along with the complexities and gaps in the solution landscape. In equipping me with those tools, I2S has influenced my ability to approach complex problems in a more comprehensive manner; something that I have begun to utilize in my own entrepreneurial and academic pursuits at GT.” (Christopher Hur, Industrial Engineering student working with I2S partner Helping Empower Youth! founded by KaCey Venning)
The Social Impact course (I2S Workshop) in action.
"As a Pre-Health student passionate about making healthcare more accessible to all, my experience working with Veronica from TruDiary was very meaningful! During these last three months, I learned how the social issue tackled by TruDiary is multifaceted in nature and one that affects everyone, not just minority or underserved mothers. I am very thankful for having the opportunity to participate in the I2S program as it helped solidify my career interests in advocating for health equity and accessibility and served as a meaningful way to close my undergraduate career at Tech!" (Ritika Chanda, Neuroscience - working with TruDiary founder Veronica Berry)
The other advantage to working in this way is to model equitable collaborations and encourage mutual learning among the instructors, students, and partners. With learning, investment, and modeling equitable ways of working, Georgia Tech can have multiple levels of impact.
“This kind of work connects universities, nonprofits, and communities to sorely needed social equity conversations and work,” says Debra Nealy of Step Ahead Scholars. “ Social justice work is hard, and you can often feel like you are swimming upstream. Work that serves others, effects change and creates true equity can be lonely work. It shouldn't be!”
Meet the 2022 Ideas to Serve Teams:
Best Fit (Founder: Asha Owens)
Student team: Kimaya Colaco (CS), Andrew Todd (BA), Mithil Verma (CS)
Civil Bikes (Founder: Nedra Deadwyler)
Student team: Kayley Beard (ARCH), Jackson Grant (BA), Harrison Padgett (BA)
Helping Empower Youth! (Founder: KaCey Venning)
Student team: Ben Crowe (ME), Christopher Hur (IE), Neha Lalani (CS), Henna Mian (MA CS)
Nourish Botanica (Founder: Quianah Upton)
Student team: Meagan Greenzaid (BA), Min Sol Lee (IE), Josh Thrift (CHBE)
Step Ahead Scholars (Founder: Debra Nealy)
Student team: Na'Charlesia Floyd (IE), Sydney Hambacker (ECON & INTA), Ben Kuperschmid (ME)
TruDiary (Founder: Veronica Berry)
Student team: Ritika Chanda, Neuroscience | Krishan Patel, Computer Science |Ella Rossiter, Biomedical Engineering
Umi Feeds (Founder: Erica Clahar)
Student team: Dheeraj Bandaru, (CS), Reagan Donnelly (BA), Safwan Jaleel (IE)
Abortion Accessibility (Global Development Capstone Course)
Jessica Ball (LMC), Mia Huff (BE) Meghan Kulkarni (CS), Chloe Thomas (INTA & ML)
Go Green GT (Global Development Capstone Course)
Adaugo Achionye (ME), Pelumi Oluleye (BME), Bernardo Pinto (INTA)
The Institute for Leadership and Social Impact is an interdisciplinary institute that promotes servant leadership and social innovation that contribute to a more just, caring, and equitable world.