Congratulations to the Winners of the Honors College Forum Spring 2017 Pitch Competition!

Spring 2017
By Donel Young

The Honors College Spring Forum resulted in more than 50 exceptional project ideas with social innovation at their core. From among those projects, 13 were chosen to be presented in front of peers and a panel of professional judges from academia and industry. Innovations ranged from alternative food sources to combat malnutrition and renewable energy business models to lower costs for low income families, to new approaches to feminine hygiene in developing countries, solutions to give the homeless a lift, and an app to help consumers make eco-friendly and affordable choices at the grocery store. Congratulations to the Honors College Spring Forum Pitch Competition winners—HIDN and PeriPlant—and to all of the teams who presented!

Winning Projects

HIDN Project


An accessible and secure storage place for homeless people to keep their Federal ID and other important documents, which are essential for them to receive the government support they need to rise out of poverty.

Project created by: Aarti Badami (RBS/HC), Timothy Nuber (SAS/HC), Cameron Ladd (SEBS/HC), Elizabeth Park (SAS/HC), and Navruz Baum (SOE/HC)

Professor: Joseanne Cudjoe


PeriPlant project


A maker of environmentally friendly sanitary pads for women in developing countries to use and manufacture, as well as for women in developed countries seeking feminine care products that are biodegradable and sourced from sustainably grown materials. 

Project created by: Benjamin Cohen (SAS/HC), Neeha Pathan (SAS/HC), Tiger Li (SAS/HC), and Ali Ozkan (SOE/HC).

Professor: Nirav Patel.

First Runners-Up


A creator of mycoprotein, a meat substitute made from fungus to help combat malnutrition affordably and sustainably, and contribute to local economies.

Project created by: Kelvin Liu (SAS/HC), Amanda Liyanaarachchi (SEBS/HC), Aditya Shastri (SAS/HC), and Jonas Tai (SAS/HC).

Professor: Nirav Patel. 


A company that uses algae to trap heavy metals in polluted waters and separate them later, using the algae for other purposes like biofuels.

Project created by: Jasmine Cheung (SEBS/HC), Massimo DiSanto (SEBS/HC), Jaidev Phadke (SAS/HC), and Nnenna Ukenna-Izuwa (SAS/HC).

Professor: Nirav Patel.

Second Runners-Up

Green Grades

A consumer app that standardizes the criteria for rating various products by their eco-friendliness and incentivizes consumers with coupons to purchase environmentally responsible products. 

Project created by: Ryan Denbo (SAS/HC), Patricia Jastrzebska-Perfect (SAS/HC), Aashana Patel (SAS/HC), and Elena Wei (SAS/HC).

Professor: Abbie Reardon.

Seeds to STEM

A program to grow interest among young students in poor communities in programming and computer science, engineering, and environmentalism and sustainability to help develop job skills that are in demand.

Project created by: Erica Cai (SAS/HC), Sriharish Pingali (SAS/HC), and Varun Ravichandran (SOE/HC). 

Professor: Matt Matsuda. 


A solar energy company focused on providing cheaper, renewable electricity to low-income families through solar farms on urban brownfields.

Project created by: Rithika Korrapolu (SAS/HC), Tom Kusoffsky (SOE/HC), Phurushotham Shekar (SOE/HC), and Kyra Yap (SAS/HC).

Professor: Paul Gilmore.