Congratulations to the Winners of the Spring 2019 Forum Pitch Competition

Spring 2019
By Donel Young

Each semester, first-year Honors College students create more than 50 social innovation projects in the Honors College interdisciplinary mission course, the Forum. The primary role of the Forum is to help students develop traits and non-cognitive skills—such as critical thinking, problem solving, social interaction, persistence, creativity, and introspection—so they may contribute meaningfully to society and succeed in life. During the Forum, students collaborate to tackle global issues and learn how to transform their ideas into action.

Fifteen teams were chosen by peers this spring to present at the Forum plenary before a panel of judges from business and academia and approximately 250 peers. Congratulations to all of the teams who presented and to the six teams who placed—three chosen by the judges and a different three chosen by peers!

Winning Projects

First Place 

Kits to Kids Project


Behavior Book Project

Kits for Kids–Judges' Choice
A meal preparation subscription concept to target childhood obesity in Jackson, Mississippi by increasing access to affordable healthy food and teaching families how to prepare nutritious meals, while also engaging children in exercise in a safe environment.

Project created by (L-R): 
Matthew Aliberto ('22, SOE/HC), 
Qi Jorgensen ('22, SOE/HC), 
Nila Uthirasamy ('22, SAS/HC/DRC), 
Harsheen Singh ('22, SAS/HC), 
Timothy Reid ('22, SAS/HC)

Professor (L): Robyn Miranda


Behavior Book—Students' Choice
A monthly coloring book subscription to help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn facial, tonal, and body language cues. 

Project created by (L-R): 
Anna Mui ('22, SAS/HC), 
Nestor Bravo ('22, SAS/HC), 
Catherine Hunt ('22, SAS/HC), 
Autumn Rauscher ('22, SAS/HC), 
Mehdi Kamal ('22, SAS/HC)

Professor (L): Jazmin Puicon

Second Place

Seafeed Project


Soco Straws Project

SeaFeed–Judges' Choice
A two-pronged plan to both reduce the accumulation of the invasive seaweed Sargassum in Barbados and improve milk and meat quality in cows for Barbadian farmers by processing the seaweed into a cattle feed supplement.

Project created by (L-R):
Joshua Yu ('22, SAS/HC),
Lawrence Stevens ('22, SAS/HC),
Michaela Lozada ('21, MGSA/HC/DRC),
Maanas Shete ('22, RBS/HC)

Professor (L): Gabe Villegas


SoCo Straws—Students' Choice
A social model that uses the horsetail plant to make straws in place of plastic to help reduce plastic pollution while employing local residents in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a city that relies on fishing and manufacturing to support its economy.

Project created by (L-R): 
Sameer Shah ('22, SOE/HC), 
Catherine Nachtigal ('22, SOE/HC), 
Jocelyn Dacquel ('22, SAS/HC), 
Jeremy Lewan ('22, SEBS/HC), 
Michelle Xu ('22, SAS/HC)

Professor (R): Talia Robbins


Third Place 

Garlic Kits Project


Patriot Pouch Project

Garlic Growing Kit–Judges' Choice
A plan to replace last-resort antibiotics with garlic to be grown and processed by rural communities in Maharashtra, India to tackle the dangerous development of antibiotic resistance in poultry farming. 

Project created by (L-R): 
Anita Gosevska ('22, MGSA/HC), 
Gian Tricarico ('22, SAS/HC), 
Aaron Scheiner ('22, SAS/HC),
Nathan Yu ('22, SAS/HC), 
Joanne Chung ('22, SAS/HC/DRC)

Professor (L): Tina Drew


Patriot Pouch—Students' Choice
A social business to address unintentional gun death by providing a portable and affordable gun storage solution and employing veterans to produce and sell the pouch at gun shows across the South and online. 

Project created by (L-R):
Isak Larsson ('22, SAS/HC),
Peter Lipke ('22, SAS/HC),
Alexander Cohen ('22, SAS/HC),
Aditi Kiron ('22, SAS/HC/DRC), 
Caroline Savage ('22, SAS/HC)

Professor (R): Kristina Howansky