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2021 Competition & Awards

In October 2020, eight semi-finalist teams were chosen in the eighth competition of the SIPA Dean’s Public Policy Challenge. Semifinalist teams participated in bootcamps including Prototyping, Financial Planning, Law and Startups and Effective Pitching. Teams were also provided support through funding and a team of Advisors. In February 2021, four finalist teams were selected to further refine and develop their projects. Winners of the eighth round of competition were announced in April 2021. 


EZ Health: At the onset of COVID19, telemedicine claims increased by 8,336% nationally. Currently, all major platforms are providing services in English with a very few in Spanish as the only alternative. We propose addressing this emerging communications and health-access gap by developing a technology that directly connects patients with healthcare providers (e.g. doctors, psychologists and others) who speak the same language and/or share similar ethnic backgrounds. 

Students: Sebastian Rositano, Amanda Papir, Etizaz Shah, Nami Patel, Lifeng Zhang


Tech2Protect: Tech2Protect will seek to address gender based violence (GBV) in underserved communities in Recife, Brazil and New York City, USA. Tech2Protect will develop Athena, a learning platform for elementary level educators to prevent GBV and child abuse by integrating key topics into school curricula. Athena will allow educators to monitor GBV and abuse in real time, providing an unprecedented evidence-base for educators and policy makers at the local, state, and federal levels to take action.

Students: Madeleine Dejean, Julia Dias, Minji Ko, Saiful Salihudin, Marjorie Tolsdorf, Renata Penalva


Open Ta'lim: Open Ta'lim is a venture that seeks to enable equitable access to educational opportunity at the post-secondary level for Arabs in Israel, namely Jerusalem, by leveraging the ubiquity of technology in educational instruction introduced by the COVID-19 Pandemic (e.g., Zoom and online material access), to integrate a private, PET-exam preparation curriculum with high schools in East Jerusalem. The PET is the Israeli equivalent of the SAT that currently serves as a material impediment for Jerusalemite and other Arabs in Israel who seek to continue their education at Israeli universities.

Students: Roni S. Belenki, Mohammad A. Salhut


She Sailed: She Sailed is the first women’s empowerment focused networking mobile app in Japan and later on globally that is a one-stop shop, connecting women to industry leaders and resources to navigate their future with the right mentorship.

Students: Daria Schitrit, Gergana Tsvetanova, Momori Hirabayashi



Ekatra Life: Female Unemployment in India has been significantly worsened by COVID-19, particularly for artisans belonging to low-income communities. Our solution aims to create alternative income mechanisms for women artisans by creating a platform that will: provide a marketplace to sell products; host articles and blog posts to highlight the challenges while chronicling the work done by women artisans; update host organizations about changing policies and market trends; and train women in new skills and technologies.  

Students: Aparna Arora, Lavanya Lal, Raghuram Guda, Shruti Kedia


Gen Alpha-Pal: Gen Alpha-Pal is a virtual platform where children from primary school learn about diversity and mutual respect through ad hoc experiences. Children from different nationalities, races, and social backgrounds will interact through a series of modules ranging from humanities to science curated by experts on inclusive learning. Our main goal is to nurture the next generation to embrace diversity and mutual respect as their core values.

Students: Denisse Becerra, Julia Tauscher, Elene Metreveli


Sarparast: Sarparast is a centralized platform that aims to help survivors of gender-based violence in Pakistan by providing them immediate support through affirming and informational messages, while also connecting them to trusted resources. Our mission is to inform survivors about their rights and make them feel safe and supported by using innovative methods to achieve this end. Due to the lack of internet access for most women in Pakistan, our platform will initially be a hotline and SMS number which  survivors can use to receive immediate help.

Students: Ahmad Jamal Wattoo, Katia Joo, Yerkebulan Kadirov, Shikhar Madan, Juliana Chiva, Irina Elena Preotescu, Jeongmook Lim


Urban Village: Urban Village seeks to narrow the learning gap exacerbated by Covid-19 related distance learning that disproportionately affects BIPOC and low-income families at P.S. 115, in NYC District 6 in Washington Heights. Urban Village will create a mentorship program whereby top-performing high school  students will mentor & tutor 2nd  & 3rd grade students, providing homework help and serving as a bridge between  parents and  the classroom.

Students: Dania L. Acosta, Kathertez Peña, Gricelidys Santos, Laura G. Tejeda, Sharely Santos