Project Support Program

PSP is an invitation-only program to provide additional support for promising ventures in the LPCE ecosystem. Student teams will receive funding, mentorship from a professional in their field, exclusive access to entrepreneurship skill-building workshops, network expansion, guidance from LPCE staff, and the opportunity to pitch to a VC firm.

Barefoot Edu Foundation

Main applicant: Jonathan Mendonca

Paired Mentor: Prof. Chris Dede

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The impact that COVID-19 has had on the education system has rekindled the need to re-examine education systems in context to the 21st century and its challenges. Hundreds of millions of children are affected by the current standard of poor quality education and it will take approximately a century for children in poor countries to catch up to today’s education levels in rich countries (Winthrop and McGivney, 2015) if the education system is not drastically improved.

Rehnuma is an incubator for principals of schools in India that builds their capacity in entrepreneurship to create 21st century schools and contribute local solutions to the ecosystem. The incubator takes a threefold approach 1] Capacity building of incubated principals (in entrepreneurship and school management) 2] Documentation (of innovative school improvement solutions) 3] Scaling solutions (through government partnerships and advocacy). Rehnuma Coaches guide Principals to navigate the documented solutions and apply workshop learnings to school transformation projects of their choice using their local knowledge and skill sets. In a survey conducted with 74 principals across India, nearly all found Rehnuma interventions to be practical & relevant to their context.

GoYogi

Main applicant: Shruthi Kumar

Paired Mentor: Kayla Davis

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Seventy-five percent of high schoolers are often or always feeling stressed. Anxiety is the top concern among college students, followed by depression. And each day, there are over 3,470 suicide attempts by young people grades 9-12. The solutions that currently exist to address student mental health are largely reactive, such as therapy or medication. However, these solutions are not always accessible or affordable, especially for low-income communities.

To address this issue, I started a non-profit organization called GoYogi, which aims to increase access to proactive, mindfulness-based mental health education worldwide. We take a preventative approach to student mental health by integrating mindfulness exercises, focus drills, and breathing techniques directly into the school’s curriculum. The GoYogi Program utilizes audio technology to connect students with custom mindfulness-based mental health resources and provides them with the tools they need to build resilience on a daily basis. The program has been used at Marian High School in Omaha, Nebraska for 4 years, a school and community college for low-income students in India, an Alzheimer’s Care Center, and an elementary school in Omaha. In collaboration with the Nebraska School Board Association, we have advocated for a bill to be passed regarding mindfulness in schools to address Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Especially in a post-pandemic era, access to mental health resources aimed at building resilience is needed now more than ever. The GoYogi Program creates a school and workplace culture which establishes health and wellbeing as a priority.

Mobile Memory

Main Applicant: Drew Gupta

Paired Mentor: David Reese

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Mobile Memory is harnessing the power of AI/ML to identify the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease via vocal biomarkers. Our goal as a venture is to develop a novel screening tool utilizing speech analytics that can streamline detection of neurological diseases in under-resourced communities within developing countries. Our platform consists of two components: a natural language processing algorithm and Memory Bank.

(1) We implement NLP to analyze speech patterns and assess an individual’s cognitive health. The user speaks into the app when prompted with questions. Their speech sample (about 30-120 seconds) is recorded. The speech is broken down into linguistic metrics, processed, and then outputtted as a cognitive exam score. If it’s below a certain threshold, the app notifies the user of potential cognitive impairment and advises consultation with a primary care physician.

(2) Memory Bank functions as an audio diary app to record, retrieve, and reminisce. The user is able to record their voice, retrieve the audio diary at a later date, and then reminisce by sharing with family and friends. This optimizes engagement so the user will be enticed to stay active with the app.

New Education

Main applicant: Maw Maw Khaing

Paired Mentor: Katelyn Shore

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Bring Montessori education to children and training to teachers in Myanmar to promote a quality system of education with distributed access. Through a network of schools and teacher-owned schools, quality education will be accessible and affordable. On the macro level, this will lead to changes in early childhood care and on a micro-level, it will raise teacher entrepreneurs who will change the education system for the betterment of children in Myanmar.

Solar on Schools

Main applicant: Charles Hua

Paired Mentor: Michael Olsen

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My venture involves supporting school districts in advancing renewable energy and sustainability initiatives to advance climate action, generate cost savings, and create educational opportunities. During high school, I raised $150,000 to install solar panels at my school and successfully petitioned (with robust community support) the Madison Metropolitan School District to become the then-largest school district in the U.S. with a 100% renewable energy resolution. My venture aims to scale this “Solar on Schools” venture to a regional, statewide, and national level. School districts are particularly valuable organizations to be climate leaders given their highly visible and far-reaching nature as public institutions, proximity to their local communities, and mission to support youth and children. Currently, school districts have not meaningfully pursued such measures, largely due to a lack of education around the benefits of sustainability initiatives, including economic, environmental, equity, and educational advantages. My venture has developed a replicable model for galvanizing a wide range of stakeholders to support these initiatives in their local communities and is now looking to scale these efforts to further accelerate impact.