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Class of 2024 President’s Engagement, Innovation Prize winners announced

University of Pennsylvania today announced the recipients of the 2024 President’s Engagement and Innovation Prizes. Awarded annually, the Prizes empower Penn undergraduate students to design and undertake post-graduation projects that make a positive, lasting difference in the world. Each Prize-winning project will receive $100,000, as well as a $50,000 living stipend per team member. The Prizes are the largest of their kind in higher education. All Prize recipients collaborate with a Penn faculty mentor.

Five fourth-year students were named recipients of the 2024 President’s Engagement Prize. They are Simran Rajpal and Gauthami Moorkanat for Educate to Empower and Anooshey Ikhlas, Brianna Aguilar, and Catherine Hood for Presby Addiction Care Program. Fourth-year students Yash Dhir and Rahul Nambiar have received the President’s Innovation Prize for their project, Jochi.

“The 2024 recipients of the President’s Engagement and Innovation Prize all combine the highest levels of academic excellence with strong service-minded missions,” said Jameson. “Educate to Empower, Presby Addiction Care Program, and Jochi exemplify Penn’s founding ethos: to pursue knowledge for knowledge’s sake and to use it to do good in the world. I congratulate each of our Prize winners and look forward to seeing their ventures thrive.”

The 2024 prize recipients—selected from an applicant pool of 68—will spend the next year implementing the following projects:

  • Simran Rajpal and Gauthami Moorkanat for Educate to Empower: Rajpal, a biology and health and societies double major in the  from Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, and Moorkanat, a biochemistry major in the College from Stirling, New Jersey, will work to identify and dismantle barriers to breast cancer screenings in marginalized communities through education and resources at community centers in Philadelphia. They are mentored by , an assistant professor of surgery at the and chief of breast surgery at . 
  • Anooshey Ikhlas, Brianna Aguilar, and Catherine Hood for Presby Addiction Care Program: Ikhlas, a neuroscience major in the College of Art and Sciences from Raynham, Massachusetts; Aguilar, a medical sociology major in the College from West Haven, Connecticut; and Hood, a health and societies major in the College from West Greenwich, Rhode Island, will focus on implementing a volunteer program at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center aimed at addressing challenges encountered by individuals with substance use disorders during hospitalization. The Presby Addiction Care Program team is mentored by professor of emergency medicine in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and founding director of the Penn Medicine Center for Addiction Medicine and Policy. 
  • Yash Dhir and Rahul Nambiar for Jochi: Dhir, a systems science and engineering major in the from London, and Nambiar, an applied science in computer science major in Penn Engineering from Dubai, will grow an online ed-tech management platform that improves the educational experience of students with learning differences, such as ADHD, dyslexia, and executive functioning deficits, and that helps foster greater efficiency and engagement by teachers and administrators in supporting these students. They are mentored by capstone director of the Education Entrepreneurship Program in the .

This year’s finalists also included fourth-years Sindhuja Uppuluri for Project StreetGuard; Himanshi Verma and Nikita Patel for Refugee Health Empowerment Initiative; Kiln Chen, Caroline Li, and Angela Shen for The Jendela Project; Juiliana Cimillo, Turner Halle, Melissa Nong, and Ethan Markwalter for Panbo; and Chiadika Eleh, Liam Pharr, Joey Wei, Isaac Kim, and Venkatesh Shenoy for See-Rynge.

“These prize-winning projects exemplify the enterprising spirit of our Penn students,” said “They are all addressing critical challenges in inventive new ways, from ensuring equity and access in health care to improving treatments for substance use disorders to expanding educational resources for those with learning differences. We are indebted to their outstanding faculty advisors and to the staff of the , who worked closely with them to develop their ideas into these inspiring initiatives.”

The Prizes are supported by Trustee Emerita Judith Bollinger and William G. Bollinger, in honor of Ed Resovsky; Trustee Emerita Lee Spelman Doty and George E. Doty Jr.; Trustee Emeritus James S. Riepe and Gail Petty Riepe; Trustee David Ertel and Beth Seidenberg Ertel; Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation; and an anonymous donor.