CMU team wins challenge, $333K for nonprofit
Change the world?
A team of Carnegie Mellon University graduate students had that in mind last fall when they entered the Hult Global Case Challenge.
On Thursday, Ketaki Desai, Beth Cullinan, Tim Kelly and Reggie Cox won $333,333 for a Miami nonprofit to implement a pilot project of the students' plan to distribute 20 million laptops to poor children worldwide over five years.
Two other nonprofits involved in providing housing and energy in impoverished nations will receive identical awards to implement the proposals of the winners in those categories.
"You are fortunate to have such bold and motivated students in Pittsburgh," said Ridrigo Arboleda Halaby, chairman and CEO of the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child.
Halaby said his organization will channel the prize money to the CMU students as they begin their pilot project. He hopes to have a report on their progress to present during judging for next year's competition.
Desai, 30, a native of Pune, India, who has a doctorate in biomedical sciences, said the Hult Case Challenge was a natural for the CMU team.
"Everyone at Heinz (CMU's college of public policy) has the idea of changing the world. The atmosphere encourages it," she said.
Cullinan, 37, a mechanical engineer who has done award-winning volunteer work bringing clean water to rural Ecuador, took notes when the group came together to brainstorm last fall.
"It was a matter of 'How can we do this? What will make it work?' The solution had to be sustainable in and of itself," Cullinan said. She said the team listed 1,000 questions and 200 ideas as it prepared last fall for the preliminary competition in Boston.
They drew on the experiences of CMU students who had worked with One Laptop Per Child in Rwanda and discussions with grassroots volunteers to devise a process for streamlined distribution of the laptops and to create a global brand for free, open-source software for the rugged little machines. They suggested tapping established nonprofits to build community networks, among other ideas.
In New York, they presented their plan to a team of judges including Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed Yunus and former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
"That it will be able to be implemented, that you will make a difference is incredible," said Cox, 30, program director for a nonprofit in Pittsburgh Public Schools.
The CMU team beat competitors from universities in Denmark, Spain, Iraq, Abu Dhabi, the Philippines and Serbia, as well as the University of California and Dartmouth. The challenge, started three years ago by Hult International Business School graduate Ahmad Ashkar, attracted teams from 350 universities around the world this year.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Steelers’ tarnished Bell rings true
- Pirates win 5th straight as offense continues to click in win over Marlins
- Arrest made in 2014 case of Blawnox man found dead in Oakland
- Greek debt fears, surge in dollar nip at stock market
- Greensburg Central Catholic downs defending champion California to win 1st title
- Pirates notebook: Struggling Polanco held out of starting lineup
- Gorman: Neshannock’s hero at the hot corner
- Steelers notebook: LB Harrison open for larger role
- Logan hired to lead East Allegheny basketball
- A-K Valley baseball championship capsule
- Citizens Bank executive kept busy by spinoff