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CITRIS UCSC Tech For Social Good Program funds student teams

Wednesday, January 6, 2021
pioweb@ucsc.edu (Public Affairs)

Six student teams at UCSC have been chosen for funding this year through the Tech for Social Good Program run by CITRIS and the Banatao Institute at UCSC and co-sponsored by the Institute for Social Transformation.

The program’s Tech Development Track provides up to $5,000 in funding for student-led projects that aim to develop a solution to a significant social challenge. This year’s projects embrace that goal in innovative ways, in response to a wide range of challenges.

The funded projects and team members are:

  • Enhancing climate change education through personalized scientific communications on phenology: a program to help citizen scientists track shifts in phenology (the timing of recurring biological events, and one of the most conspicuous fingerprints of climate change) and publicize the results to raise awareness. Team members: Yiluan Song, Ph.D., Environmental Studies; Jade Guzman, Undergrad, Environmental/Legal Studies.
  • The Gateways Project: a tele-class curriculum to teach graphic design to people incarcerated in Santa Cruz County jails, and to share with other groups for wider use. Team members: Kristina Bullington, Undergrad, Sociology; Sophia Puliatti, Undergrad, Environmental Studies; Louis Beltran, Undergrad, Legal Studies; Rachel Edelman, Undergrad, Sociology.
  • ReFuel – Harnessing synthetic biology to build a plastic-to-biofuel pipeline: a biomolecular system to directly recycle PET plastic waste into usable end products. Team members: Preet Kaur, Undergrad, Biomolecular Engineering/Bioinformatics; Justin Redmond, Undergrad, Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology.
  • Revitalizing Everett's Digital Toolkit & Educational Outreach: an online toolkit for student groups at community colleges and universities who are helping non-STEM underrepresented students learn to use technology for social change. Team members: Jonathan Winston, Undergrad, Sociology; Morgan Bishop, Undergrad, Sociology; Ethan Mulberg, Undergrad, Sociology.
  • weBLACK: a social media platform that seeks to explicitly take a stance on Black social issues and prioritize space for Black voices to be heard. Team members: Jonathan Scott, Ph.D., Computer Science and Engineering; Johnny Tilahun, Undergrad, Technology and Information Management; Ephrem Woldetensae, Undergrad, Business Management/Economics.
  • Wonderfil at UCSC: an electric dispenser system to allow the use of reusable containers for personal care products. Team members: Shiloh Sacks, Undergrad, Electrical Engineering; Adrian Mendez, Undergrad, Computer Science.

The 2020-21 TSG Program also offers an Events Track, which is open through early June 2021 for submissions of proposals by students for diverse programming, from actual tech events, like a hackathon, to speakers addressing tech issues, to club meetings that explore some element of technology’s impact on our lives.

The Tech for Social Good Program at UCSC was launched in 2019. Information about last year’s teams and their projects is available online at citris.sites.ucsc.edu/funded-projects-and-events. For any questions about the program, please contact Michael Matkin, CITRIS UCSC Assistant Director, at mmatkin@ucsc.edu.