CGI U Programs

COVID-19 Student Action Fund

CGI U launched the COVID-19 Student Action Fund on April 18, 2020 at the CGI U At Home virtual event hosted by President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton. This fund identifies and supports select students at universities around the world who are committed to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Working within the CGI U Commitment to Action model, this fund is providing at least $100,000 in total funding to students, with each grant awarded ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. This action fund is geared towards projects addressing the public health, economic, and societal impacts of the novel coronavirus — with commitments ranging from awareness and prevention campaigns, to social enterprises, to infectious disease monitoring and response systems, to other emergency response initiatives that are providing immediate support for public health practitioners and other essential workers on the frontlines. In addition to receiving seed funding for their commitments, all selected students received invitations to participate in the CGI U 2021 program.

With special thanks to our supporters: Founding Partner, Kevin Xu, and our CGI University Network.


Meet the Action Fund Awardees

After receiving more than 1,400 applications for the COVID-19 Student Action Fund, CGI U is pleased to announce the 38 recipients of this award, representing 12 countries and 29 institutions of higher learning.

  • Abdikarin Abdullahi of the University of California, San Francisco, Bridging Admissions: Bridging Admissions is dedicated to diversifying the physician workforce and addressing healthcare disparities by providing free mentorship to students underrepresented in medicine throughout the medical school application process in San Francisco, CA.
  • Diana Aguilera of George Washington University, Latino Immigrants and Telemedicine Approaches: Latino Immigrants and Telemedicine Approaches aims to improve COVID-19 healthcare services and policies for migrant populations in Washington, DC.
  • Rebecca Alcock of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Farm to Families: Farm to Families is an online matching platform for coordinating supply and demand of fresh farm products in Madison, WI.
  • Paige Balcom of University of California, Berkeley, Takataka Plastics Face Shields: Takataka Plastics produces reusable face shields from plastic waste to protect frontline medical workers fighting COVID-19 in Uganda.
  • Sivam Bhatt of Virginia Commonwealth University, SafeAtHome: SafeAtHome is developing a home testing kit synced to a virtual platform that collects epidemiological data from its users and provides them with their test results in Richmond, VA.
  • Prasidh Chhabria of Harvard University, The Concordium: The Concordium is an e-support network platform leveraging video conferencing to eradicate social isolation among older adults, particularly during COVID-19, in Massachusetts, USA.
  • Jonathan Dhanapala of University of Waterloo, Emre: Emre is an electronic medical record system built to support medical professionals in providing healthcare to displacement and refugee camps in Iraq.
  • Melissa Diamond of Tsinghua University, A Global Voice for Autism COVID-19 Emergency Inclusion Fund: A Global Voice for Autism COVID-19 Emergency Inclusion Fund holistically equips caregivers of children with disabilities in refugee and conflict-affected communities to support their children's emergency and inclusive education needs in Jordan, Palestine, and Turkey.
  • Ryleigh Fleming of University of Alabama–Birmingham, Project Equity for Birmingham: Project Equity is an awareness and prevention campaign to help minority and economically impoverished communities be better prepared to address COVID-19 in Birmingham, AL.
  • Shadrack Frimpong of Yale University, CoCoPOPP: CocoPOPP is focused on public health prevention and control measures through the dissemination of targeted, credible, and accurate information in easy-to-digest formats to rural communities in Ghana with low literacy levels.
  • Vikrant Garg of University of Illinois Chicago, COVID Rapid Response Team Chicago (CRRTC): COVID Rapid Response Team Chicago mobilizes resources, skills, and time to provide critical life-sustaining services to marginalized communities in Chicago, IL during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Joslyn Prince of Jarvis Christian College, COVID-19 is Color Blind: COVID-19 is Color Blind is a public service awareness and prevention campaign to help communities of color combat false narratives around public health in Hawkins, TX.
  • Alice Kim of University of Alabama–Birmingham, Campus Wellness Initiative: The Campus Wellness Initiative expands the COVID-19 programming and initiatives of the UAB Student Government Association to protect and promote health and wellness of students and community members in Birmingham, AL.
  • Kulubo Nyamahlorpu Koquoi of African Methodist Episcopal University, Keeping Women Safe Against COVID-19 and SGBV: The Keeping Women Safe Against COVID-19 and SGBV project will impact women and girls in rural Montserrado and Margibi Counties of Liberia by training them on the preventive measures of COVID-19 and to educate them about SGBV and its reporting.
  • Michael Lai of Hofstra University, Cress Mobile App: The Cress Mobile App is a mobile mental wellness application that provides 24/7 mental and emotional support for healthcare workers facing burnout, trauma, and stress in New York, NY.
  • Longsha Liu of Cornell University, VitalMask: VitalMask is a reusable 3D printed N95 filter mask with built-in sensors that monitors and records patient body temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate, and oxygenated blood percentages for use in the ER waiting room and other emergency situations in Ithaca, NY.
  • Alekhya Majety of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Quvi: Quvi directs UV-C light onto the interior and exterior of reusable water bottles to effectively neutralize any pathogens, or viruses such as COVID-19.
  • Diing Manyang of George Washington University, We are the Kakuma: We are the Kakuma aims to provide Kakuma Refugees with access to masks, soap, and hand sanitizers in Kenya.
  • Bincheng Mao of New York University, Equitable Health Care Access for Minorities: Equitable Health Care Access for Minorities mobilizes over 3,000 members of the East Coast Coalition for Tolerance to aid disadvantaged minorities with language barriers to seek medical attention in New York, NY, New Haven, CT, and Atlanta, GA.
  • Catherine McMillan of Duke University, Charlotte Covid Chronicles Story BankThe Charlotte Covid Chronicles Story Bank aims to collect over 150 oral histories in partnership with local museums and small business associations to capture the narratives of underrepresented and marginalized communities affected by COVID-19 in Charlotte, NC.
  • Konstantin Mitic of George Washington University, COVID Mali: COVID Mali is a consortium of skilled engineers, professionals, and makers based in the U.S. and Mali who aim to provide much-needed PPE, specifically face shields and gowns, to 5,000 Malian health workers by utilizing 3D printing capabilities.
  • Zonia Moore of University of Pennsylvania, SANIPACK: SANIPACK is a N95 mask sterilizer that gives providers the confidence they need in reducing their risk of contracting COVID-19 and is appropriate for use in pop-up healthcare settings in Nigeria.
  • Eric Mwirichia of Multimedia University of Kenya, The Automated Handwashing Station: The Automated Handwashing Station helps prevent cross-infection and the spread of COVID-19 in high trafficked areas in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Omar Negron-Ocasio of George Washington University, Remora: Remora will work with communities in Corozal, Puerto Rico to provide access to clean water in order to fight the pandemic and provide community trainings on managing the water filtration systems and protecting its water sources.
  • Nga Nguyen of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, LiRA: Lip Reading Assistant: LiRA provides lip-reading technology that restores voiceless patient equity and advances their quality medical care in Chapel Hill, NC.
  • Karina Popovich of Cornell University, Makers for COVID-19: Makers for COVID-19 aims to properly produce and donate fabric masks, 3D-printed face shields (FDA and NIH approved), and ear savers to medical workers in need in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Divya Rath of George Washington University, Global Guru: Global Guru provides free, online, live supplementary tutoring through an online video conferencing software to help bridge the gap between students and access to quality educational services during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, South Korea, India, and Australia.
  • Camir Ricketts of Cornell University, Project Access: Project Access is an extension program of the Minds Of Initiatives that will help schools in rural Jamaica gain access to internet-enabled devices and sponsored data plans so that students can engage in online courses in Jamaica.
  • Josymar Rodriguez of University of Oregon, Spatial Strategies for Homeless Populations: Spatial Strategies for Homeless Populations provides comprehensive spatial strategies for improving the living condition of homeless populations during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in Portland, OR.
  • Sukhmeet Sachal of University of British Columbia, COVID-19 Response in Sikh Temples: The COVID-19 Response in Sikh Temples will implement public health interventions such as temperature checking and physical barriers in order to protect elderly patrons and the general public visiting Sikh Temples in British Columbia, Canada.
  • Blanca Sanz-Magallon Duque de Estrada of University College London, Safe Optima: Safe Optima optimizes employee COVID-19 surveillance testing for care homes and assisted living facilities, devising individualised strategies to enable the affordable, effective regular testing in Spain.
  • Zuhayr Shaikh of University of Virginia, VAFCC Telehealth Service Network: The VAFCC Telehealth Service Network (VAFCC-TSN) provides comprehensive statewide telehealth volunteer recruitment strategy and centralized volunteer storage and assignment software to expand pandemic-time care access for vulnerable patients in Virginia, U.S.
  • Christopher Shallal of Johns Hopkins University, Vent-Lock: Vent-Lock increases ventilator capacity through a bio-inspired ventilator splitting system that can be produced via 3D printing in Baltimore, MD.
  • Ryan Skaggs of California State University, Northridge, Community Connections: Community Connections is a web-based platform that allows community members to identify volunteer opportunities that are posted by community-based organizations in Sacramento, CA.
  • Steve Arnaud Tchuente Kayo of HEC Paris, AccuroLab: AccuroLab provides smartphone users with an easy-to-use tool that allows them to fact-check COVID-19 information received on social media (especially WhatsApp for Africa) while raising their awareness towards fake news' dangers in West, Central, and Southern Africa.
  • Rine Uhm of Dartmouth College, Give Essential: Give Essential is an online matching platform that connects essential workers affected by hoarding and panic buying to donors who are able to support them across the U.S.
  • Davis White of Georgia Institute of Technology, Elbowroom: Elbowroom aims to develop a low-cost alternative APC (automated passenger counter) that uses inexpensive sensors to provide tracking data to transit agencies to allow them to have more robust systems for resource allocation and management and in turn, give this data back to riders to allow them to make informed decisions on their commute in Atlanta, GA.
  • Evelyn Wong of Harvard University, CovEducation: CovEd is a virtual platform that pairs underserved K-12 students with undergraduates/postgrads from higher education institutions across the U.S., providing them with 1-on-1 mentorship, web-based educational resources, and offline content.