2017 Penn-Columbia Social Impact House Fellows

The Penn-Columbia Social Impact House (PSIH) brings together social entrepreneurs, creative intrapreneurs, community alchemists and innovators who are actively working on creating sustainable social impact in their organizations, industries and communities. 

Akshay Verma


Educated at St.Stephen’s College, Oxford and Columbia universities and having worked as an investment banker in London for 4 years, before choosing to deep dive into entrepreneurial adventures.

Akshay has been consistently identified as a young business leader and is frequently invited to top business schools such as London Business School, Oxford, Columbia, IIMs, XLRI, Symbiosis, etc. to share his experiences. A sportsman and debater in his university days, Akshay believes in living life to the fullest.

Coming to us from:

New Delhi, India

Agratam India agartamindia.com

Amanda Feldman965175355-sandbox_portrait-288

Amanda believes that business and finance can be a force for good. She currently manages the Impact Management Project through her role as a Director, Impact + at Bridges Fund Management.

She brings experience in public health policy, corporate social innovation and social enterprise across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. She is a mentor for Bethnal Green Ventures, a trustee at Future First Global, a member of Sandbox and a global citizen.

Coming to us from:

London, UK

Impact Management Project + Bridges Impact| impactmanagementproject.com

Aparna Wilder

Aparna Wilder. TEDFellows Retreat 2013. August 17 - 21, 2013, Whistler, BC. Photo: Bret Hartman

Aparna is passionate about youth education programs focused on social justice, self expression, advocacy, media, and community engagement. She is the Co-Founder and Director of Outreach and Education at SocialVR Lab, an immersive storytelling platform.

She also leads an experiential learning program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) and serves as the Associate Director of Student Programs and Outreach. Aparna holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MPA from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. She was awarded TED Fellowship in 2009.

Coming to us from:

Pittsburgh, PA

SocialVR Lab | socialvrlab.com

Azadeh Tajdar


Azadeh is a social entrepreneur and emerging markets startup and organizational capacity expert. She is passionate about unlocking the full potential of high impact and innovative mission-driven social change organizations.

Coming to us from:

New York, NY

Shetab Afghanistan | shetabafghanistan.com

Beth deBeer


Beth deBeer is an impact consultant and financial advisor. She has advised family offices, foundations, venture capital funds and mission-driven enterprises on how to integrate impact investing practices into asset management. Beth founded iImpact Consulting Network, a global network of impact consultants who share knowledge, resources, and opportunities around the world. She is a Series 65 Investment Advisor Representative, holds a BA from the University of Michigan, and an MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Administration.

Coming to us from:

Brooklyn, NY

iImpact Consulting Network | iimpactconsulting.com

Carolina Castro

Carolina C

Carolina Castro dreamed of living her life experience first so she chose a career as a documentary filmmaker. She lived briefly in New York but happily changed the big city life for the rural setting and moved to Mozambique, and then India, developing a program that teaches young people how to tell stories through video. Now, she´s back home in Costa Rica, putting some of that knowledge to work developing a digital magazine that connects young Costa Ricans and the topics they care most about. When she’s not directing, she’s brewing Belgian style beers and tending her hydroponic garden.

Coming to us from:

San Jose, Costa Rica

Revista Vaci­o |  revistavacio.com

Carolina Pereira

972758771-616_2017_01603 - CópiaCarolina is a Portuguese surfer, creative and Sustainable Development facilitator with an amazing (and alternative) path. She believes global citizens can use a holistic way forward to address the seemingly intractable worldwide problems and so traveling, surfing and co-creating, Carolina is discovering how we can change the world better.

Founder of MY Destiny, #ChangingTheWorldThroughSurf, with educational programs turning kids into change-makers. – running in Indonesia, Portugal, Brazil, Panama and India. Co-founder of Camp Surf Social Good, a gathering of leaders, founders & wave-makers from around the world, where social innovation & creativity meet the sea. She believes elements of surfing have the potential to ground human beings in a uniquely meaningful way.

As a HeForShe (UN Women’s movement) advocate, Carolina is promoting gender equality in everything she does and started the movement in Portugal and Mozambique.

Now she is focused on addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), working on the “#GlobalGoals Boat” concept, the book “Infinite Possibilities to change the world”, the “Its Cool To Care” vlog and podcast, and often being public speaker – want to be a source good content on sustainable development, by sharing environmental and social solutions in a fresh, simple and accessible way.

Coming to us from:

Lisbon, Portugal

MY Destiny | mydestiny.com

Cedric Mateosyan


Originally from Montreal, Cedric is a polyglot passionate about world affairs, technology, design, and personal development. He was involved at a young age in his family’s real estate enterprise having led various initiatives to grow the business and embraced technology to convert buildings into smarter and greener properties.

He enjoyed setting up online businesses during his university studies and upon graduation in International Management from McGill University, Cedric was selected to join HSBC’s leadership development program. He then held leading roles in strategy consulting, international affairs, and corporate development in the fields of recycling technology and solar energy. Subsequently, he partook in the launch of Kibo Ventures as Investment Manager of the $50 million early-stage venture capital fund, and founded Fools Fund, a seed-stage micro VC fund which invested in 20 companies and participated in the creation of more than 700 jobs.He also co-founded Future Lighthouse, a virtual reality company operating at the forefront of storytelling & innovation.

Cedric is now building an impact driven investment fund focused on empowering founders of early stage companies leveraging technology and science to solve global pressing issues. Named Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, Cedric is also an advisor to various technology startups and global institutions.

Coming to us from:

Madrid, Spain

Humans Fund

Christine Nieves

Christine Nieves

Christine Nieves Rodriguez just moved back home to Puerto Rico where she is committed to helping people overcome their fear and build a sustainable and happy country. She was a TV show host, a philanthropist, a professor and now a joyful (if broke) aspiring entrepreneur. She has tried to regulate her relentless optimism and appreciation of beauty in the world, but failed.

When she is not following a butterfly or mesmerized by a flower, she is voraciously reading poetry, speaking about social entrepreneurship and bringing people together to do more good. She spends her days between the city of San Juan and the hills of Humacao where she is learning to farm. Christine, born in England and raised in Puerto Rico, holds a BA in Communications and Public Service from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Science in Evidence-Based Social Intervention from the University of Oxford.

Coming to us from:

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Emerge Puerto Rico

Danny Cabrera

DannyDanny is the founder and CEO of BioBots, a company that is bringing 3D bioprinters to market. These devices print living cells, tissue, and even entire small structures (arteries, ears, etc.). In addition to being featured on CNN and Fortune, BioBots was named The Company of the Year in 2015 by the Philadelphia Business Journal, one of the Top 10 Robotics Companies Disrupting 3D Printing in 2017 and one of the Top 100 Most Disruptive Companies in the World in 2017 by Disruptor Daily.

BioBots also won the SXSW Most Innovative Startup award in 2015. Danny was named one of the Most Innovative Entrepreneurs of 2016 by Investopedia, one of the Top 100 Business Visionaries by Business Insider and he is an Inc. and Forbes 30 under 30. He is currently living in San Francisco, where he enjoys bringing friends together over homemade ethnic food and cocktails crafted from obscure spirits.

Coming to us from:

San Francisco, CA

BioBots | BioBots.com

Fatu Wurie

Fatu Wurie

Fatu Wurie is at the Blavatnik School of Government as an African Governance Initiative (AGI) scholar. Fatou is founder of The Survivor Dream Project, a local nonprofit organization that offers holistic support to women and youth survivors of trauma in Sierra Leone and has worked for the UN Mission for Emergency Ebola Response, UNICEF, Options UK as advocacy and communications advisor.

Wurie is an Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy (AILA) International Fellow and a contributor at the Huffington post often discussing women’s sexual reproductive rights to healthcare.

Coming to us from:

Oxford, UK

The Survivor Dream Project | thesurvivordreamproject.com

Jason Rosado

Jason Rosado-2

Entrepreneur. Philanthropist. Creator. Founder of GivKwik, a purpose-driven software and services platform that helps companies simplify their philanthropy to amplify their impact. Jason believes, the best way to predict the future, is to create it. Born and raised in The Bronx, Jason leads (and follows) with humility and effectiveness. He relentlessly pursues opportunities to improve the way things get done. Jack-of-all-trades, he feels comfortable in various areas of expertise such as Financial Services, Nonprofits, Startups, Politics, Journalism, Design, and Story Telling. Jason can manage a project tactically, breaking it down into stages, and effectively communicate progress towards execution.

As a VP at JPMorgan Chase’s Treasury Services division, he navigated effortlessly between Sales, Product Management, Marketing, and Operations. Years later, he traveled and lived in 12 countries in Latin America. Worked as a DJ and launched a web startup in Buenos Aires. Completed a 2 year Masters in Interactive Telecommunications at NYU while also leading product development for BNY Mellon’s Mobile Banking and Mobile Payments Channel. His thesis at NYU led him to launch GivKwik in 2013. Jason loves the Knicks, listening to music, singing karaoke, dancing salsa, swimming, traveling to foreign lands, meeting new people and taking long walks on beaches.

Coming to us from:

New York, NY

Givkwik Inc | givkwik.com

Kristen Rouse


Kristen L. Rouse has served as both non-commissioned officer and commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, and Army National Guard for a total of 23 years. She served in Afghanistan in 2006, 2010, and 2012, for a combined 31 months in country. Her roles have included mission planning for resupply convoys to remote combat outposts in eastern Afghanistan and working directly with the Afghan army. She is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans and Florida State University, where she earned degrees in English. Her civilian experience has included creating logistics plans and programs for NYC’s Emergency Management department and teaching English as an adjunct professor.

She has written on veteran and military issues for The New York Times, New York Post, The Daily Beast, Tampa Bay Times, and other publications. She has been featured as a guest on NY1’s “Inside City Hall,” ABC’s “The View,” MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes,” BBC World News, WHYY’s “Radio Times,” WNYC’s “The Takeaway,” and others. Her experiences following her return from her third tour of duty in Afghanistan led her to get involved in veterans organizations in New York City and to address the needs she still saw in the community by founding the NYC Veterans Alliance, a nonprofit that gets veterans directly involved in advocating for better policies at the local level for veterans and their families, and that works to inform and empower veterans and their families, including training them to run for elected office. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner Caitlin.

Coming to us from:

Brooklyn, NY

NYC Veterans Alliance | nycveteransalliance.org

Malgosia Rejniak


Malgosia is currently pursuing her Master of Public Administration in Urban and Social Policy and Management at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Originally from Gdansk, Poland, she moved to the US to study economics and international studies at Yale University. After her Bachelor’s degree, she worked at a management consulting firm specializing in technology, media and telecommunications (TMT).

Through her work, she became passionate about the many ways in which technology and big data analytics can be used to improve people’s lives, especially in cities and was inspired through her travels to address the problem of motorcycle safety in developing countries with the use of technology and create HelmetSmart. Her venture has so far received first prize in SIPA’s year-long startup competition.

Coming to us from:

New York, NY

HelmetSmart |  helmetsmart.org

Mark Hansen


Mark Hansen is the founder of Hey Mayor!, an automated help desk for local governments. He also is an advisor for Momy Helper, a startup supported by the Gaza Sky Geeks accelerator. Before Hey Mayor!, Mark has designed and developed projects for local governments (contractor rankings), service providers (SMS chat bots), and civic society (local organizer).

In between he’s worked with architects, conflict mineral watch dogs, Fortune 50 media companies, virtual reality tool makers, and warehouse teams both as a designer and full-stack developer.Mark studied Art, American Studies, and Cultural Anthropology at Rutgers University and has since contributed to seminars and curriculum there.

Coming to us from:

New York, NY

Hey Mayor! | mayor.chat

Nettra Pan


Nettra holds an M.A. from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris (Sciences Po) and a B.A. from Columbia University where she studied International Public Management and Political Science. She is currently completing her PhD thesis on investor decision-making, with a focus on technology, and new ways of organizing.

She has worked with a number of organizations on how to design and improve business initiatives which aim to solve the world’s most pressing challenges, most notably, Sandbox, and Hystra (an Ashoka strategic partner).Nettra grew up in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and has lived in San Diego, New York City, Paris and Lausanne. In 2009, her artwork was selected by the US State Department Art in Embassies Program. She is fluent in English, Khmer (Cambodian), and French. Nettra has completed three half-marathons in Geneva, Lausanne, and Paris in support of UNICEF, The Harpswell Foundation, and the Against Malaria Foundation.

Coming to us from:

Lausanne, Suisse

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL)

Nicolás Alcalánico_foto2

Nicolás Alcalá launched the first crowdfunding project in Spain in 2009, “The Cosmonaut”. He raised more than half a million dollars with 5,000 backers, commanded a team of 200 people in its execution, and distributed it online for free. It was an example for distributed economies and collaborative projects. ​He was appointed a Global Shaper ​by the World Economic Forum and later, was a student at Singularity University.

In 2015, he founded Future Lighthouse, a Virtual Reality studio with offices in Madrid and Los Angeles. Nicolas is now focused on creating experiences that are transforming the world of storytelling. And he’s developing technologies to change the way we interact as a society. He believes that virtual reality is the key to expanding our consciousness and to redefining what it means to be human. He is working on technology to help us create a world to our measure: more compassionate, more integral, more profound.

Coming to us from:

Los Angeles, California

Future Lighthouse  | http://www.futurelighthouse.com/

 Seisei Tatebe-Goddu

969114443-Seisei Headshot

COO of Run for Something, which has recruited 10,000+ political candidates across the country since launching on Inauguration Day. Recovering strategy consultant and entrepreneur. Built a consulting firm working with 70+ clients across 15 countries in the Middle East, East Africa, and Europe. McGill and Columbia grad.

Worked for the B Team (a Richard Branson initiative). Co-creator of doosh/off. Environmental Leadership Program, Dreamers//Doers, Sandbox, StartingBloc member. Sailor. Rock climber. Singer. Owned by cat. Not a cat person.

Coming to us from:

New York, NY

Run for Something | runforsomething.net

Stephanie Arneson


Stephanie is the Business Development Manager and a Senior Consultant for Agova. and has worked with a variety of Agova’s clients in Zambia including Cargill, Catholic Relief Services, The World Food Program and Musika. She brings 8 years professional experience specializing in various fields across private sector development, social enterprise and micro finance.

Stephanie graduated from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs where she completed an MPA concentrating on Economic and Political Development, with a specialization in Management. Stephanie loves to travel and live abroad – aside from Zambia she’s spent considerable time in Ghana, Morocco, India, Egypt and Spain, although will always be a true Minnesotan at heart!

Coming to us from:

Lusaka, Zambia

Agova| bdsafrica.com

Varshil Patel


After graduating college in 2014 with degrees in computer science and economics from Penn, Varshil briefly worked in management consulting at Bain SF before moving to New York to work at a startup called Fundera. At Fundera, Varshil worked on business development, customer acquisition, and product management.

Given his strong belief in potential of education and his desire to build a unique culture / team, Varshil knew he wanted to start his own venture in education, so left his job in August 2016 to start Strive. He now works on Strive full-time (out of the Columbia Startup Lab in NYC) and is also a GMAT Instructor for Manhattan Prep. Outside of work, Varshil spends his time frequenting the best ice cream, bagel, and pizza spots in NYC, running all over the city, spending time with friends and family, reading, and attempting to cook.

Coming to us from:

New York, NY

Strive| madetostrive.com

Virginia Alonso Navarro

Virginia deeply dislikes writing a bio of herself, but that’s probably because she changes on a daily basis. Really. It’s like she jumps on a whole new different ocean depending of who she meets and what she does and where she is. There are a million versions of Virginia and none of them fit in a few lines of text. She loves children and surprises, new smells and new people and much too often is a victim of her own excitement.

She is passionate about person to person & person to nature communication and connection. Which is why she travels, works really hard, and speaks a lot of languages. She feels the need to pump up her already impressive portfolio because she fears people might not take her seriously enough. But deep inside, she doesn’t want to be taken seriously at all / doesn’t care that much. Did I say she deeply dislikes writing bios?

Coming to us from:

London, UK

Friends of Virginia | virginialonso.com