The overall purpose of our project was to address the fundamental disconnect between landlords and potential tenants, specifically in the student housing space. We built marketing software that can turn any apartment website –– no matter the quality –– into an all-in-one conversion suite. Instead of marketers trying to guess what their tenants want, we created a virtual leasing assistant that automates the entire marketing process. Based off of website activity, we trigger customized pop-ups, conversational bots, and remarketing ads on different platforms to tailor the customer journey on an individualized level. Through our research with interviews in the student housing space, we have discovered the aspects of the online experience that make it seamless for potential tenants. This includes the ability to self-schedule tours and have instant conversations to figure out the information they need.
Amulya Parmar – BBA and Computer Engineering, 2022
IceVax is a sustainable, energy-efficient refrigeration solution for communities with barriers that are limiting their access to proper refrigeration. Our goal is to bridge the gap in health outcomes experienced by these communities. During the Capstone project, we evaluated different options for assembling the most suitable prototype of IceVax, reached out to stakeholders with experience in different stages of our research, and worked through local regulations to implement IceVax in a school in Pakistan. Ultimately, our summer research led us to rethink our plan to assemble cheap and efficient parts into a functioning refrigerator, and pivot to a kit composed of parts with an accompanying blueprint and wiring schematic. By supplementing the technology with an educational component, we are hoping to offer a sustainable, long term solution that will help these communities over a long period of time. After working with implementation partners in Pakistan, we were able to source parts from Pakistan and implement IceVax in a school that was suffering from heat waves and a lack of cold water and powered fans. Our long term goals are to continue assessing our impact to optimize our implementation and expand to other communities that could benefit from IceVax.
Our project idea before boot camp was to create a box that could transport vaccines over long distances and be stored at cool temperatures that vaccines need to be stored in. We had an idea that there were some places we wanted to implement it in, such as Pakistan and Yemen, through connections we had already established.
Over the course of boot camp, we learned about how many other stakeholders are involved in the implementation process and how there would be many other people we need to contact, from regulators to other community partners. We also figured out which research methods would be most helpful to obtain the data we were looking for. Additionally, we developed a clearer picture of how we would evaluate our success. Lastly, we received a lot of great feedback on our pitch and how we can best present our idea.
One specific personal highlight that we all agree was really cool and helpful was the development of our vision statement which helped us see what our goals were for the future and what work we would have to do in order to get there. Overall, the BLI boot camp was crucial in the development of our project.
By, Essam Alsnayyan, Sikander Khan, Huzaifa Piperdi
Our project idea prior to the Capstone bootcamp included a preventive health education curriculum that was focused on solely diet and nutrition. Project Healthy Schools Global began in 2015, and in 2017 we launched our first pilot run of the program throughout Dhaka, Bangladesh reaching over 200 students. Our team had the advantage of already running a pilot program, however, we still had a lot of room for development.
the bootcamp, our team received an abundance of valuable and constructive
feedback, from other members of our cohort to the panelists we met through
speed dating, about how our project can grow and what steps we can take to
ensure that it is sustainable. One of the ways that we believed that our
project could expand is by making our health education curriculum more
comprehensive and capturing the various dimensions of health present in
Being culturally aware and sensitive to the community has always been a priority to our team, which is why we’ve, from the beginning, emphasized that our project is culturally adaptive. Though we have already taken steps to ensure that our project is culturally adaptive, the workshops and lessons that taught cultural humility and sensitivity were extremely helpful in recognizing possible unintended consequences and strategies to overcome these obstacles. Moreover, although we are all Bangladeshi, as we travel to Bangladesh in August to complete a needs assessment and engage with stakeholders, we will be seen as outsiders. Therefore, the “Cultural Humility” and ”Working With Communities” workshops were extremely beneficial; we must be aware of the identities we hold and remain cognizant of how our identities will intersect with the identities of the stakeholders we will engage with.
of our personal highlights from Bootcamp was working alongside and
collaborating with other student teams. It was inspiring to engage with other
students who were passionate about their projects and genuinely desired to make
a positive impact in the world. Seeing other students work hard motivated us to
continue working passionately as well. Additionally, every stakeholder and
panelist that participated in the bootcamp brought enthusiasm with them. It was
wonderful being able to receive advice from people that have significant
experience in their industry and that genuinely want to help students succeed.
It was also meaningful making these important connections because they may be
able to assist us with our projects in the future.
BLI provided numerous resources and guidance to us during this long week, but most noteworthy is the unwavering support that they provided to all the teams by creating a safe space that promoted learning, growth, and compassion.
The vision of Host Your Voice was to enable a nonprofit’s reach to more potential donors, volunteers, and individuals to be impacted by the nonprofit’s cause. When Amulya founded Host Your Voice 5 years ago, his initial vision behind the organization was to help nonprofits reach by teaching them how to apply for a Google advertising grant. Since then, Host Your Voice has scaled to over 10 plus countries and over 20 partners, including a partnership with the United Nations
One important aspect of the Bootcamp for Host Your Voice’s development was an emphasis on long-term feasibility and growth prospects financially for Host Your Voice. Since our beginning, it has been Host Your Voice’s mission to not commercialize nonprofits. As a result, it has been our goal during the Bootcamp to research “What other markets can Host Your Voice apply it’s marketing expertise to allow it’s team long term financial stability?”
Our mentor Kevin Finnegan was honestly one of the best mentors we could have asked for. We immediately knew he was the right fit when we met him. We could tell he cared a lot beyond project development – he wanted to help us on a personal level, too. Every day, he gave us extremely thoughtful feedback, and he pushed our minds to think beyond what we were used to. It was a pleasure working with him, and we’re really excited to continue our relationship with him.
One of our initial highlights of the bootcamp was our notice that we had won the London Idea Team award. It was truly an honor to win, and we can’t wait for the opportunity to collaborate with Ellen, Alex, and the foundation this upcoming summer.
We also loved talking to the rest of the cohort – every team had such brilliant individuals who were pursuing ambitious projects, and it was really motivating to hear about everyone’s personal stories/connections to their work.
Before Boot Camp, the consequences of our stated goal hadn’t been fully fleshed out. The problem of recidivism, which we had set out to solve, is incredibly complex. In our initial pitches, we had stated that our organization aimed to reduce the recidivism rate by facilitating philosophical discussions. Over the course of Bootcamp, the GA’s, as well as our guests, helped us clarify and discover what the true focus of this project can be. As recidivism is a large and prevalent issue, there are key influencers of recidivism that we should try to target through our intervention. Instead, we have shifted our focus to measuring the effect of philosophical discussions on critical consciousness and well-being of the incarcerated individuals in our local communities. The research and deliverables completed during Boot Camp provided us with the confidence that something like this could actually have a real and lasting impact-if executed with careful planning and deep understanding. And so, Bootcamp was probably the best experience we could have asked for to better inform us of our project logistics. The overwhelming support and useful feedback provided to us throughout the week was invaluable. Specifically, the judges of our final presentations provided us with the following feedback that made us step back and think deeper about our project: to clarify our why (why are we interested in helping this specific population?), to clarify what our intended aim of using philosophical discussions is (see the effects on incarcerated individuals mindsets?), and to concretely be able to describe what research questions we will be pursuing and with what exact methods. We recognized that our idea appeared to be in the infancy stage and now need to seriously focus on executing an outcome.
Health Promotion at UM is a student organization that hopes to improve the health of all people, especially the underserved, through volunteering in the local community and educating the public, while also building a close-knit community for our members to passionately apply medicine and public health to better the lives of others. Our capstone team is Leo Thompson, Monna Meng, and Grace Tremonti.
Before Bootcamp, our main goal was sustainability. We felt that the BLI and their resources could really help us think of ways to make the organization last for a long time, both on campus and out in the community. Although we had brainstormed many broad ideas to approach this goal of “sustainability,” including facilitating our volunteer growth, improving our marketing and recruitment, and optimizing operations, we had not really thought about specific ways we were going to implement it, or what our priorities should be.
One way our idea evolved during Bootcamp was that we shifted from mainly logistical goals to actually wanting to change the culture of our organization, and begin to market Health Promotion as a venue to engage in meaningful, long term service. This shift was really inspired by the things we learned in bootcamp, like starting to evaluate our programs and reflect on what we really want people— both target communities and volunteers— to get out of partnering and working with Health Promotion.
Our idea has also become much more focused, in the sense that we now have a clear idea of how to actually implement and test some of the ideas that we have. One example of this is that through our workshop on literature review, we were able to pinpoint ways to test our ideas on member recruitment and marketing for the club. Bootcamp helped us discover the practical applications of our ideas and how to go about actually making them happen.
Aside from the logistical clarity, the BLI has provided us with during Bootcamp, we felt that preparing our pitch helped everyone on the team think deeply about their true purpose for pursuing the BLI Capstone for HPUM. Connecting with many experienced professionals has inspired us, given us many new ideas, and helped define our vision to a degree that would not have been possible without the bootcamp. We would have never imagined the direction of HPUM could change so much is such a short period, and we are really excited to see where our summer research takes us!
The Barger Leadership Institute is pleased to announce the 2019 Capstone Program teams! These six teams will engage in eight months of designing and implementing evidence-based, collaborative projects that seek to bring about small (and big) wins for the complex problems of today. After eight months of individualized mentorship, research and project management training, and many opportunities to master effective leadership habits.
Building Practical Skills, Practical Mindsets, and a Practical Electric Motorcycle Kai Schiefer, Luke Wong This team hopes to reduce carbon emissions by creating an electric motorcycle prototype and introduce technical and management skills to college and high school students.
Host Your Voice* Amulya Parmar, Ankit Patel, Varun Madan This team hopes to support nonprofit organizations in reaching more people through online and digital advertising.
arete (philosopy in prisons project) Rhea Dhingra, Razeen Karim, Osama Saeed This team hopes to improve in-prison rehabilitation by engaging current incarcerated members in facilitated discussions of philosophical texts.
Project Healthy Schools Global Initiative Khadiza Begum, Faatimah Raisa, Joeita MacField This team hopes to create a community-based movement for public health and prevention and promote health literacy. It also seeks to mobilize communities to address social disparities related to health and wellness, be it the disproportionately low access to healthy foods for students of low socioeconomic backgrounds or the limited access to exercise opportunities for young women.
IceVax Sikander Khan, Essam Al-Snayyan, Huzaifa Piperdi This team hopes to design and distribute car battery-operated cold boxes to transport vaccines at an appropriate temperature over long distances.
Health Promotion at UM (HPUM) Leo Thompson, Monna Meng, Grace Tremonti This team hopes to improve the health of all people, especially the under-served, through volunteering in the local community and educating the public, while also building a close-knit community for their members to passionately apply medicine and public health to better the lives of others. Their Capstone goal is to achieve sustainability, facilitate volunteer growth by improving their marketing and recruitment, facilitate operational expansion, and optimize operations.
* The BLI and The London Idea are thrilled to name Host Your Voice as the London Idea Project for the 2019 Capstone Program! Learn more about the London Idea and the BLI partnership here.
“The purpose of VenueTourist’s Capstone Project was to determine the best market niche for virtual tours and how to best sell to that niche. In order to determine the best market niche, we explored three separate industries: universities, corporations, and venue owners. The evaluation of ‘best market’ was based on ease of sale and willingness to pay. After conducting sales efforts – email outreach, meetings, and if we were successful, contract signature – in each niche, it was determined the university market was both easiest to sell to and had the highest willingness to pay. The second question, what is the best way to sell to universities, was evaluated by seeking advice from mentors in our industry and then testing said advice.
Advice from mentors for sales strategies included cold emailing, cold calls, campus ambassador programs, traveling to university dense areas, going to conferences, and more. Initial results showed campus ambassadors and traveling to university dense areas as the best sales methods in order to maximize potential revenue (probability of closing sale * price of potential sale). From these results, VenueTourist has concluded the best path for growth is to create a small team of skilled sales ambassadors and have them travel to university dense cities in order to sell our virtual tours.”
“The Being First podcast lifts the voice of first generation college students while shedding light on the issues that these students face through dialogue about social capital and how to acquire it, candid conversations about the first-gen experience, and challenging the first-gen landscape of the university. Through recording sessions with stakeholders and students in this community, we’ve found that the thread that runs through every first is resilience and grit necessary to level the post-secondary playing field.”