Class of 2024 President’s Engagement, Innovation Prize Winners Announced

PIP and PEP Winners

University of Pennsylvania Interim President J. Larry Jameson today announced the recipients of the 2024 President’s Engagement and Innovation Prizes. Awarded annually, the Prizes empower Penn undergraduate students to design and undertake post-graduation projects that make a positive, lasting difference in the world. Each Prize-winning project will receive $100,000, as well as a $50,000 living stipend per team member. The Prizes are the largest of their kind in higher education. All Prize recipients collaborate with a Penn faculty mentor.

Five fourth-year students were named recipients of the 2024 President’s Engagement Prize. They are Simran Rajpal and Gauthami Moorkanat for Educate to Empower and Anooshey Ikhlas, Brianna Aguilar, and Catherine Hood for Presby Addiction Care Program. Fourth-year students Yash Dhir and Rahul Nambiar have received the President’s Innovation Prize for their project, Jochi.

“The 2024 recipients of the President’s Engagement and Innovation Prize all combine the highest levels of academic excellence with strong service-minded missions,” said Jameson. “Educate to Empower, Presby Addiction Care Program, and Jochi exemplify Penn’s founding ethos: to pursue knowledge for knowledge’s sake and to use it to do good in the world. I congratulate each of our Prize winners and look forward to seeing their ventures thrive.”

The 2024 prize recipients—selected from an applicant pool of 68—will spend the next year implementing the following projects:

  • Simran Rajpal and Gauthami Moorkanat for Educate to Empower: Rajpal, a biology and health and societies double major in the College of Arts and Sciences from Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, and Moorkanat, a biochemistry major in the College from Stirling, New Jersey, will work to identify and dismantle barriers to breast cancer screenings in marginalized communities through education and resources at community centers in Philadelphia. They are mentored by Leisha Elmore, an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and chief of breast surgery at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. 
  • Anooshey Ikhlas, Brianna Aguilar, and Catherine Hood for Presby Addiction Care Program: Ikhlas, a neuroscience major in the College of Art and Sciences from Raynham, Massachusetts; Aguilar, a medical sociology major in the College from West Haven, Connecticut; and Hood, a health and societies major in the College from West Greenwich, Rhode Island, will focus on implementing a volunteer program at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center aimed at addressing challenges encountered by individuals with substance use disorders during hospitalization. The Presby Addiction Care Program team is mentored by Jeanmarie Perrone, professor of emergency medicine in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and founding director of the Penn Medicine Center for Addiction Medicine and Policy.
  • Yash Dhir and Rahul Nambiar for Jochi: Dhir, a systems science and engineering major in the School of Engineering and Applied Science from London, and Nambiar, an applied science in computer science major in Penn Engineering from Dubai, will grow an online ed-tech management platform that improves the educational experience of students with learning differences, such as ADHD, dyslexia, and executive functioning deficits, and that helps foster greater efficiency and engagement by teachers and administrators in supporting these students. They are mentored by Amanda Antico, capstone director of the Education Entrepreneurship Program in the Graduate School of Education.

This story was written by Amanda Mott. To read the full article, please visit Penn Today.