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Part of the mission of Wesleyan is to provide “an education in the liberal arts that is characterized by boldness, rigor, and practical idealism.” Those attributes come to life at the Patricelli Center, where students and alumni find real-world applications for their idealism, hone their skills as entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, and join the legions of trailblazing changemakers who have come of age at Wesleyan.mission

Established in May 2011 through a gift from the Robert ’61 and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship is now entering its fourth year. Demand for services continues to increase steadily, and the Center has become a hub of social impact and entrepreneurship activity on campus. It has engaged scores of alumni with the University, with students, and with each other. Wesleyan’s “changemaker mafia” is collaborating in unprecedented ways, supporting each other and amplifying their collective impact worldwide.

This year, the PCSE offered 27 workshops and events featuring 44 alumni and 13 students, awarded 23 grants to 45 applicants, provided 163 advising sessions and dozens of professional connections to 93 students and alumni (75% of whom returned after their first visit), and added 62 alumni volunteers to our growing network.

2013/2014 highlights include:

  • Soon after the 2012-2013 PCSE Seed Grant winners submitted their final reports, three new $5,000 Seed Grants were awarded to fund the launch or early-stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected project, program, or venture. For the first time, this grant was administered in a competition format, and winners were selected from a strong pool of six finalists who submitted written business plans and participated in a public pitch session with a panel of expert judges. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities, and potential for social impact.
    • Joaquin Benares ’15 will use his seed grant to grow his social venture, Boundless Updated Knowledge Offline (BUKO). BUKO aims to bring the video lectures, e-textbooks, and other online education tools to rural Filipino schools “on the wrong side of the digital divide.”
    • JooMah – led by Kwaku Akoi ’14, Oladoyin Oladapo ’14, Max Dietz ’16, Michael Yee ’14 and three other students – is a new web and SMS platform that will connect job-seekers in Sub-Saharan Africa with targeted employment opportunities nearest them.
    • Tavo True-Alcala ’15 and Brent Packer ’15 will launch Wishing Well, a project inspired by the 2013 Wesleyan Sustainability contest that will help universities design portable water stations, reducing use of disposable bottles and furthering the university’s commitment to sustainable practices.
  • Six students received summer experience grants from the PCSE, including the first Norman E. Priebatsch Internship Grant. Like all seed, internship, and enrichment grantees, these students will report on their experiences via ENGAGE blog posts.
    • Geneva Jonathan ’15 is doing mental health work in India, where stigma and cultural barriers to care often prevent proper treatment.
    • Theodora Messalas ’15 is working with a food pantry, soup kitchen, and women’s homeless shelter in Manhattan, exploring ways to implement successful social services in which the needs and preferences of the end-users are paramount.
    • Dara Mysliwiec ’16 is addressing food sovereignty in Lamas, Peru, using sustainable – and previously lost – indigenous farming techniques.
    • Keren Reichler ’16 has a fellowship with Urban Adamah farm and community center in Berkeley, California, where she is addressing the issue of urban food access and social justice through urban organic farming, community organizing, and leadership development.
    • Jared Geilich ’15 is combining his interests in computer science and emerging technology, psychology and human behavior, and cultural trends at FootSteps Marketing in Colorado, a small company that specializes in website design and digital marketing services.
    • Aaron Kalischer-Coggins ’15, a film major and experienced documentarian with a passion for leveraging film to educate and inspire people on environmental issues, is performing a research internship at Ark Media, based in New York City.
  • Jennifer Roach ’14 received the prestigious Davis Projects for Peace grant for her work with Summer of Solutions Hartford, a three-year old urban garden and youth leadership development non-profit with seven locations across Hartford.
  • Workshops and events received an average overall rating of 8.75 out of 10.workshops
    • Top reviews went to Post-Wes Journeys in (Social) Entrepreneurship featuring Beezer Clarkson ’94, Kagiso Bond ’01, and Erica Gersowitz ’01; Business Perspectives on Environmental Sustainability with Kira (Markiewicz) Fabrizio ’97; and Think About Data Before It’s Too Late! with Wendy (Bauman) Jeffries ’01 and Liz (Collins) Bliss ’01.
    • September’s WesHack 2.0 event drew nearly 100 students for a series of intro tech workshops and a 30-hour hackathon, and March’s events co-sponsored with WAPPS in NYC and Boston drew well over 100 alumni to hear from 12 alumni.
    • Event feedback included: “super insightful and inspiring”; “how-to’s for non-profits are great and needed on this campus”; “the event was exactly what I wanted it to be. It allowed me to connect with alumni in a small group setting, share my own ideas, and hear about the stories of alums carving their own paths.”
  • The Patricelli Center collaborated with three academic courses in 2013/2014: Money and Social Change, Entrepreneurship in Education, and Entrepreneurship Studies 101.
  • More than 50 constituents now have 24/7 ID-card access to the PCSE Board Room. This space is a hub of social innovation on campus, used for idea and venture incubation, service-learning course TA sessions, peer advising, and more.

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship continues to rely on these key partnerships:

  • The PCSE, Center for Community Partnerships (CCP), and Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life (ACSPL), collaborate as a hub of civic engagement theory, research, experience, and practice. We are all housed together in the Allbritton Center in the heart of campus (formerly Davenport Campus Center).
  • The Career Center’s job and internship databases, resume service, and workshops complement PCSE programs.
  • The Wesleyan Entrepreneurship Society (WES2), Center for Prison Education, MINDS Foundation, SHOFCO, Long Lane Farm, and other impact-driven and entrepreneurial groups on campus offer experiential learning opportunities for students.
  • The PCSE Advisory BoardPeer Advisors, and alumni network provide invaluable advice and support for the Center. Special thanks go out to the 110 alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends who served as presenters, advisory board, judges, and peer advisors in 2013-2014.
  • More than 1,200 members of Wesleyan Alumni in Philanthropy and Public Service (WAPPS) promote service and social impact among the alumni community, and they co-host events with the Patricelli Center. Digital Wesleyan engages students and alumni interested in tech and startups.
  • Social entrepreneurship colleagues from other institutions come together through AshokaU to share ideas and resources.ashokau quote

In 2014/2015, the PCSE will seek to engage a wider range and greater number of students and alumni with an interest in social impact or entrepreneurship. With the belief that Wesleyan people can contribute measurably to the impact of existing organizations, we will explore ways to better encourage and fund intrapreneurship. Lastly, we will expand partnerships with the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Wesleyan Career Center, and other collaborators to leverage resources and increase support for students and alumni.

To learn more or find out how you can support the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, visit www.wesleyan.edu/patricelli or contact mjkingsley@wesleyan.edu.

Just a quick note of thanks to the following alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends who donated their time and expertise to the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship in 2013-2014. Your involvement has made our programs stronger, and we look forward to continued collaboration!

Advisory Board
Phoebe Boyer ’89
Carl Byers ’93
Sharon Belden Castonguay
Marcus Chung ’98
Lara Galinsky ’96
Joyce Jacobsen
Ellen Jewett ’81 P’17
Bob Miller P’02 P’99
Kennedy Odede ’12
Robert Patricelli ’61 P’90 P’88
Muzzy Rosenblatt ’87
Ilene Rosenthal ’74 P’17
Rob Rosenthal
Sarah Williams ’88

Peer Advisors
Jason Brandner ’16
Alex Cantrell ’14
Val Demuynck ’16
Alicia Gansley ’15
Marina King ’16
Brent Packer ’15
Maeve Russell ’14
Yekaterina Sapozhnina ’16
Ted Shabecoff ’16
Tanaya Srini ’15
Ariane Turley ’15

Grant Judges
Phoebe Boyer ’89
Ali Chaudhry ’12
Tim Devane ’09
Lexy Funk ’91
Amir Alexander Hasson ’98
Rachel Hines ’82 P’18
Makaela Kingsley ’98
Rob Rosenthal
Maeve Russell ’14
Marc Schleifer ’95
Sarah Williams ’88
Meredith Lobel ’01
David Jay ’04

Just a quick note of thanks to the following alumni, students, faculty, and friends who donated their time and expertise to the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship in 2013-2014. We learned from you and look forward to welcoming you back soon!

Nakia Booth ’96
Peter Kim Frank ’12
Julian Applebaum ’13
Kwaku Akoi ’14
Katya Sapozhnina ’16
Oladoyin Oladapo ’14
Ted Shabecoff ’15
J. Dontrese ‘Smack’ Brown
Evan Carmi ’13
Steve Windsor
Lionel Nyange ’12
Carlo Francisco ’11
Jonathan Lyons ’12

Beezer Clarkson ’94
Kagiso Bond ’01
Erica Gersowitz ’01

Kira Fabrizio ’97

Mary Cyriac ’02
Jackson Ulrich ’14
Steve Marcelynas

Scott Lombart

John Rhea ’87
Shola Olatoye ’96
Sharon Greenberger ’88
John Alschuler ’70
Muzzy Rosenblatt ‘87
Tracey Gardner ‘96

Hailey Sowden ’15
Joshua Lee ’16
Adin Vaewsorn ’15
Nur Moebius

Wendy Jeffries ’01
Liz Bliss ’01

Abigail Hornstein
Persephone Hall
Richie Adelstein
Monica Noether ‘74
Damien Sheehan-Connor
Lexy Funk ‘91
Sam Astor ‘07
Garrett Blank ‘11
Kevin Curtin ‘13
Hailey Sarage ‘09
Ben Carus ‘14

Kate Clopeck

Alexis Ohanian
Peter Frank ’12

Jordyn Lexton ‘08
Peter Frank ‘12
Gabi Fondiller ‘07
Jonathan Leland ‘07
Jason Rosado ‘96
Raghu Appasani ‘12
Mufaro Dube ‘08
Cynthia Jaggi ‘00

Jack Leonard Ed.D.

Evan Okun ’13
Circles & Ciphers staff

Jake Levine ’08
Alex Rosen ’08
Tim Devane ’09
Peter Frank ’12

Sarah Abbott ’10
Joy Anderson ’89
Shawn Dove ’84
Dave Kane ’93
Tim Freundlich ’90
Jason Segal ’95
Andy Weissman ’88
Sarah Williams ’88

Juliet Schor ’75
Steve Oleskey ’64
Jonathan Haber ’85
Ellen Remmer ’75 P’12

Kate Weiner ’15
Meagan Erhart

Rebecca Knight ’98
Marcus Chung ’98

Alex Cantrell ’14
Katya Sapozhnina ’16
Oladoyin Oladapo ’14
Tavo True-Alcala ’15

Tracie McMillan

Adam Poswolsky ’05

Art Feltman ‘80
Ysette Guevara ‘98
Liza Conrad ‘11
Zach Valenti ‘12
Kwaku Akoi ’14

Kennedy Odede ’12
Jessica Posner Odede ’09

We just heard that The Rockefeller Foundation is still hiring for its Innovation Internship, which wraps up in September 2014. If you’re looking for something to do for the rest of the summer – or more likely, if you want to make a note of this opportunity and inquire for next summer – read on.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. They pursue this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas – advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities – to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change.

The Innovation intern will work with the Innovation Pathway team, headquartered in New York. The Intern’s time will be split across supporting the design and development of distinct innovation solutions, such as financial or technological solutions, and of capacity building tools that enable the Foundation, its grantees and partners to continuously innovate to solve complex development problems. The Intern will conduct research, interviews, plan meetings, attend convenings (when appropriate), and gain exposure to several focus areas of the Foundation. The Intern will analyze existing trends and tools, develop reports and presentations and manage projects. The Intern will report to the Senior Program Associate on the Innovation Pathway team.


More information is at http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/intern-innovation

From Rachel Unger ’15:

Are you interested in social justice and protecting the environment, public health and human rights from corporate abuse? Looking for an internship in the Boston area for this upcoming Fall, Spring, or next Summer?

This summer, I have an internship at Corporate Accountability International, and we’re looking for talented and passionate students and recent graduates to fill our Fall, Spring and Summer 2015 internships. Our internships are a unique opportunity to gain valuable organizing and non-profit experience. This is a hands-on program, designed to mentor and cultivate students interested in social justice, strengthen their understanding of a fast-paced campaign organization, and prepare them with the skills and experience necessary to challenge corporate abuse.

Corporate Accountability International has a range of internships from campaign organizing, to communications and media, to finance, to non-profit administration, and more. The organization offers internships in all of our departments, so there’s an opportunity for everyone! I am interning on the International Water Campaign to Stop Corporate Control of Water, and it has been an amazing experience. I’ve learned valuable skills relating to research, media relations, writing, recruitment, and organizing, all while working with an enthusiastic team of incredibly smart and hard-working people.

Feel free to contact me, Rachel Unger ’15, for more information at reunger@wesleyan.edu.

Check out www.stopcorporateabuse.org/internships to learn more about internship opportunities at Corporate Accountability International!

Volunteer-Hands-LargeSummer is a great time to get more involved with volunteer work than you may have time for during the school year. However, as members of the Wesleyan community, we should always be thinking critically, and our volunteer experiences should not be exempt from this. Natalie Jesionka of The Muse has a “definitive” checklist for people before they volunteer. Though the list was written with abroad volunteers as a target audience, it can easily be adapted for any person, whether they are volunteering through Wesleyan’s Office of Community Service, going into Teach for America, or doing a fellowship abroad. Check out the first section here, and then read the rest of the list:

Before You Leave

  • What, exactly, do you want to accomplish?
  • Does the community you are working with have a specific request or need?
  • If not, are your specific skills and services needed (and wanted) in the community or organization you’re working with?
  • Are you starting a new organization or working with an established one? How will this impact your project?
  • Are you creating competition and challenges for other organizations’ fundraising and initiatives? Can this be avoided?
  • Is this a short-term or long-term project? Are you being honest and clear about your timeline?
  • What will the full project entail in terms of time and resources? Can you follow through with your commitment to the community or project?
  • Is your project sustainable, or is it likely to shut down within two years because of project maintenance or funding challenges ahead?
  • How much money do you need to raise to fund the project? Do you have funds secured, do you need to raise more funds, or are you bringing in funds piecemeal? Can you meet the goal by a set deadline?
  • Have all the right people been informed of your project?
  • Do you or does your organization have the relationships and reputation you need to make contacts in the community?

To read the complete “Ultimate Checklist for Any Volunteer,” visit the full article here.

With summer upon us once again, we are returning to our practice of highlighting some of the incredible events happening around Middletown each week. With the help of Arts2go.org, the Middletown Patch, and Wesleyan’s calendar, we’ve put together a list of some of the incredible events happening during the next two weeks. Get out for a study or work break, and enjoy the Middletown community!

Tuesday, July 1st

KlekoloTuesday Music at Klekolo: Check in every Tuesday beginning at 7 pm for live music. The line-up changes weekly. If you want your coffee with music, chess, friendly conversation on any Tuesday evening, visit Klekolo! (7:oop, Klekolo)


Wednesday, July 2nd

zilimisikZili Misik: Dance to the powerful New World Soul rhythms of Zili Misik! Based in Boston, the all-female group was founded by Kera M. Washington ’95, who was a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Hand Drumming Competition. The band traces their roots to five countries and three continents, and has been bridging cultures since 2005, opening for artists such as Boukman Eksperyans and Zap Mama. Reconnecting Haitian and Jamaican roots music with the West African influences in Brazilian samba, Cuban son, and American neo soul, Zili Misik’s original creations and traditional folksongs feature five vocalists singing lyrics in English, Kreyol, Portuguese, and Spanish over trombone, sax, piano, bass, guitar, drums, and percussion. (CFA Courtyard/7p/Free)

Thursday, July 3rd

North End Farmers Market: This week only, there will be an evening market in honor of the Fourth of July! Come by and get fresh fruit and veggies at the North End Farmers Market! (Outside ION Market/4-8p)

creative processMiddletown Gallery Walk; “The Creative Process”: During the month of July, Green Street Arts Center be exhibiting the work of three teaching artists from the Connecticut Office of the Arts and the Higher 
Order Thinking (HOT) Schools Program – Mark Patnode, Sanna Stanley and Roger Tremblay.  Since the Green Street Arts Center is now home to Connecticut’s renowned HOT Schools program and Wesleyan will be the host site of the HOT Schools Summer Institute, July 14-18, Green Street is pleased to simultaneously showcase some of Connecticut’s finest teaching artists. (Green Street Arts Center/5p/Free)

Middletown Annual Fireworks Display: The Middletown Symphonic Band will be performing for Middletown’s Annual Fireworks Display on Thursday, July 3rd on the front lawn of City Hall (245 DeKoven Drive, Middletown). Come and enjoy music under the fireworks. Estimated start time is 8 PM. Free Admission. 

Sunday, July 6th

Food Not Bombs: Food Not Bombs shares food about 1 pm in front of the Buttonwood. Anyone is welcome. Consider yourself invited to help us prepare vegetarian food at the First Church on 190 Court Street at 11:30 am. (The Buttonwood Tree)

Great Make Believe Improv Show: Here at GMBS Headquarters, the improv keeps coming in, and we’re slaves to the production line. Made from 100% fresh suggestions and sharp wit harvested from years of experience, we are committed to delivering a product of the highest quality that you and your family will enjoy! (The Buttonwood Tree/7p/$5)


anythinggoesAnything Goes Open Mic Monday: The World’s a stage … the mic is OPEN! This Open Mic is for YOU – the budding artist. Showcase your talents, nurture them with this supportive group. Recite a poem, sing a song, dance, read some spoken word, the microphone is yours for the asking. Community spirit prevails. We have congas and a piano or BYO instrument. Ends around 9:30 – 10pm. (7:30, The Buttonwood Tree)

Tuesday, July 8th

jamesgrashowJames Grashaw; Art and Cardboard: Connecticut sculptor, woodcutter and mixed-media artist James Grashow has been creating works that address themes of man, nature, and mortality since his first sculpture show at the Allan Stone Gallery in 1966. He returns to Wesleyan to discuss his recent work with corrugated cardboard. (CFA Hall/12:10p/Free)


romanholidaySummer Film Series: Roman Holiday: A princess plays hooky from her royal duties for 24 hours with a reporter. This is one of Hollywood’s most sweetly romantic films — a frothy, modern telling of the Cinderella story, in reverse.



Friday, July 11th

North End Farmer’s Market: Come get fresh fruit and veggies at the North End Farmers Market! (Outside ION Market)

CamilleABrownCamille A. Brown & Dancers: Camille A. Brown & Dancers return to Wesleyan following their sold-out appearance during the DanceMasters Weekend Showcase Performance in March 2012 with the Connecticut premiere of an excerpt from Mr. TOL E. RAncE (2012), as well as the work-in-progress Black Girl, which will premiere at The Joyce Theater in New York in 2015. (CFA Theater, 8p, $10-22)


Saturday, July 12th

Art Reception for Alex Ortiz: Uniquely designed and hand painted glassware, created with multiple layers of applied mediums. Each piece is one of a kind, created using enamels, iridescent glazes, handmade paper, precious metal leafs and finished with resin. Alex Ortiz’s art is inspired by shapes that create patterns, cultures of the East, nature, and colors. Refreshments available. (The Buttonwood Tree/4p/Free)


doowopWESU 75th Anniversary Doo Wop ExtravaganzaLovers of vintage Doo Wop, Rhythm and Blues, and Rock and Roll should mark their Calendars for a night to remember when WESU Middletown presents a fundraising concert in celebration of 75 years of community Radio & 35 years of the Moondog Matinee with a fundraising concert. (Middletown High School Performing Arts Center/8p/$30)

Sunday, July 13th

Food Not Bombs: Food Not Bombs shares food about 1 pm in front of the Buttonwood. Anyone is welcome. Consider yourself invited to help us prepare vegetarian food at the First Church on 190 Court Street at 11:30 am. (The Buttonwood Tree)

Monday, July 14th

anythinggoesAnything Goes Open Mic Monday: The World’s a stage … the mic is OPEN! This Open Mic is for YOU – the budding artist. Showcase your talents, nurture them with this supportive group. Recite a poem, sing a song, dance, read some spoken word, the microphone is yours for the asking. Community spirit prevails. We have congas and a piano or BYO instrument. Ends around 9:30 – 10pm. (7:30, The Buttonwood Tree)

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 9.54.43 AM

AmericanEnterpriseInstituteResearch Fellow, Higher Education Reform: The American Enterprise Institute, a leading nonprofit public policy research organization, seeks a full-time research fellow to work in the area of education policy. The primary responsibility of this position is to autonomously manage and execute research projects on a variety of topics in postsecondary education, including: access and affordability; student success; financial aid reform; productivity, innovation and entrepreneurship; transparency and accountability; and career and technical education. Tasks also include writing, editing, conference planning, and public speaking.  This position requires excellent research, data analysis, and writing skills. Demonstrated experience in education policy research is necessary.

The research fellow will work closely with the resident scholar in higher education policy on a number of research projects, including an annual, data-driven report on pressing higher education issues. The fellow will also be expected to conduct and publish independent scholarly research, policy briefs, and short-form commentary (op-eds, blogs) as it contributes to AEI’s mission to inform current debates.  (Deadline: Tuesday, July 29)


The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards annual seed grants to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. Each grant recipient reports back with blog posts and photos. Here’s the first report from Boundless Updated Knowledge Offline (BUKO), one of the three 2014 winners, written by founder Joaquin Benares ’15. You can read more about Joaquin and BUKO in Wesleyan News.



Although the Philippines boasts one of the highest Internet dissemination rates in the region, the majority of the population is still on the wrong side of the digital divide. In recent years, the Internet has created a paradigm shift in how educational content is spread and digested; however, this phenomenon extends only to those fortunately connected. Boundless Updated Knowledge Offline (BUKO) is a Social Enterprise that seeks a sustainable solution to this problem. BUKO aims to bring video lectures, e-textbooks, and other online education tools to Philippine public schools to supplement their (sometimes non-existent) libraries, teaching aids, and contact time with teachers. We hope that BUKO helps to alleviate pressure on the teacher, fill a gap where books and learning materials are lacking, and lead to an increased standard of public education.

We have successfully deployed BUKO, with the support of the Department of Education, to two schools in Metro Manila. However, data gathered from these schools remains sparse, as a consistent metric of evaluation has not been identified and the logistics for the collection of data have not yet been put in place. A clear need for an educational consultant has been identified.

How does it work?

New tablets ready to be programmed with BUKO software

New tablets ready to be programmed with BUKO software

Our product is an electronic bookshelf (Raspberry Pi powered server) that contains 200,000 e-books (Project Gutenberg), 1,000 video lectures (Khan Academy), and 200 e-textbooks (CK-12) among others. All content is sourced from free online resources, but made accessible to students by us, offline over WiFi, through our server and Android tablets. The tablets are the most economical way to access the server’s content. The server and tablets are housed inside a secure mobile cart to mitigate deployment among teachers. Additionally, the Kariton enables the schools to maximize the utility of the BUKO package by enabling transportation of hardware between classrooms. Our vision is that teachers reserve the Kariton at the beginning of the school day, and on a schedule wheel it to different classrooms throughout the day, thereby maximizing use of the system. The server is also 100% customizable, just as one can stock a bookshelf with favorite books.

The past two months since the beginning of summer have been filled with challenges. Every social entrepreneur will grumble that “everything changes on the ground, and I couldn’t agree more. Our central question remains – “how do we prove, and improve on, BUKO’s effectiveness?” With the generous Seed Grant afforded to us by the PCSE, we continue to work to answer this question.

Moving Forward

The BUKO Kariton, or cart, that will hold tablets and be easily transported between classrooms

The BUKO Kariton, or cart, that will hold tablets and be easily transported between classrooms

To try to improve is more straightforward than to try to prove. The former involves actively assessing our server’s functionality and the design of our cart (which houses all of our tablets).

Unfortunately for us, the project’s coding requirements have become increasingly more complex and we were forced to seek the assistance of an external coding agency. After a short canvassing period we were put in touch with Orange&Bronze Software Labs. They have agreed to help us move through several iterations of our server in exchange for our public partnership. Not a bad deal at all.

Orange&Bronze Software Labs are currently helping us add new features to our server, namely, a feature that gives teachers the ability to add custom content directly from their own computers or smartphones. The addition of this feature comes in response to the feedback, collated from forms and conversations with students and educators, that we received on our earlier version of the server. We believe that this new feature will enable BUKO to better adapt to the needs of the specific teacher and school.

The BUKO team is also working to make the interface of the server more dynamic. We hope to add moving buttons, interactive animation, and brighter backgrounds so that the children get even more excited when using our product.

The “proving” portion of our central question was more challenging. We realized that at this stage in our development as an organization, we needed to collect some concrete, empirically based evidence that our product works. However, none of the members of our organization are professional educators. In fact, we are all full-time students. We have no experience collecting academic data, and no experience in compiling surveys of this nature.

To help us gather this data, we have teamed up with individuals from two institutions: Teach for the Philippines, and the University of the Philippines. Teach for the Philippines (TFP) is a partner of Teach for America, with a model of outreach built on the latter. The institution currently has over 50 fellows teaching 3rd grade within the Philippine public school system. With the help of the Teach for the Philippines management team and 7 TFP fellows, BUKO will be deployed to one of the schools that TFP works with. There, the product will hopefully serve over 300 students. Our partnership with the University of the Philippines, on the other hand, is through Monalisa Sasing, a PhD candidate in Mathematics Education. She will be helping us design a quantitative data collection process that will be based on the “pre-test and post-test” method. With her help, we hope to deploy to 10 schools throughout the Philippine archipelago, and hopefully serve over 1000 students in the process.

We have procured our first order of 60 tablets from China, and are in the process of quality testing each tablet and placing the next order. Exciting times are up ahead! We hope to deploy with Teach for the Philippines in late July and with Ms. Sasing in early August.

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