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BCIL Impact Challenge Proposals Reviewed by Biden-Harris Transition Team Member
by Dr. Josh Berger, Director of the Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership

Students from across the country shared proposals through the Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership Impact Challenge on the ethical and efficient distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. Members of the BCIL Collaborative, along with professionals specializing in infectious diseases, reviewed the entries and selected a small pool of winning teams. These teams, including three from Brentwood, then gathered together virtually to collaborate on their ideas and prepare final presentations for Secretary Bob McDonald, Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs under President Obama and a member of the Biden-Harris Transition Advisory Board. Secretary McDonald gave individualized feedback to each group and was so impressed by the ideas that he forwarded them along to the Head of the Presidential COVID-19 Task Force who in turn reviewed the ideas with his team!

WATCH the compilation video of the winning student submissions.

The states with the most entries included New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington DC, Virginia, Texas, California, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, and Washington. It was inspiring to see students from so many different regions build on each other’s ideas and dedicate themselves to having a meaningful impact during this challenging time. Their submissions were excellent, and we were grateful that their ideas got reviewed at the highest governmental level.

We hope all students participate in our next Impact Challenge through which we have partnered with the Center for Humane Technology and asked students to “identify a challenge related to the humane and healthy use of technology and propose a solution that advances systemic change.” You can view the details of this Impact Challenge here, and proposals are due by next Thursday, April 22. 

Below are a few quotes from students with exceptional Impact Challenge entries on vaccine distribution:

“The most meaningful part of this amazing experience was being able to create a greater connection network with very talented people, (such as other BCIL Challenge winners) but also with lots of people who were so willing to help me advance my idea if I want to pursue that. I am incredibly grateful for the resources the BCIL Impact Challenge has provided me with and I was really inspired after our meeting with Secretary McDonald to expand my project even more and know that it will be able to influence a big current issue in our lives.” —Karen M. ’22 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

“I think listening and sharing our ideas with one another was really important to making this experience memorable. I think collaboration is key, especially when it comes to meeting those who share the same passion on an idea or solution you want to see through.” —Richa K. ’23 (San Jose, California)

“The most meaningful part of the BCIL experience was the constructive feedback and support I received from my like-minded and highly motivated peers. Not only did said feedback help develop my group's own ideas, but it broadened my own perspective and allowed me to view my work from others' viewpoints. Also, it was wonderfully inspiring to see how many young innovators around the country are passionate about making our world better.” —Victoria S. ’21 (Dallas, Texas)

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