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Brentwood Students Participate in UCLA's Impactathon
Dr. Josh Berger, Director, Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership

Standing in front of a packed UCLA auditorium filled with social entrepreneurs, graduate and undergraduate UCLA professors and students, and esteemed judges, 9th graders Michelle S., Billie Rose S., and Kaila H. delivered their pitch for a mental health business that connected young people across the country with Ph.D. students in Psychology.

Brentwood School was the only high school in attendance at UCLA's "Impactathon" hosted by the Anderson School of Business that "united students and professionals interested in using their skills and careers to drive social and environmental change." The event was sponsored by the SAM Initiative, a philanthropic organization dedicated to the most pressing needs in the greater Los Angeles community, and revolved around market approaches to addressing three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Good Health and Well-Being, Sustainable Development of Cities and Communities, and Responsible Consumption and Production.

Our group of 9th through 12th Grade students joined various teams while attending a variety of workshops on entrepreneurship and social impact. Some of the guest speakers included representatives from the Honest Company, Thrive Market, and Patagonia, along with UCLA Anderson School professors.

Said Michelle S. about the experience, "The Impactathon was an inspiring, invaluable event that got me thinking about a whole new way to problem-solve. I loved hearing from all the speakers about their companies, as well as interacting with attendees and learning about their business ideas. I was really proud that my team and I decided to come up with our own idea. When I finally went up to pitch, I wasn't as nervous as I was before because I really believed in our solution, and I was proud to be pitching it."

Emma M. and Zach. H. won a thousand dollars for their team working on an automatically temperature controlled window fan that could cool down the whole house using far less energy than a whole house fan at only 10 percent of the cost. Emma pitched in the finalist round and reflected, "The Impactathon was a very unique experience that both of us were lucky to be a part of. It not only gave us an insight of what goes into creating a business, but also a deeper understanding for the UN's Sustainable Development Goals."

Sophomore Jeremy Ghatan connected with the overall winners of the Impactathon and now has an opportunity to work with them during the summer. Said Jeremy, "I got my summer internship thanks to my experience at the Impactathon, and I appreciate how the BCIL is giving us great opportunities that we would not otherwise have."

Photo caption: Juniors Zach H. and Emma M. participate in their team's winning entrepreneurial pitch at UCLA's Anderson School of Business "Impactathon."

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