Macaulay Students Create Winning Solutions For UNICEF

NEW YORK, NY – July 22, 2013 – Last year, UNICEF launched Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed, a global movement to end preventable child deaths. Inspired by that effort and by the simple, low-tech solutions proposed, CUNY Vice Chancellor Gillian Small had a brainstorm.

“Many of our students come from these countries; who better to understand the problems and to come up with inventive, low tech solutions to them?”

Dr. Small worked with UNICEF to launch a unique competition, Fulfilling the Promise, a CUNY Design for UNICEF Challenge, and invited all levels of CUNY’s 270,000 matriculated students to enter. Student participants took advantage of UNICEF’s global network of knowledge to develop and pitch innovative solutions to health issues impacting children and mothers around the world.

Several groups of Macaulay students committed to the CUNY/UNICEF Challenge. Three Macaulay teams made it to the final round of judging.


Creative Solutions includes Raj Basak* (City ’15), Slava Brodetskiy* (Baruch ’14), Shehab Chowdhury (Baruch ’13), Kristi Timms (Hunter ’16), and Patryk Perkowski (’14). The team proposes to strategically introduce oral iron supplements in the form of a hard candy through community-based organizing and university partnerships.

“It’s a creative way of getting parents in villages to give the appropriate supplement amounts,” said Dr. Small.

In Her Hands includes Agnieszka Gugala* (Hunter ’14), Bianca Malhotra (Hunter ’15), Kate McQuarter (Brooklyn ’13), Swathi Mummini (Hunter ’13), and Jasmine Varghese (Brooklyn ’13). The team proposes a platform for addressing prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV through maternal health education.

Malhotra explains the team’s shared inspiration: “Three of our members are from India and are well acquainted with the cultural and social stigma of HIV. Two of us have volunteered in HIV clinics and orphanages in areas of India. One has specifically worked with children in Andhra Pradesh, where we plan to implement our proposal.”


Mission Nutrition included Christina Moawad (City ’16), Brian Wang (City ’16), Liudi Yang (City ’16), Ariel Yardeni (Hunter ’16).

The In Her Hands and Creative Solutions teams will visit UNICEF sites overseas in the coming months to explore implementation of their winning ideas.

“I am always completely taken by what our students get up to,” said Dr. Small. “Their work is simply amazing!” She plans to expand the CUNY/UNICEF Challenge next year to include more student teams.

*Raj, Slava, and Agnieszka are also Hertog Scholars.


About Macaulay Honors College

Macaulay Honors College at The City University of New York offers exceptional students a uniquely personalized education with access to the vast resources of the nation’s largest urban university and New York City itself.   Selected for their top high school records and leadership potential, Macaulay students receive a full-tuition scholarship, a laptop and technology support, and a $7,500 Opportunities Fund to pursue global learning and service opportunities.  A Cultural Passport provides access to museums, libraries, and other treasures around New York City. Macaulay students enroll in one of eight CUNY senior colleges (Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter, John Jay, Lehman, Queens and Staten Island). For more information, see

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