people holding oversize checks large

Citizens Board supports impactful student projects

By Emily Wilson

Citizens Board supports impactful student projects

By Emily Wilson
For 24 years, the Changemakers Student Fund, created by the Citizens Board, has supported innovative projects across the University of Miami that propel change, enhance learning, and expand meaningful engagement with the wider community.

A trio of different student projects, each with the potential to generate change in its area and benefit the community, has been selected for support by the University of Miami Citizens Board.

Together the projects will develop a pipeline of future medical professionals from underserved communities; provide telehealth nursing care to caregivers of vulnerable newborns; and offer a novel interactive dictionary to teach the language of entrepreneurship.

For 24 years, the Changemakers Student Fund, created by the Citizens Board, has supported innovative projects across the University that propel change, enhance learning, and expand meaningful engagement with the wider community.

Individual Citizens Board members make donations to the fund each year. The Citizens Board Changemakers Committee reviews applications from students, faculty, and staff, and narrows the field to the top three finalists.

Of the three finalists selected for fiscal year 2022, Future Docs, a project of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement at the Miller School of Medicine, won the $25,000 Citizens Board Sebastian Hero Award, garnering a majority of votes from the committee and members-at-large.

Future Docs aims to reduce racial disparities and improve health equity by developing a next generation of physicians that is representative of the diverse communities it serves. To spark interest in medical professions among traditionally underrepresented students, the project will provide support, encouragement, and education about health careers to local sixth and seventh graders 

The two winners of the $10,000 Citizens Board ’Cane Crusader Awards were “Taking Baby Steps into the Future: Training Students to Provide Telehealth Nursing Care for Vulnerable Infants and Families,” a project of the School of Nursing and Health Studies; and “Polyneering: Yuiwe Lab Innovation and Entrepreneurship Dictionary for Teaching and Sharing,” from Miami Herbert Business School.

The Baby Steps project, an existing collaboration with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, aims both to provide telehealth nursing care to caregivers of infants recently discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit at Nicklaus and to give undergraduate nursing students the opportunity to learn actively about telehealth nursing. The Changemaker grant will allow the project to expand its telehealth simulation education, offering students much-needed experience. 

The Polyneering project is a unique, curated entrepreneurship dictionary with a new glossary of terms and search algorithms that produce not only definition but also links to TED Talk videos and even hashtags.

As in 2020, finalists participated in October’s #OneDayOneU Giving Day, attracting designated donations to their projects. Miami Herbert Business School matched Giving Day contributions to the Polyneering project with a $2,500 gift; and the Miller School and the School of Nursing and Health Studies matched Future Docs and Taking Baby Steps, respectively, with a $1,250 gift each 

At November’s Changemakers Finale, students gave presentations detailing the finalist projects.

“Sponsoring the Changemakers Student Fund is a highlight for the Citizens Board,” said Roberta Jacoby, chair of the Changemakers Committee, immediate past president of the Citizens Board, and member of the University’s Board of Trustees. “It gives community members a chance to hear directly from students on projects that make a difference. It also showcases the students’ abilities to communicate what they’re passionate about, think outside the box, and utilize what they’re learning at the U.”

Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, the Citizens Board is a select group of more than 230 South Florida business and civic leaders who actively support the University’s philanthropic and programmatic priorities while also serving as its ambassadors to the community. Since its inception, the Citizens Board has raised an estimated $454 million for the University of Miami.