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Swarthmore Social Innovators

Social Innovation Lab Associates 

The Social Innovation Lab Associates assist the Lab's faculty and staff with space management, help fulfill training needs, and work on individualized projects in the social innovation space. Take a look below to meet the students and learn a bit more about the projects they work on. 

Christopher Gaeta

Erin Cronin, Class of 2022
Erin is working on a social enterprise which produces funds that will go towards ending "academic hazing" on college campuses by providing fun activities for students as well as providing workshops for professors!



Christopher Gaeta

Christopher Gaeta, Class of 2022
Chris is assisting Steve Schwartz ’84 with expansion and research efforts for Africa Fire Mission (AFM). This project affords the opportunity to bridge didactic coursework that the Lang Center has offered through seminars and partners both on our campus and in the greater community. Through collaborating with leaders in AFM, Chris will primarily center work on forming relationships with peer organizations, researching pertinent case studies to enhance operations , in addition to implementing Design Thinking practices and the Social Business Model Canvas skill sets to this project. 

Haron Kalii

Haron Kalii, Class of 2023
Haron is working on a project that is aimed at addressing Food Insecurity, and the impact of hunger and starvation in Kasaala--a rural area in the arid South East of Kenya.


Katie Knox

Katie Knox, Class of 2021
Katie is a junior, and is working on Swarthmore's Civic Engagement Map. The Map is designed to track social innovation projects across campus, and connect social innovators to community partners and other folks interested in innovation.


Natasha Markov-Riss

Natasha Markov-Riss, Class of 2020
Natasha is a member of Vertigo-go, Swarthmore's improv comedy group. There is a natural connection between VGG and SIL: in different ways, both are about innovation, collaboration, and creativity. Natasha would love to facilitate a partnership between the two groups, whether it is holding practices in the SIL (4 hours per week), or using the space for workshops. 

Hussain Zaidi

Hussain Zaidi, Class of 2022
Hussain's project is centered around working with the Global Health Forum to allow Swarthmore students creating health-related community-based projects to brainstorm and create innovative solitions to pressing issues in the realm of global health using resources available within the SILab. 

University Innovation Fellows

The University Innovation Fellows program (UIF), hosted by the d.School Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, empowers 1,500 students in 216 higher education institutions around the world to become leaders of change in higher education. Fellows work to ensure that all students gain the necessary attitudes, skills and knowledge to compete in the economy of the future (  ​


Christopher Gaeta

Christopher Gaeta, Class of 2022
In addition to being a SILA, Chris is also one of the 2019-2020 University Innovation Fellows!

Emma Parker Miller

Emma Parker Miller, Class of 2022
Emma is looking into ways to invite students who don't identify as innovators/entrepreneurs into that community. By creating less formal, more accessible spaces where students can learn about the process of design thinking and how it could be beneficial in their own lives, Emma hopes to get a wider variety of students interested and involved in existing programs for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Ray Sidener

Ray Sidener, Class of 2021
Ray is currently looking at creating a TEDx series on Innovation for Swarthmore. He really excited to talk to more people about what they think of the idea, reach out to speakers, and learn how to plan a large event. Hopefully it would help students to see the value of learning innovation skills for work in their respective fields.

Nancy Yuan

Nancy Yuan, Class of 2020
As part of the Swarthmore University Innovation Fellows team, Nancy is excited to apply human-centered design to innovate for ways to improve campus life for Swatties.


Campus Social Innovators Community

In 2017/18 and 2018/19, the Social Innovation Lab offered its space, expertise, and support to a number of other faculty, staff and student groups and associations, in particular:

The Dean of Student's Division

The President's Sustainability Research Fellowship program

The Clinton Global Initiative University network

The Center for Innovation and Leadership / SwatTank

In 2019/20 the Social Innovation Lab intends to expand services across campus and beyond, and is currently developing partnerships with external organizations who would like to collaborate on Design Thinking, Social Innovation, and Social Entrepreneurship related projects.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact Prof. Denise Crossan or Nimesh Ghimire '15.