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Swarthmore Social Innovators

Social Innovation Lab Associates 

Chris Gaeta

Chris Gaeta, Class of 2022
Chris is a first-year interested in Economics and Psychology. His passion for social innovation and design thinking was sparked when he founded a non-profit neighborhood clean-up organization. Chris is excited to share the Social Innovation Lab's resources and with the Swarthmore community, and hopes to assist other students in identifying the skills and tools they need to apply knowledge to need in a collaborative and engaged way.

Rebecca Castillo

Rebecca Castillo, Class of 2020
Rebecca is a junior with a special major in Education, Race, & Media. She was awarded the Lang Center's Project Pericles Fund, which gave her the opportunity to design and run a summer digital media intensive for high school students in Los Angeles. She is a Lang Center Associate, a consultant at the Media Center, the manager for Men's Soccer, and a member of the Film Club. Her interests include education, photography, filmmaking, Latinx activism, and social entrepreneurship.

Hussain Zaidi

Hussain Zaidi, Class of 2022
Hussain is a first year from Lahore, Pakistan and is excited about being one this year's Social Innovation Lab Associates! His interests range fro Biology to History, and his interest in social innovation stems from the community-based advocacy, fund-raising and educational work he did in Pakistan. He is also interested in issues related to global development and finding innovative and strategic solutions for this problems.

Steven Fernandez

Steven Fernandez, Class of 2020
Steven is a junior from Brooklyn, NY majoring in Computer Science and Philosophy. He is interested in the best way to apply the knowledge he has developed to lead a continuous change; not just in the communities he grew up in but also in the larger global community that everyone belongs to. This year, he hopes to lead change on Swarthmore's campus and help other facilitate the changes they would like to see realized.

Jolleeen Opula

Jolleeen Opula, Class on 2021
Jolleen is a sophomore who intends to pursue a special major in Architectural Studies. She has always been fascinated by social innovation which is why she wanted to work at the Social Innovation Lab at the Lang Center. She believes that more young people should be encouraged to use their creative and innovative ideas to solve pressing world problems. She is excited to work as a Social Innovation Lab this year and is looking forward to a fruitful year.

Toby Cavalier

Toby Cavalier, Class of 2019
Toby is a senior Biology major interested in applying science to social problems. He conducted a global case study on environmental factors influencing public health in India, South Africa, and Brazil, and worked at Rebuilding Together San Francisco, a non-profit that provides essential home repairs for income-qualified folks. He is especially interested in public health, urban planning, and environmental studies. Outside of school, he loves playing guitar, surfing, and playing soccer.

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 (  ​


Cassandra Stone

Cassandra Stone, Class of 2020
Cassandra studies Computer Science and Philosophy. She founded a club called LaunchDeck, which connects students with startup ideas to funding for their technology needs. She also worked as the Director of Outreach on Mary Gay Scanlon's Congressional campaign. She loves politics and tech, and hopes to work in data analytics in the political sector. Outside of school, she enjoys exploring the fashion industry and keeping up with pop culture.

Hanan Ahmed

Hanan Ahmed, Class of 2019
Hanan is a Richard Rubin Scholar studying Psychology and Peace & Conflict Studies. She is a Student Academic Mentor, and works for the Dean of Diversity, Inclusion & Community Development. She interned at the Black Women's Health Alliance, facilitated Safe Dates Teen Dating Violence workshops, and helped organize the National Coalition of Black Women's Domestic Violence Summit. She enjoys reading Black feminist literature, dancing time with friends, fitness, and braiding hair.

Lamia Makkar

Lamia Makkar, Class of 2021
Lamia is sophomore double majoring in Computer Science and Anthropology, and is most interested in using entrepreneurship to solve social issues. She works on co-creating educational opportunities in rural Haiti through the nonprofit Haiti: Hands On and is currently building WOCO, a tech platform that enables the growth of innovative ecosystems in emerging markets as a mechanism for local development. She is a Lang Center Associate and Diversity Peer Advisor.

Campus Social Innovators Community

In 2017/18, 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 2018/19 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 Professor Denise Crossan.