2017 OZY Genius Award Recipients Announced

OZY Media, the daily information source for important stories told nowhere else, announced today the recipients of the 2017 OZY Genius Awards, which recognizes and supports the outstanding ideas and envisioned innovations of 10 college students with grants of up to $10,000.

The 2017 recipients will formally receive their awards at the OZY Genius Awards Ceremony, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co, which takes place March 31 at the WNET Studios in New York City.

The OZY Genius Awards aims to support and celebrate the next Albert Einstein, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey or Wendy Kopp, as they write groundbreaking books, film thought-provoking documentaries, launch tomorrow's industry-disrupting companies, or create the next game-changing social change movements.

"As the first media organization dedicated to the change generation, OZY is passionate about people who drive progress through education, innovation and the exploration of ideas," says Carlos Watson, OZY co-founder and CEO. "With the OZY Genius Awards, we're acting on this core mission by recognizing and supporting the scientists, creators, educators, innovators and leaders of tomorrow whose ideas will shape our lives and better the world in which we live."

Recipients of the 2017 OZY Genius Awards, who hail from Harvard, Brown, Stanford, UCLA, Notre Dame, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of California, Berkeley, Vassar College and Wheaton College, are pursuing projects in fields including fin-tech, virtual reality, bio-tech, the performing arts, social equality, civic engagement, and digital entrepreneurship.

The OZY Genius Awards recipients were selected by a panel of distinguished judges that includes Emerson Collective founder and chair Laurene Powell Jobs, Yahoo Global Anchor Katie Couric, Google senior executive David Drummond, and NPR President & CEO Jarl Mohn.

"We were blown away by the entries. What's most amazing are the stories. These aren't students looking for seed money to become rich; they're looking to solve problems," says Kristin Lemkau, Chief Marketing Officer at JPMorgan Chase, and one of the judges of the 2017 OZY Genius Awards.

The 2017 OZY Genius Award winners and their respective projects include:

Javier Valverde (Notre Dame)

Saveright Investing: SaveRight is an online wealth management platform that provides personalized investment recommendations so you can save towards your life goals.

Claudine Humure (Wheaton College)

3D Printed Adjustable Prosthetic Socket: This prosthetic socket project primarily relies on digital design and 3D printing. It will be used to help amputees in developing countries who are not able to afford the prosthetic limbs on the market today.

Amanda Gorman (Harvard)

Generation Empathy: Generation EMPATHY is a virtual reality experience that explores the diverse lives of young change makers.

Steve Rathje (Stanford)

Proscenium Live: A free festival of new plays in Portland, OR, called Proscenium Live, with the goal of providing development opportunities for emerging playwrights while also making theatre more accessible to diverse audiences.

Gevick Safarians (UCLA)

NeuroConnect: Combining virtual reality and Neuroscience to create the important doctor-patient relationship.

Elise Shea (Vassar)

Speak to Me: Speak to Me connects college students and refugees through a digital language learning platform.

Dante Alvarado-Leon (Berkeley)

MentorRoom: An online community of mentors and students to inspire the next generation of leaders and geniuses. MentorRoom celebrates diversity by bringing together students and mentors to explore their interests and passions, discover new academic and professional pursuits, and learn from each other.

Trang Duong (Brown)

Penta, A Joint Initiative: Penta aims to increase access to prosthetics for low-income people with limb disabilities in Vietnam.

Aidan McCarty (Stanford)

ePluribus: Americans feel disenfranchised and crave an impactful way to Engage with lawmaking. Legislators have outdated means of receiving feedback and effectively representing citizens. ePluribus solves both problems at once.

Maria Mckiever (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Grapevyne: The Grapevyne App is a mobile tool that provides economic opportunity and digital exposure for men and women who style black hair from their homes, while also providing access to affordable stylist services for customers on a budget.

Education is a part of OZY's DNA, shaping its coverage and inspiring its leadership and staff. Carlos Watson grew up as the son of two teachers and later founded a successful college prep company. OZY investor, contributor and board member Laurene Powell Jobs, has made education her life's work. Powell is founder and chair of Emerson Collective, an organization that supports social entrepreneurs and organizations working in the areas of education and social justice, and of the non-profit College Track, which helps prepare low-income students from underserved communities for college. And investor and board director Louise Rogers spent many years as CEO and Chair of TES Global, the largest network of teachers in the world.

OZY has built on its commitment to education through its editorial coverage and advocacy, bringing voices from the web and into the world with live events that inspire change. OZY readers share this passion for education, with thousands turning up at the first ever OZY Fusion Fest in Central Park in July to hear bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell talk about the critical link between education and inequality.

With 25 million monthly unique users and 2 million subscribers, OZY brings readers "the new and the next," offering 100% original content, with a focus on the future, via unique OZY News, OZY Magazine, OZY TV and OZY Events products. Called "the new media magnet for the news hungry" by Fortune magazine, OZY's in-depth and high-quality journalism has attracted a number of high-profile media partners including The New York Times, NPR, PBS NewsHour, TED, The Financial Times, The Huffington Post and many more, as well as guest editors including Bill Gates, President Bill Clinton, and Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Founded in 2013 by Emmy award winning journalist Carlos Watson and co-founder Samir Rao, the OZY team is based in Mountain View, CA and backed by leading Silicon Valley investors including Laurene Powell Jobs, Ron Conway, David Drummond, Larry Sonsini and Dan Rosensweig and a significant investment from publishing giant Axel Springer.

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