OZY Media Names Inaugural Class of OZY Genius Award Recipients

Three new companies, three new advocacy groups, one basic science project, one social experiment, one writing project and one documentary film.

Recipients will work throughout the summer; OZY Films will document the project results this fall.

OZY co-founder and CEO Carlos Watson congratulates OZY Genius Award recipient Christine Chen. (Photo: Business Wire)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--()--OZY, the first and favorite source for the Change Generation, today announced the inaugural recipients of the company’s OZY Genius Awards. Each recipient will get a stipend of up to $10,000 to pursue his or her project and will be part of an OZY Films documentary this fall that chronicles their progress.

“We had hundreds of submissions from around the world, and this inaugural class is a great cross-section of science and the humanities,” says Carlos Watson, OZY co-founder and CEO. “It’s a group of very socially conscious projects. Even the new-product selection is a 3-D prosthetic arm being developed specifically to be more affordable for the family of a three-year-old.”

The inaugural recipients span the globe – from Minnesota to Malawi and from Korea to Case Western. They come from three continents (Asia, Africa and North America) and five countries (the U.S., Kenya, Malawi, Ghana and Korea). More than 100,000 people visited the Ozy Genius Awards contest page.

The ten recipients of the inaugural OZY Genius Awards for 2015 are:

  • Sylvester Amponsah of Case Western Reserve University, for “Type II Superconductors.” Sylvester will study the subatomic properties of magnesium diboride in the superconducting state. Sylvester lives in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Cooper Bierscheid of North Dakota State University, for “A Truly Affordable 3-D Printed Prosthetic Arm.” Cooper will take a 3-D-printed myoelectric prosthetic arm to market and develop a nonprofit business. The arm will retail for less than $400, compared with similar current prosthetics that can cost more than $30,000. The design – which includes a wrist, an elbow, a hand grasp and a pinch – was created for a 3-year-old and will be able to be printed at any scale as the child grows. Cooper lives in Fargo, North Dakota.
  • Daniel Shinun Kang of McGill University, for “Chain Sequencing: Exterminating Poverty for 3 Million People in Korea.” Daniel will travel to Korea to influence Korean pension reform by publishing an interactive research paper and starting a grassroots dialogue that creates awareness of depleting public pension funds. Nearly 50 percent of the elderly population in Korea suffers from poverty. Daniel lives in Pierrefonds, Quebec.
  • Jason Heo of Swarthmore College, for “Farepath.” Jason will create an organization that uses technology to spread an efficient door-to-door donation system across American communities to end hunger. Jason lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
  • Danielle Feerst of Tufts University, for “AutismSees.” Danielle will create a company that provides engagement feedback to those teaching presentation, social and communications skills to young adults on the autism spectrum. Danielle lives in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
  • Christine Chen of Stanford University, for “DiverseCity.” Christine will create a community organization that offers an online platform connecting diverse, underrepresented and inspirational leaders to a global audience of students. Christine lives in Lewisville, Texas.
  • Naomi Kiarie of Framingham State University, for “A DREAMer Abroad.” Naomi will travel back to her native Kenya for the first time in 17 years to document the issues of immigration reform and the personal toll it takes living as an undocumented resident. Naomi lives in Leominster, Massachusetts.
  • Priscilla Takondwa Semphere of Smith College, for “The Ekari Book Series.” Priscilla will create a book series that follows 8-year-old Ekari, a little girl traveling across the African continent. Each volume will feature a different country, culture, food, story, music, location, language or adventure. Priscilla lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.
  • Kalina Silverman of Northwestern University, for “Big Talk.” Kalina will establish a video platform that aims to fundamentally change the way humans interact, inspiring introspection and meaningful human connection. Kalina lives in Santa Monica, California.
  • Michael DeVore of Claflin University, for “The Live Chair Barbershop App.” Michael will develop an iOS application that provides discounts for college students needing haircuts and hairstyles to help them make better first impressions in job interviews for summer internships and other opportunities in which excellent appearance is needed. Michael lives in Estill, South Carolina.

“The recipients of the OZY Genius Awards demonstrate that innovation comes in many forms. We applaud the breadth, depth and enormous ambition of these projects,” says Pamela Thomas-Graham, Head of Credit Suisse’s New Markets business and the bank’s Chief Marketing and Talent Officer. “The potential benefits to individuals, businesses and society of the recipients' projects are significant.”

Judges for this first installment included Emerson Collective founder and chair Laurene Powell Jobs and Google executive David Drummond. To be eligible for the first installment, contestants had to be currently enrolled college students. In future years, the competition will focus on other groups pursuing their genius. The global competition was sponsored by Credit Suisse and presented in cooperation with affordable education pioneer Chegg Inc.

Credit Suisse’s New Markets business seeks to build wealth among women, African Americans and the LGBT community. It does so in three ways: By creating products and solutions that meet the needs of these communities, including the LGBT Equality Index and Portfolio and the Entrepreneurs Circle for African-American business leaders; by addressing social issues that stand in the way of wealth creation, including co-hosting the first-ever American Justice Summit; and by supporting internal programs designed for each of these communities, including the Real Returns program for women.

OZY Media believes more is possible. Each day, OZY catches you up and vaults you ahead with substantive, stylish stories and experiences. Created by a diverse, world-class and authentically global team, OZY helps you see more, be more and do more. More than 10 million people turn to the OZY.com digital magazine each month, and more than 1.2 million subscribe to OZY emails and social feeds. Every morning, the Presidential Daily Brief deftly curates the most important and intriguing news within business, politics, pop culture and sports from the past 24 hours around the globe. The Daily Dose showcases the new and the next, focusing on eight smart stories spanning profiles of new people, emerging trends, provocative ideas and good sh*t. OZY’s content is also showcased by world-class partners including CNN, Huffington Post, MSN, PBS, NPR, USA Today and Yahoo!. Distribution partners include Feedly and Nearpod. OZY is supported by forward-leaning investors including Laurene Powell Jobs, Axel Springer, GSV Capital, Ron Conway, David Drummond, Dan Rosensweig and Larry Sonsini. Join us at OZY.com.

Editors: Photos and video footage of OZY Genius Award recipients are available upon request.


OZY Media
Michele Clarke, 203-912-0560

Release Summary

OZY Media announces the recipients of its inaugural OZY Genius Awards.


OZY Media
Michele Clarke, 203-912-0560