Alumni News and Stories
Alexandra Cooper '17 along with a Columbia classmate and two Brazilian entrepreneurs have won a $20,000 EdTech Competition for a proposal aimed at improving the delivery of services to special education students within the Brazilian public school system.
Organized by the Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the competition drew students from across seven Columbia-affiliated schools to work with 12 Brazilian entrepreneurs selected by Fundação Lemann. The objective was to generate tech-based solutions to problems within Brazil's public schools.
Cooper's team focused on special education. The seven-month challenge began in October when the Brazilian participants came to Columbia for a week of intensive design-thinking work. The teams conferred by video chats during the fall. In the spring, Cooper took a graduate course at SIPA called "Creating a Social Enterprise" to supplement her work on the project.
In May, the project, Olhares, received first place. The $20,000 award will allow the team to continue to develop the concept.
While at Riverdale, Cooper gained experience in design thinking while working on the Purpose Project, a concept developed by Riverdale and IDEO to provide a digital platform to help students develop a sense of purpose.
In addition to Columbia Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Design, the School of International and Public Affairs Tech & Policy Initiative, and Fundação Lemann, sponsors included the Center for Development Economics & Policy, Teachers College, UNICEF, and the Nasdaq Educational Foundation,