UM-Flint Students Collaborate with Ann Arbor to Make A Difference

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Aisha Changezi of UM-Flint, right, was part of team A.K.A.K.A., winning the $1,000 second prize as well as $500 more in other prizes. Other team members included Kate Blessing, Ashlyee Freeman, Ashrita Shetty, and Karen Cuenca.

UM-Flint students know how to make a change.

And they’ve got the prize money to prove it.

Two UM-Flint students recently won prizes for their work on different teams through the Social Impact Challenge—a competition put on by the Center for Social Impact in partnership with UM-Flint Outreach Office.

Aisha Changezi and Muhammed Ammar were both UM-Flint students on separate teams that took home prizes.

Changezi was part of team AKAKA, which took home the second place prize. Ammar was part of the team Social Enrichment Whizzes, which took third place.

Both were on teams comprised of Flint and Ann Arbor students.

Changezi’s project involved creating connection between entrepreneurship and the arts community.

She said the diversity of the team played a huge role in its success.

“The best part was working with students from different disciplines,” Changezi, a bachelor’s of fine arts student said, adding that her team had students who were studying urban design, business, and others.

“It really highlighted the advantage of having different approaches to solve the problem. As a creative person, I had an idea but together with my diverse team members, we made it a functional possibility.”

The second-place team took home $1,000, and the third-place team took home $500.

Paula Nas, Interim Director of University Outreach at UM-Flint called the collaboration between Flint and Ann Arbor students “powerful.”

“I think that was one of the best parts of the whole program,” she said. “We had students from different disciplines, graduate students, undergrads…I think it was a great learning experience for everybody.”

The challenge began in January with approximately 110 interested students from both campuses. Of those, 18 teams with 70 students registered proposals for the competition, and after the first round of judging in February, four team finalists were selected to advance.

The awards were handed out recently at the Flint Institute of Arts.

Scott Atkinson is a writer for UM-Flint University Relations and teaches writing.