The fear of losing of her mother, Dr. Patience Onouha, to breast cancer, propelled 19-year old Amanda Ebokosia to action. As a sophomore at Rutgers University, she launched the not-for-profit organization The Gem Project.
Six years later, the Nigerian-American has helped over 1,200 young people aged 4 to 24, give back to their communities through service-based enrichment programs.
According to the organization’s website, “The programs sit on the helm of innovation and range from orchestrating …college campus awareness marches, interactive literacy programs for children, entrepreneurial contests, traveling awareness exhibits, filming educational public service announcements, developing community awareness luncheons, autism quilt-building, and more.”
Nigerian-American Harvard graduate Jessica Matthews only needed one engineering class to harness her inventor sensibility. Matthews and fellow Harvard classmate Julia Silverman took an engineering class for non-engineer majors, where they were tasked with addressing a social issue through art and science.
Soon after the duo founded, sOccket, a soccer ball that captures and stores kinetic energy that can then be used by plugging in any compatible plug into the DC outlet built into the ball. For every 30 minutes of play time used with the ball, it generates up to 3 hours of LED wattage.
The two also launched Uncharted Play in May 2011 to create more fun products and services that address major societal issues. sOccket is currently the flagship product.
Matthews’s social venture has gained $600,000 in financing and attention from former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative.