See the Impact Design Immersion Fellowship awardees for 2022.
Amanda’s passion for health and wellness is grounded in her South Bronx, New York upbringing. Recognizing the health disparities in her predominantly Black and Latino, low-income neighborhood, Amanda decided to study global health at the University of Pennsylvania to explore ways to address this complex issue. After UPenn, Amanda worked across various business operations and social impact roles in tech, including at Google and Peloton. In her spare time, she teaches group fitness classes.
Amanda will be exploring barriers to healthy behaviors in the neighborhood she grew up in — the South Bronx in New York City. Her focus will be on barriers to physical activity and healthy eating in low-income communities of color, with the goal of identifying interventions that will increase well-being and confidence in the short term and reduce chronic health conditions and health care costs in the long term.
Audrey graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA in government and international studies. Her professional experiences before attending Stanford GSB span consulting and tech, having spent two years at Deloitte before transitioning to the startup world. At Deloitte, Audrey supported projects that included program design for entrepreneur accelerators in East Africa and creating an app for resettlement agencies to more efficiently find homes for refugees. These experiences, paired with her more recent work in product at Peloton and two Nigerian fintech companies, have illustrated to her the social and economic benefits of technology. As a daughter of two Cameroonian immigrants, Audrey has had a long-standing desire to engage with work on the African continent. Today, Audrey is focused on the ways technology can advance economic growth and social good on the continent.
In Nigeria, the 41.5 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) contribute to 50% of the national GDP, account for 96% of businesses, and are responsible for over 85% of the workforce. As an IDIF Fellow, Audrey will explore how to support these MSMEs and other informal workers in the retail space. Specifically, Audrey will focus on addressing vulnerabilities due to a dependency on cash-based, physical interactions, despite an increasingly digital world.
Drew Barvir and Gabe Moynihan
Drew and Gabe met during their first year at Stanford GSB. Drew’s passion for mental health stems from personal and family experiences dating back to his childhood. Before Stanford GSB, Drew held various roles in technology and mental health care investing and operations, including in private equity at CPP Investments and strategy at Cambridge Brain Sciences. He has also volunteered with several mental health-related nonprofit organizations.
Before business school, Gabe worked as a health-tech entrepreneur and investor and is passionate about solving the mental health crisis experienced by youth in the United States. His passion stems from his own personal experiences with mental health and the experiences of others close to him. Growing up, Gabe founded a nonprofit focused on children with behavioral disorders and remains committed to helping people afflicted with behavioral conditions.
Drew and Gabe are focused on the problem of youth mental health, which they see as their generation’s most pressing medical condition. One in five people experiences mental illness, and depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Furthermore, 75% of mental illnesses develop before age 24, and suicide is the leading cause of death among youth. The COVID-19 pandemic intensified the problem: The number of youth struggling with mental health challenges has doubled since before the pandemic, and mental illness now costs the U.S. $225 billion per year. Through initial interviews and review of research, Drew and Gabe have identified the root causes of youth mental illness to be i) immense pressures of being a youth today (e.g., social media, college applications, sexuality, COVID-19, etc.) coupled with a lack of knowledge of how to cope; ii) stigma; and iii) inability to access or pay for care.
Elise is passionate about increasing health access and equity as well as economic opportunity. Prior to Stanford GSB, she was a founding team member and led strategy and partnerships at Merit America, a nonprofit focused on economic opportunity. Before that, she advised biotech and tech clients as a consultant at Bain & Co. Elise graduated from the Management & Technology Program at UPenn/Wharton with joint degrees in bioengineering and entrepreneurship.
Elise is working to improve the well-being of neurodiverse people, with the goal of improving experiences and outcomes for neurodiverse people socially, educationally, and/or professionally. Her work is focused on increasing treatment access and creating community. Being neurodiverse herself, she is excited to develop empathetic, dignified solutions.
Gus is a mining engineer and a dual MBA/MS student focusing on sustainable resource development. Before Stanford, Gus was chief engineer at a copper mine in Arizona. He also worked in underground and open-pit mines in Canada and Chile, focusing on building new mines, operating them, and closing them to meet regulatory guidelines. Gus is exploring entrepreneurial opportunities to improve the mining industry’s social and environmental impacts.
The mining industry is responsible for more than 4% of the world’s carbon emissions and provides the basic metals and materials for our everyday lives. Mines are also found in remote parts of the globe, facing unique environmental, social, technical, and political challenges. Finally, the green energy transition will require immense amounts of metals to build the electric vehicles, batteries, and technologies that will decarbonize our world; mining companies are also pledging ambitious goals to decarbonize. How will the industry get there? What levers do we have at hand to speed the decarbonization of mining and our supply chains? What voices and stakeholders should we include as we innovate and implement new technologies? These questions are some of the challenges Gus will explore during his IDIF Fellowship.
Hannah seeks to improve the financial wellbeing of low-income communities by deeply understanding their lived experiences, centering their needs in product design, and leveraging the intellect and energy of all communities she is a part of along the way. Prior to Stanford GSB, Hannah worked with fintech impact investor Flourish Ventures, was employee #2 at an equity compensation-focused startup, and launched global grocery delivery at Uber in the midst of the pandemic. She is a proud native San Franciscan and holds an economics degree from Yale.
Housing security is fundamental, underpinning children’s ability to succeed in school, parents’ health outcomes, and even reducing incarceration rates. Rent is also Americans’ largest expense: one in four renters pay over 50% of their income toward housing. Despite this, the Section 8 voucher program suffers from inefficient processes and overburdened staff. Hannah is exploring ways to leverage technology to improve this program and the lives of the low-income Americans it seeks to support. She believes that a more efficient Section 8 program will reduce the number of days low-income Americans experience housing insecurity each year and incentivize greater federal funding to ensure access to affordable housing for all.
Jeremy Pathmanabhan and Katherine Playfair
Jeremy is passionate about advancing our world to a carbon-neutral future. He is currently a first-year MBA student at Stanford GSB and a Knight-Hennessey Scholar. Before Stanford, Jeremy led the City of Los Angeles’ Climate Action Program, overseeing various city-wide climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives. He holds a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of California, Irvine, and a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the University of Southern California.
Katherine is committed to developing technical solutions that address climate change. She is currently a first-year MBA student at Stanford GSB, pursuing a joint degree with a master’s in environment and resources. Prior to Stanford, Katherine worked as a data scientist in the Sustainability Practice at McKinsey & Company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Harvard University, where she split her time between classes and rowing on the Charles River.
Jeremy and Katherine are working to accelerate electric vehicle adoption by increasing private investment in EV charging infrastructure. Today, charging stations are largely unprofitable and must be subsidized by government incentives or backed by organizations with deep pockets. Private investors are disincentivized to invest until cost and revenue certainty is brought to the sector. The team believes doing so requires a multifaceted approach, including predictive utilization analytics and load profile modeling. They plan to improve charger site selection and profitability over the 20-year lifetime of these assets. In the long run, they hope to explore opportunities to build off of these models to improve charger utilization and the charging experience for EV drivers.
Born in Texas to Korean parents, Joseph grew up in Guatemala for most of his life. Since then, he has been passionate about enabling economic empowerment across Latin America. Before Stanford GSB, Joseph worked at McKinsey & Company and JCPenney, focusing on advanced analytics and business development. In addition, he led the expansion of Generation Spain, a nonprofit focused on youth unemployment, growing their commercial programs from 120 to 700 graduates. He is the founder and CEO of Remarca, a social enterprise that provides career services and counseling to 1,000+ unemployed adults across 12 Latin American nations.
Joseph will be focusing on informal employment across Mexico and Guatemala, exploring its underlying pain points and creating a solution to bring benefits of the formal sector into the informal sector. Over 60% of Latin America’s workforce and 80% of Guatemala’s workforce are informally employed. The informal sector has been associated with lower wages, inconsistent paychecks, and a lack of benefits (e.g., insurance) across developing nations. Joseph will specifically target street vendors across these two nations, working on potential solutions from a business and/or technological standpoint to address these hardships and ultimately empower these business owners with sustainable livelihoods.
Matt is a social entrepreneur with a passion for poverty alleviation and advocating for the financially vulnerable. He spent five years working across product, marketing, and sales at Visa, where he merged the promise of fintech with his career ambitions — to build products and services for the individuals the financial system is leaving behind. His interest lies in helping low-income individuals move finances away from the center of their lives so they can focus on what matters most to them. Matt graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University with a BS in business strategy.
Matt aspires to build responsible financial products that boldly and unambiguously address how expensive it is to be poor in the U.S. to help blue-collar families like his own. His direct focus will be testing and prototyping with blue-collar and gig workers to discover preferences and find the most impactful drivers of financial health improvement.
Meghan is passionate about solving problems at the intersection of climate, business, and technology. Before coming to Stanford to earn a joint MBA/MS degree in environment and resources, Meghan worked as a management consultant at Bain & Company in Toronto. Her most fulfilling work came from the relationship she built between her home Bain office and The Nature Conservancy in Canada. She collaborated with TNC to build a strategy to advance regenerative agriculture, leveraging government policy, corporate power, and individual behavior change. This work has inspired Meghan’s IDIF focus and her efforts on the Stanford Impact Fund’s Food and Agriculture team.
Meghan is exploring mechanisms to incentivize better manure management practices across farms, starting in Canada. Although we have the technology required to fix this problem, manure still represents ~9% of methane emissions in the US (EPA). A combination of high upfront capital costs and misaligned incentives create barriers for the adoption of better practices, such as on-site biogas reactors. Meghan would like to examine the types of incentives, marketplaces, or businesses that could enter the market to drive a reduction in methane emissions from manure and in turn produce useful by-products such as biogas or biohydrogen.
Nate’s interests lie at the intersection of economic and workforce development. As the son of a small business owner, he is drawn to solving challenges facing “main street” entrepreneurs. Before Stanford GSB, Nate worked in strategy, go-to-market, and technical roles at Box, Inc., an enterprise software company. He also co-founded Start Small, a pro-bono staffing marketplace that connects small businesses to talent with digital skill sets. Nate graduated with a BA in political science and communications from Boston College. At Stanford GSB, he is co-president of the Entrepreneurship Club and an admissions ambassador.
Nate is exploring ways to increase the digital capacity of owner-operator small businesses in the United States. Small businesses are the heart of the American economy, representing nearly half of both private sector employment and gross domestic product. Nate’s goal is to uncover how to best support the large number of small business owners who have struggled to adapt to the new digital economy. He hopes to eliminate the divide threatening the growth of their firms, families, and communities.
Nia Rose Froome
Nia is a born and raised New Yorker passionate about building tools, processes, and products that drive more equitable outcomes for under-resourced communities and sustainable improvements in quality of life for all. Her interest in entrepreneurship was ignited when she founded an online vegan bakery during high school, and throughout her career, she has sought opportunities to learn from and support founders nationwide. After receiving her BA in cognitive science from Yale, Nia joined Google’s Global Business Organization (GBO). There, she advised small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and large travel companies with their marketing programs while also working with Google for Startups to support Black founders. She interned at Detroit Venture Partners and Floyd Home before beginning her MBA and is currently interning at Menlo Labs as an Entrepreneur-in-Training. She’s excited to be diving back into exploring and building this summer.
Nia is working to develop a scalable, self-sustaining solution to the food insecurity and availability gaps that are linked to poor, nutrition-driven, long-term health outcomes within low-income communities of color. Her work will be focused on predominantly Afro-Caribbean communities in Brooklyn, New York, where deaths due to diabetes-related complications and other chronic illnesses are more than 6x those in neighboring white communities. The root causes of nutrition-driven health disparities are complex and include issues of access, affordability, education, and psychological barriers to behavioral change. Thankfully, there are several players in the space working to bridge these gaps, intentionally or inadvertently, ranging from worker-owned CSAs to community members who share vegetables from their gardens with their neighbors to bodegas (small corner convenience stores) that have started to sell smoothies. Nia’s goal for her IDIF is to both identify the most salient barriers to nutritious eating and build upon opportunities to operationalize and scale efforts to improve nutrition and food security in these communities.
Philippe is passionate about the role technology plays in uplifting emerging economies. Before attending Stanford GSB, he worked at agriculture and education startups in Rwanda and Kenya and as a venture capital investor focused on fintech in Africa. He also worked at Deloitte Consulting, supporting public and social sector organizations. Currently, Philippe is a dual-degree student between Stanford GSB and Harvard Kennedy School.
With 15-20 million young people entering its workforce each year, Africa is experiencing the world’s fastest youth boom. Philippe is exploring business models that help young people in Africa access and maximize the potential of gig work. He will focus on solutions that bring offline and informal workers online and adapt gig work to address the continent’s unique market realities.
Rocio is a first-year MBA student who is passionate about mental health. Prior to Stanford GSB, she worked at McKinsey, where she co-founded Mind Matters (a workplace mental health initiative) for Spain and Portugal. She then worked as head of business operations at Orphoz Iberia and as chief of staff to the CCO at Loewe (LVMH Group). Rocio graduated from ICADE with a double degree in law and business administration. She is an avid hiker, skier, and photographer in her free time.
Mental health is the biggest challenge of her generation: according to the WHO, one in four people in the world are affected by a mental health issue, and by 2050, this figure is expected to double. Rocio will be exploring how this challenge manifests in her home country, Spain. She aims to leverage the workplace as an arena for destigmatization and as a way of facilitating access to proper care.
Born and raised in Chile, Sebastián Espinoza is committed to advancing maternal and early children’s health in Latin America. At Stanford, he is pursuing a joint MBA and master’s in public policy degree as a Knight-Hennessy scholar. Before coming to the United States, Sebastián earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and later joined a startup in developing storage and renewable energy projects in Latin America to contribute to tackling climate change. After working in the nonprofit sector, government, and academia, he learned that bringing different perspectives and cross-sector collaboration will enable us to shape a better world for our children. Sebastián is married to Magdalena, with whom he has two children.
Sebastián is focused on improving women’s and new families’ experiences with their babies’ first 1,000 days (from conception until two years old). Pregnancy and the newborn experience in Latin America is beautiful but overwhelming, mentally stressful, over-medicated, and unsupported. Sebastián is exploring how technology and community care can make healthier and happier mothers, partners, and babies in Latin America.