PopTech Social Innovation Fellows
Class of 2010

PopTech Social Innovation Fellows are visionary change agents who are incubating high-potential solutions to pressing global challenges. Fellows work in both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds, with a far-reaching impact – in places such as Thailand, Liberia, Pakistan, Chile, and across the US. They are the world-changers of tomorrow.

Lauren Abramson

Lauren AbramsonCommunity Conferencing Center
Baltimore, MD

Conflict Resolution

Lauren founded the Community Conferencing Center (CCC) in 1998 to help change the way our society responds to crime and conflict – from a focus on punishment to a focus on accountability, healing and learning. Her transformative justice program facilitates meaningful, honest conversations between victims and offenders to help them reconcile their differences. By fostering collective problem solving, CCC delivers a viable alternative to going to court and significantly reduces recidivism, all at one tenth the cost of current criminal justice practices.

Watch Lauren’s PopTech presentation

Yasser Ansari 

Yasser AnsariNetworked Organisms
Brooklyn, NY

Citizen Science

Yasser’s award winning company, Networked Organisms, is developing simple technology solutions to help people reconnect with nature. Through Project Noah, a mobile platform for nature exploration, users can easily share their encounters with nature and contribute to critical ongoing scientific research. By fostering curiosity and boosting eco-literacy, Networked Organisms is building a coalition of citizen scientists to document and preserve our planet’s biodiversity.

Watch Yasser’s PopTech presentation

Rush Bartlett 

Rush BartlettLyoGo
West Lafayette, IN

Health Devices

Rush Bartlett co-founded LyoGo in 2009 with Art Chlebowski and Peter Greco to revolutionize the way drugs and vaccines are delivered. LyoGo has created safe, one-step injection devices that drastically reduce or completely eliminate the need for refrigeration of most therapies and can be used by any untrained individual. LyoGo’s delivery devices, with reduced infrastructure requirements, can provide life-saving medications to anyone, anywhere, and reduce the inequalities in global health care.

Watch Rush’s PopTech presentation

Matthew Berg 

Matthew BergChildCount+ & Rural Technology Lab
New York, NY

Mobiles and Health

Matt helped create and pilot ChildCount+, a mobile-phone-based health platform that empowers communities in Africa to improve child and maternal health. Using any standard phone, community health workers can text message patient information into a central web dashboard that helps monitor their patient’s health. In addition, Matt is training local programmers at the Rural Technology Lab to address local problems using modern programming frameworks. With a goal of improving the health of millions while providing key development tools, Matt is fostering a sustainable model that communities can adopt worldwide.

Watch Matt’s PopTech presentation

Nina Dudnik 

Nina DudnikSeeding Labs
Cambridge, MA

Science Education and Development

Nina founded Seeding Labs in 2003 to drive scientific innovation worldwide. Through a global network of scientists transferring materials, skills and expertise, Seeding Labs improves research and teaching in the developing world. Seeding Labs provides affordable reclaimed lab equipment to universities in developing countries and offers U.S. research institutions a sustainable use for surplus resources. Scientists in 16 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia are using tools and training from Seeding Labs to improve health, the environment and education.

Watch Nina’s PopTech presentation

Brian Elliot 

Brian ElliotFriendfactor
New York, NY

Rights Advocacy

Friendfactor unlocks the power of friendship to accelerate legal freedoms for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans) people, with the help of technology and straight supporters. Friendfactor’s innovative social networking platform shifts the focus of gay rights from ideology towards a far more personal concept: friends making a difference in their gay friends’ lives. LGBT people can create online campaigns on Friendfactor to ask for their friends’ support, which in turn, will mobilize a movement of friends taking simple actions—from learning more to speaking up—that add up to significant changes for gay people in everyone’s lives.

Watch Brian’s PopTech presentation

Brooke Betts Farrell 

Brooke Betts FarrellRecycleMatch
Houston, TX


Brooke created RecycleMatch in 2009, as an online marketplace that connects companies that have waste with companies that can use the materials productively. By interconnecting supply chains, RecycleMatch extracts maximum value and full utilization of resources to benefit both parties. Powering a more efficient business ecosystem, RecycleMatch’s platform lowers costs, reduces waste and accelerates green innovation.

Watch Brooke’s PopTech presentation

Amanda Geppert 

Amanda GeppertCeaseFire
Chicago, IL

Violence Prevention

Through the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention, Amanda has helped pioneer CeaseFire, an evidence-based public health approach to reducing shootings and killings. The CeaseFire method for reversing the violence epidemic uses highly trained street violence interrupters and outreach staff, public education campaigns and community mobilization. CeaseFire is one of the very few proven techniques for making neighborhoods safer.

Leila Janah 

Leila JanahSamasource
San Francisco, CA

Economic Development / BOP

Leila is the founder of Samasource, a social enterprise that connects people living in poverty to work via the Internet. By providing employment through computer-based microwork tasks, in two years Samasource has provided a livelihood for over 800 people in Africa, South Asia, and Haiti. In turn, socially responsible companies use Samasource to contribute to economic development and fight poverty.

Watch Leila’s PopTech presentation

Ben Lyon 

Ben LyonFrontlineSMS:Credit


Ben launched FrontlineSMS:Credit in 2009 to bring formal financial services to poor entrepreneurs who do not have access to banks. FrontlineSMS:Credit will allow microfinance institutions to leverage mobile money channels in order to send and receive secure payments, disburse and track loans, charge interest and develop a micro-insurance model directly from their mobile wallet. By eliminating geographic barriers to access and lowering operational costs, FrontlineSMS:Credit is at the forefront of financial innovation in rural and disconnected communities worldwide.

Watch Ben’s PopTech presentation

Rajesh Panjabi 

Rajesh PanjabiLast Mile Health
Cambridge, MA

Global Health Delivery

After surviving Liberia’s civil conflict, Raj co-founded Last Mile Health (known in Liberia as Tiyatien Health) to tackle the triple threat facing health care in post-war countries: a battered public sector, workforce shortages and rampant poverty. Last Mile Health works with the Liberian government to build innovative partnerships between rural health centers and their surrounding communities. The model features a backbone of community health workers trained to accompany patients through their illnesses and beyond – linking the destitute sick to jobs, agriculture and women’s economic empowerment programs. Pioneering a community-based health system, Last Mile Health serves as a scalable, public sector model for achieving equity in health.

Watch Rajesh’s PopTech presentation

Kel Sheppey 

Kel SheppeyWild4life
San Francisco, CA

Global Health Delivery

Kel founded Wild4life in 2008 to deliver a comprehensive HIV prevention and treatment program to rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Working with wildlife conservation organizations and local communities, Wild4life addresses five critical aspects of the AIDS epidemic in Africa: reaching rural communities, getting people to test and know their HIV status, getting those infected with HIV onto treatment, reducing risk behavior and mobilizing communities against the epidemic. With successful programs in Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Cameroon, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, Nigeria and Gabon, Wild4life is connecting rural communities with existing HIV/AIDS treatment to promote universal testing and leverage significant change.

Watch Kel’s PopTech presentation

Ryan Smith 

Ryan SmithMicromidas, Inc.
Sacramento, CA

Waste into Materials

As the co-founder and chief technical officer of Micromidas, Inc., Ryan is transforming how biotechnology processes are designed at all levels. Micromidas uses an innovative microbial process to convert raw sewage into high quality disposable plastics and solves two fundamental issues: sewage and plastic waste. Working with wastewater treatment plants to alleviate the costly problem of bio-solids waste, while also collaborating with plastics producers to market a fully biodegradable plastic, Micromidas is creating a new paradigm for economic growth and environmental sustainability.

Watch Ryan’s PopTech presentation

Laura Stachel 

Laura StachelWE CARE Solar
Berkeley, CA

Global Health Delivery

Laura co-founded Women’s Emergency Communication and Reliable Electricity (WE CARE Solar) with Hal Aronson in 2008 to electrify healthcare clinics in the developing world. WE CARE Solar designed a portable, cost-effective solar suitcase that powers critical lighting, mobile communication and medical devices in low resource areas without reliable electricity. By equipping off-grid medical clinics with solar power for medical and surgical lighting, walkie-talkies and essential medical devices, WE CARE Solar facilitates timely and appropriate emergency care, reducing maternal and infant morbidity and mortality and improving the quality of care in Africa, Haiti and other regions.

Watch Laura’s PopTech presentation

Salinee Tavaranan 

Salinee TavarananBorder Green Energy Team (BGET)
Mae Sot, Thailand

Micro-Hydro and Micro-Solar Energy

As director of the Border Green Energy Team (BGET), Salinee trains people in ethnic minority regions to build local capacity in renewable energy technologies. BGET has pioneered the use of micro-hydro and solar power, and provides sustainable technology that benefits schools, medical clinics, children’s homes and other community centers to raise living standards across a broad population. By increasing access to clean energy along both sides of the Thailand-Burma border, BGET is creating a model for improving health care, education, jobs and quality of life.

Watch Salinee’s PopTech presentation