New Staff, New Video, Trip to Peru, and More!Read More
We're thrilled to release our new brand video — "optiMize: Stop Waiting"Read More
This year, we are able to fund 27 projects and 27 Summer Fellows with $212,000. We think these student projects illuminate possibilities for a more just and sustainable world. We hope they inspire you as much as they inspire us!Read More
Some optiMize Core Team members spoke with Consider Magazine for the Michigan Bicentennial about the future of education.Read More
In April 2013, when we awarded grants to five project teams in the first optiMize Social Innovation Challenge, one of those grants went to Detroit Entrepreneurship Network, co-founded by Aashka Soni and Andrew Janatka.Read More
Parisa Soraya and her co-founder Brianna Wolin had no idea what they were going to create when they joined optiMize — they just knew they wanted to make life better for people with chronic illnesses. Through the Challenge, they created a social venture called Find Your Ditto that’s now been called one of the “coolest college startups” in the country by Inc magazine.Read More
Having been a college student in the era of “engaged learning,” I have to report that my experience left a lot to be desired. As I approached my own graduation in 2012, I wondered a few things:Read More
Why optiMize teamed up with United Way of Washtenaw County to bring together the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College to cultivate social innovation communities on campuses throughout Washtenaw County.Read More
As an optiMize Fellow this summer, I learned to appreciate the investment of people-power in projects. I also gained a new respect for the ability of a few local advocates and activists to convert inspiration into action and create valuable community resources.Read More
Giuliana Huerta-Mercado has been in the media a lot this summer. But of all the interviews she’s done, this one with Jeff Sorensen is her favorite so far!
Occasionally moments come along that make me pinch myself and ask, “Is this really happening?”Read More
“If you could change one thing, what would you change?”
This past October, we asked that question to our peers here at the University of Michigan. We spent eight hours on the Diag asking people to dream big. They shared the things they wished to change about the world. Then, we asked them to come and work on solving that problem with us through the Social Innovation Challenge.Read More
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” -African Proverb
I have been thinking about this phrase a lot lately because the past few months have been tough. Whenever I open my Facebook feed I am confronted with headlines and posts that focus on everything that is broken about the world.Read More
This week I was part of the first Engineering Education Research (EER) group session of 2016. It was a combination of University of Michigan professors, faculty, PhD candidates, grad students, and undergrads all with an interest in the new and growing field of engineering education. It’s a small community on campus, so the purpose of the session was to meet other people working towards this really special purpose of improving engineering education! The plan was to discuss EER readings and provide feedback on each other’s work. There will be several more sessions throughout the rest of the summer.Read More
What comes to mind when you hear “social innovation?” Is it entrepreneurship? Technology? Big ideas? When I hear “social innovation,” I think optiMize. I think unity, trust, family and community — the real things that will inspire people to change the world.Read More
Foreigner. Conservative. Oppressed.
America, 2016: I find myself placed into a seemingly indestructible box with steel reinforcements because of the cloth that lies purposefully on my head. I wear my hijab by choice, and yet those around me see me as a helpless, weak woman.Read More
For a long time I had a dream of being a teacher. When I co-founded optiMize I thought that dream was gone. I was an “education entrepreneur” now, not a teacher.Read More
A lot of people talk about having a mid-life crisis when they’re older, but when I was a junior at the University of Michigan, I was having a quarter-life crisis.