How optiMize helped me turn my passion into impact: an interview with Parisa Soraya, co-founder of Find Your Ditto

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.

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Announcing the Summer 2017 Fellows Cohort

“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.

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Why not YOU?

“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.

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The Key to Creating Trust in Group Talks

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.

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Why Not You?

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.

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Using creativity to build bridges

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.

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