Projects for Progress

Congratulations to the recipients of the inaugural Projects for Progress prize! Each winning team will receive up to $100,000 to implement an initiative that will make a positive impact on the city of Philadelphia by working towards one or more of the following objectives: eradicating or reducing systemic racism, achieving educational equity, or reducing health disparities based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and/or social determinants of health. Applications were open to Penn students, staff, and faculty. Learn more about Projects for Progress in Penn Today.

Projects for Progress 2021 Recipients

The Project: Shelter Health Outreach Program – Community Family Care Clinic

The team will establish a Community Family Care Clinic (CFCC) at the People’s Emergency Center in West Philadelphia, focused on offering prenatal, women’s, and pediatric healthcare twice weekly by professional providers. In partnership with Sayre Health Center, Penn Medicine, and Chosen 300, a homeless advocacy organization, CFCC will combat health disparities in Philadelphia’s homeless and underserved populations through consistent, community-centric care.


The Team:

Composite image of the Shelter Health team

Evelyn Gotlieb, Wharton 2021 – Undergraduate, Concentration in Healthcare Management and Policy, minor in Chemistry

Junduo Liu, College of Arts & Sciences 2022 – Undergraduate, Double major in Biochemistry and Health & Societies, minor in Bioethics

Michael Hagan, College of Arts & Sciences 2022 – Undergraduate, Major in Neuroscience

Ian McCurry, Perelman School of Medicine 2022 – Doctor of Medicine program

Deepti Tantry, College of Arts & Sciences 2022 – Undergraduate, Major in Neuroscience, minor in Healthcare Management

Mentor: Joseph Teel, Perelman School of Medicine – Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine and Community Health

Projects for Progress application teams were limited to five members, however the team would like to publicly acknowledge SHOP Co-Founder Megha Bharadwaj, C’21 and Board member Geethu Annamalai, C’22 for their significant contributions to this project.

The Project: Bridging Gaps and Building Capacity: Student and Educator Supports for School Reopening in Learning Network 2

To address the effects of the global pandemic, this initiative will address elementary students’ school readiness and teachers’ instructional capacity and mental health needs by providing evidence-based programming and professional development at 1–2 summer learning sites in West Philadelphia, followed by network-wide professional learning supports throughout the 2021-22 academic year.


The Team:

Composite image of the Bridging Gaps team

Caroline Watts, Graduate School of Education – Director, Office of School & Community Engagement; Senior Lecturer, Professional Counseling Programs

Diane Waff, Graduate School of Education – Professor of Practice; Director, Philadelphia Writing Project

Zachary Herrmann, Graduate School of Education – Executive Director, Center for Professional Learning

Marsha Richardson, Graduate School of Education – Senior Lecturer, Human Development & Qualitative Methods

Regina Bynum, The Netter Center for Community Partnerships – Director of Teaching and Learning, University Assisted Community Schools

The Project: A Collaborative Initiative to Renovate and Optimize the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Center

Through major renovations, updated instrumentation, and additional environmental justice-focused STEM programming, this initiative will enhance the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Center and its K–16+ collaborative learning opportunities. The team has engaged with key stakeholders in the West Philadelphia community to identify and prioritize their needs and goals.


The Team:

Erica DePalma, The Water Center – Research Program Coordinator, Earth and Environmental Science

Chinedu “Ocek” Eke, School of Engineering and Applied Science – Director for Graduate Students Programming, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Anna Balfanz, The Netter Center for Community Partnerships – Senior Research Coordinator

Cooper Yerby, School of Arts & Sciences 2023 – Doctoral program in Earth and Environmental Science