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Two Roadrunners selected for prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University

Andrew Smith and Kelly Stone will travel to Scotland to develop their ideas for positive social change.

By Lindsey Coulter

January 16, 2020

Clinton Global Initiative University logo

In April, Roadrunners Andrew Smith and Kelly Stone will join former President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and world leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative University. Hosted by the University of Edinburgh, the event prepares students to make positive, lasting change in their communities.

Established by Bill Clinton in 2005, the highly selective CGIU requires students to develop Commitments to Action: new, specific and measurable plans to address global challenges. While past commitments have supported areas such as agriculture, education and literacy, Smith (an Earn and Learn participant) and Stone (a Puksta Scholar) will focus on health.  

Smith’s commitment is to develop a more sensitive and affordable method of detecting Carrion’s Disease, a hematologic disease that primarily affects rural communities in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. Untreated, the mortality rate is 40% to 80%. Smith will measure the project’s success by his biosensor’s sensitivity to blood samples.

“Carrion’s Disease is a neglected tropical disease, and … few teams are working to improve clinical outcomes,” Smith explained in his application. “Diagnosis is difficult, because initial symptoms are similar to other infectious diseases … and widely used diagnostic methods have low sensitivity.”

Smith will conduct extensive E-DNA biosensor research and development with the Bonham Laboratory and aims to partner with Peruvian medical professionals. Ultimately, he hopes his innovation will gain approval from Peru’s Directorate General of Drug Supplies and Drugs.

Approaching health from a different perspective, Stone will develop a healthy-relationships curriculum in partnership with Colorado nonprofit Project Pave to educate young people about sexual violence and consent.

“Middle school is a pivotal time for adolescents to begin to understand … how to properly give and receive consent,” Stone said in her submission, noting that current curricula generally do not cover sex crimes or consent language and are not tailored to middle-school students.

Stone will initially focus on content development and train-the-trainer activities, with a goal of empowering 20 educators to deliver the curriculum by 2021. Her long-term goal, however, is to see her curriculum adopted by education officials for statewide use.

In preparation for the CGIU, Smith and Stone will complete learning modules and connect with a CGIU mentor to continue developing their visions, measurable goals, timelines, etc. At the conference, they will team up with students tackling similar issues for further idea and solution generation.

“Both (Smith and Stone) are really thoughtful about their own experiences and what changes they want to make within their scope,” said Alyssa Marks, industry navigator in the Classroom to Career Hub at Metropolitan State University of Denver. “(At CGIU) they’ll be learning alongside students from all over the world and gaining knowledge from folks working on the ground to make things happen. Then (they’ll) bring that knowledge back to campus to continue the learning.”

MSU Denver became a CGIU partner in 2018 thanks to the civic-engagement advocacy of Elizabeth Parmelee, Ph.D., associate vice president, Undergraduate Studies; and Tim Meeks, Puksta Scholars and PeaceJam coordinator; and support from the Classroom to Career Hub. The Puksta Foundation and MSU Denver will also help cover costs for Smith’s and Stone’s participation.

“MSU Denver has a national reputation for engaging our students as globally minded, civically engaged leaders in their communities, and the new C2 Hub will continue that work,” said Will Simpkins, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs. “I am proud that both Andrew and Kelly engaged in programs offered by the C2 (Hub) to support their career planning and excited for what they will bring back to Denver!”

To learn more about the CGIU and MSU Denver’s civic-engagement efforts, please contact Alyssa Marks.

Topics: Civic Inspirations, Community, Events, Excellence, Student Success

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