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Announcing our Higher Ed Social Media Champions!

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We’re excited to introduce you to Ivellisse Morales, Saad Hamid and Maria Salamanca, our volunteer Social Media Champions for the Higher Ed Challenge. They’ll be broadening our community engagement by cross-pollinating conversations between the OpenIDEO platform and a wider audience of higher education innovators in social media. Let’s take a moment to get to know them a bit better!

From Left: Ivellisse Morales, Saad Hamid, Maria Salamanca

Ivellisse Morales was previously a Marketing and Communications Manager at Year Up and just recently joined IDEO’s Marketing and Communications team. During the Healthy Lives Challenge, Ivellisse inspired our OpenIDEO community with her idea contributions and insightful provocations.

Saad Hamid is a community connector who wears many hats in Islamabad, Pakistan. He is currently a consultant for The World Bank, Country Lead for Invest2Innovate and our lead In Country Community Manager for IDEO.org’s Amplify program. We’re excited to have Saad onboard for this challenge.

Maria Salamanca is currently a Community Marketing Manager at Unshackled in San Francisco where she helps immigrant entrepreneurs gain access to early stage funding and mentorship. Maria was also a mentor for Bay Area high school students during her time with the Berkeley Model United Nations.


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What brought you to join the OpenIDEO community?

Ivellisse: I love how OpenIDEO invites everyone and anyone to contribute their ideas, expertise and support toward impactful solutions for global challenges. After completing Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design, I wanted to continue learning the ins and outs of design thinking. OpenIDEO lets me do that from the comfort of my very own home!


Saad: I was introduced to the OpenIDEO community during the refugee challenge when I joined in as the In Country Community Manager for Pakistan. What made me stay is the passion of the individuals contributing to this open-innovation platform and the hope that I can make a significant contribution by sharing my knowledge and connecting people and ideas.


Maria: I am a strong believer that the best ideas come out of collaboration and diverse experiences. OpenIDEO provides a platform for smart, motivated and diverse groups of people to collaborate on the world’s most challenging problems. That’s amazing to me and I am lucky to be a part of it.


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What excites you the most about the Higher Ed Challenge?

Saad: I am really excited to be a part of this challenge because it’s about Education. I believe the definition of ‘Education’ is changing as we become more connected thanks to social media and technology. You see, schooling and higher education a few years ago meant something very different. Now with platforms like Coursera or EdX and Khan Academy, we are seeing new possibilities of how millennials can educate themselves. It’s no longer a one way process (teacher > students). Instead, education has become more collaborative and that’s what really excites me.


Ivellisse: I personally come from a low-income family and pursued higher education to better my future despite the hefty price tag and the amount of student debt. I know that I’m not alone: Millennials are overburdened with more than $1 TRILLION dollars in student debt, which is unacceptable and unsustainable. I’m excited to tackle this challenge with the OpenIDEO community so that we can make the American Dream real for future generations.


Maria: My own experiences through volunteering and as well as a student have highlighted the importance of higher education. I graduated with above average student debt. Every month when I pay the bill I find it incredible that millions of people are struggling day to day as a result of having pursued higher education. That is not the way we as a society should position higher education. All of us have a responsibility to help future generations not experience the same. This challenge is an amazing start!


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How might you support this challenge through social media?

Maria: I am fairly confident there are a lot of people and organizations out there that realize this is a very real challenge. Many of them would be excited to participate in the solution — it’s a matter of engaging them and letting them know they can be a part of the solution. I am excited to find those people and bring them to the OpenIDEO community.


Saad: Today, thanks to this TEDTalk, I found out that I am what is known as a ‘Multipotentialite’, and what people like me are good at is making connections. In this challenge, I hope to make connections through the medium of social media to connect people with other like minded people, to help them discover ideas and to actually help them think about their ideas through the human-centered design lens.


Ivellisse: I plan to tweet-invite nonprofit organizations and online influencers in the space to share their knowledge and ideas. I’ll also be looking out for tweets around the challenge and giving virtual high-fives for brilliant, game-changing ideas! See you on the Internets!


Join Ivellisse, Saad, Maria and the rest of the OpenIDEO community on the Higher Ed Challenge!


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