This year, Fellows are building community wealth, creating healthier communities, transforming healthcare systems, and re-imagining education. They include healthcare intrapreneurs, educators, nonprofit leaders, social entrepreneurs, organizers, and community change-makers. And for the first time, the 2020 cohort represents students across five Harvard schools: HBS, HGSE, HKS, HSPH, and Harvard College. This cohort exemplifies the strength and promise of cross-sectoral, cross-community social problem-solving.


2020 Cheng Fellows

Headshots of 2020 Cheng Fellows displayed in two rows.

Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin (MC/MPA ‘21) is Founder of Pearls Africa, which aims to enable an ecosystem of digitally savvy and financially independent child-rights activists from the poorest communities in Africa.

Bishal Belbase (MPH ‘21) is Founder of Karma Health, which aims to provide high-quality, dependable access to healthcare in underserved regions through a unique three-way partnership between the private sector, state government, and local communities.

Hugo Carvajal (MC/MPA ‘21) is Executive Director of the Latino Support Network, which aims to establish the first Latinx owned and operated credit union in Massachusetts to increase access to capital for minority-owned businesses and worker-owned cooperatives.

Antón Castellanos Usigli (DrPH ‘22) aims to reduce the rates of HIV and STIs by creating community-based, sex-positive, and stigma-free spaces to connect gay and bisexual men to sexual health services through dating apps.

Madison Esposito (MPH ‘21) is Co-Founder of Redbud Resource Group, which aims to elevate and celebrate Native resiliency, improve public health outcomes, and support much-needed ally-ship by developing Native informed and vetted science and history curricula.

Omolara Fatiregun (EdLD ‘22) is Founder of Ife School/Thrive!, a dual venture aimed at disrupting inter-generational cycles of poverty the legacy of racism in America by re-imagining what school is, when it starts, and who it serves.

Shawon Jackson (Stanford MBA + MPP ‘21) is Founder of Vocal Justice, whose mission is to teach undervalued high school students how to communicate authentically and persuasively about social justice – wherever they aim to lead in life

Charli Kemp (EdLD ‘22) is Founder of Change the Tune, which aims to dismantle inequitable education systems by creating an interwoven set of programming that provides transformative extended learning experiences through culturally responsive connectors.

Kwabena Lartey (MPH ‘21) is Founder of Books for Him & Her, which aims to provide quality health education and sexuality education to address the education gap in sexual and reproductive health faced by approximately 48% of young people in Ghana.

Camille McGirt (MBA ‘21) is the Co-Founder of Healthy Girls Save the World, which aims to address health disparities in communities of color by organizing culturally responsive educational tools, after-school programs, and summer camps that encourage the development of healthy and balanced lifestyles for middle school girls.

Onyeka Otugo (MPA ‘21) aims to address healthcare disparities and foster health equity by increasing the representation of Black women physicians in academic and leadership positions through mentorship.

Monica Pesswani (MC/MPA ‘21) is Co-Founder and Director of Programming for The Apprentice Project (TAP), which aims to end educational inequity by providing a holistic education for low-income students.

Trisha Prabhu (Harvard College ‘22) is Founder and CEO of ReThinkTM, a social venture building award-winning, patented technology that detects and stops cyberbullying before the damage is done.

Shelly Xu (MBA ‘21) is Founder of Shelly Xu Design, the first fashion-tech startup to make beautiful, accessible, 100% zero waste designs so that eliminating the carbon footprint in what we wear becomes second nature rather than a compromise.

Returning 2019 Fellows

The Cheng Fellowship accepts rising juniors at Harvard College. This year, three 2019 Cheng Fellows are returning to complete their final year of the program.

Headshots of three returning 2019 Cheng Fellows

Keturah Gadson (Harvard College ’21) seeks to develop a curricular intervention to help equip black adolescents in the United States with the tools to analyze, cope with, and counter the racist ideas they encounter within their schools.

Laura Jenny (Harvard College ’21) is Co-Founder of You(th) Matter which seeks to raise awareness for issues of adversity affecting youth and enable community leaders and youth-focused agencies to best support young people across Massachusetts.

Tony Shu (Harvard College ’21) is Co-Founder of Breaktime, a non-profit social enterprise that aims to end chronic young adult homelessness through transitional employment and financial empowerment.


Join us in welcoming the 2020 Cheng Fellows and returning 2019 Cheng Fellows on social media by tagging us @SICIHarvard and using the hashtag #2020ChengFellows!

The New World Social Innovation Fellowship is a rigorous program of SICI that selects and supports students – Cheng Fellows – from the Harvard community. Selected for their potential to catalyze positive social change, Cheng Fellows are committed to addressing specific social and environmental problems.

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