CITRIS at UC Santa Cruz awards five student teams Tech for Social Good funding

Illustration of blue lines of light intersecting against a blue background.

The UC Santa Cruz campus of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and the Banatao Institute (CITRIS) has selected three student projects and two events for funding through its 2021–22 Tech for Social Good (TSG) Program.

This year’s projects include:

  • Multimodal Virtual Assistant for Farmers, a tool that uses state-of-the-art natural language processing to bridge the gap between the untapped agricultural information and working farmers. Team members: Brian Mak, graduate student in natural language processing; Wendi Tan, undergraduate student in mathematics; and Brady Yung, undergraduate student in computer science.
  • Global Environmental Justice Observatory (GEJO), an open-access website to address interdisciplinary problems and applications of environmental justice that features a podcast called Liminal Spaces and the Global Environmental Justice (GEJ) Journal. Team members: Caitlin Schilt, undergraduate student in environmental studies; Christina Vagnoni, undergraduate student in sociology; Vishnu Nair, undergraduate student in marine biology; Sachi Powelson, undergraduate student in anthropology and sociology; and Alcides Fuentes, undergraduate student in Latin American and Latino studies and environmental studies.
  • San Quentin COVID Archive: Stories from the Inside, an online community zine featuring original artwork and writing from the currently incarcerated community at California prisons, reflecting on their experiences surviving the COVID-19 outbreak. Team members: Karina Diaz Alvarez, undergraduate student in psychology; Milo Santamaria, undergraduate student in sociology; and Edward Estrada, undergraduate student in politics.

This year’s events include:

  • CruzHacks 2022, a nonprofit, student-run hackathon that welcomes hundreds of college and high school students interested in developing technology for social good. Team members: Sonali Malik, undergraduate student in computer science and economics; Tony Ma, undergraduate student in computer science and technology information management; and Kaitlyn Allen, undergraduate student in computer engineering.
  • Everett Student Project Showcase: Embracing Change, Everett in Transition, an event that presents and celebrates year-long projects from the Everett Program (EP) for Technology and Social Change. Team members: Elias Hovorka, undergraduate student in sociology with a concentration in global information and social enterprise studies (GISES); Karina Cruz Rosales, undergraduate student in sociology with GISES minor; Isabelle Aguirre, undergraduate student in sociology with GISES minor; Karina Diaz Alvarez, undergraduate student in psychology and legal studies with GISES minor; Alexandra Munoz, undergraduate student in legal studies with GISES minor; Kristina Bullington, undergraduate student in anthropology with GISES minor; Mo Dick, undergraduate student in sociology with GISES minor.

The TSG Program at UC Santa Cruz, which is co-sponsored by the Institute for Social Transformation, will continue to accept student proposals for events through early June.