A group of 10 brilliant minds, including three Indian Americans, will receive up to $10,000 to pursue their ideas by being named to OZY’s Genius Class of 2018.
The list, which includes Rohan Pavuluri, Rebecca Dharmapalan and Nikhil Garg, were named earlier this year.
OXY is an international online magazine that focuses on news, politics, sports, business, entertainment and technology, and was founded by Indian American Goldman Sachs alum Samir Rao and former MSNBC news anchor and businessman Carlos Watson.
“Applications piled in from around the country, and OZY has selected the 10 college students with the best genius ideas to win grants of up to $10,000 to pursue their goals,” the publication wrote.
Winners were selected by an all-star panel of judges, including Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post and CEO of Thrive Global; CEO of DoSomething Aria Finger; co-CEO of Warby Parker Neil Blumenthal; EVP and General Manager for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Matthew Mugo Fields; and investor Karan Khemka.
Pavuluri, of Harvard University, was chosen for his idea Upsolve, which helps low-income Americans get a fresh start after financial shocks by automating personal bankruptcy.
A senior at Harvard studying statistics, Pavuluri started Upsolve two years ago as a way to achieve social impact with the joint levers of technology and government.
The “lifeline” of bankruptcy is broken for many Americans who are buried in debt because it’s too hard to file and can cost more than $1,500 for a lawyer, says Pavuluri, who describes Upsolve as “TurboTax for Chapter 7 bankruptcy,” according to OZY.
Dharmapalan, of U.C. Berkeley, was chosen for her idea, Uprooted. Uprooted is an interactive documentary about refugee youth who now reside in Oakland, California.
After producing a previous documentary about child sexual exploitation, which led her to a TEDxTeen Talk, this new project aims to provide a multidimensional view of the refugee experience, and how migrants’ lives have changed.
“At the intersection of journalism, art, technology and social activism, this project works to conjure empathy and better people’s understandings of refugees as individuals,” says Dharmapalan in the report.
Garg, of the University of Notre Dame, was chosen for Centralix, an exchange aggregator that connects users to hundreds of exchanges offering digital assets.
Garg, a senior with a double major in applied math and finance at Notre Dame, is hoping to reduce some of the barriers and frictions in the cryptocurrency trading marketplace by aggregating the many exchanges for different crypto assets into one place.
Though the world of digital assets was built on the idea of decentralization, his platform helps overcome the market’s fragmented infrastructure. “The OZY Genius Award has provided us not just the financial capital, but also a strong network of individuals who will help us to grow our business and make it the revolutionary trading platform we one day envision it to be,” says Garg in the report.