Projects for Progress Recipients

Penn Arts & Sciences

Two Penn Arts & Sciences students are included in the second cohort of Projects for Progress recipients, continuing the mission of Penn faculty, staff, and students coming together around outreach projects directly in the neighborhood and larger Philadelphia community.

Claudia Melendez, C’23, is part of the Initiative to Lower the Burden of Cancer in West Philadelphia, which will partner with community organizations to reduce racial disparities in colorectal cancer in West Philadelphia by disseminating and implementing a novel initiative—drive-through Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)—which decentralizes screening from the clinic to the community. The initiative will also treat and evaluate a drive-through FIT implementation toolbox to help further disseminate this program throughout West Philadelphia. Melendez is majoring in neuroscience and international relations and minoring in chemistry. She will be working with students, faculty, and staff of the Perelman School of Medicine.

Corey Wills, a graduate student in Penn Arts & Sciences and the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, is part of the Public Schools as Equity Infrastructure Studio+. This is an opportunity for West Philadelphia teens in public schools, teachers, Penn graduate students, and faculty to partner with education activists and community-based organizations on the design and implementation of public school campus upgrades that embody a new system-wide vision for schools as equity infrastructure. Willis is earning master’s degrees in city planning and environmental studies. She will work with staff, faculty, and students from the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, and the Graduate School of Education.

Established by Penn President Emerita Amy Gutmann in 2020, Projects for Progress is overseen by Penn’s Office of Social Equity & Community. “Penn students, faculty, and staff are already coming together, bringing their valuable perspectives and ideas to the table, to build real-world initiatives that address major societal issues,” said Nicole Maloy, director of the Office of Social Equity & Community. “This award is one way to honor efforts that focus specifically on Philadelphia.”

“Penn’s second cohort of Projects for Progress recipients are truly magnificent,” said Interim President Wendell Pritchett. “They are undergraduate and graduate students, and professors and administrators, all working together to boost—alongside the Philadelphia community—social justice, educational equity, and healthcare reform. I have no doubt each team will use this award creatively as a launchpad for many years of success.”

To read the full announcement, click here.


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