The Social Innovation Lab is staffed by Innovation Mentors. Innovation Mentors are students passionate and knowledgeable about innovation. They have been trained to assist you. Each student has their own specialty, so feel free to read through all their bios to find the right mentor for your idea. The mentors can help you through any stage of your project and can direct you toward helpful resources and opportunities.

Sharif Shrestha

Global Entrepreneurship, Economic Empowerment

At 19, Sharif is a co-founder and international coordinator of NGO named Diyalo Nepal, which is a Nepali chapter to the 501 (c) registered INGO Diyalo International. Sharif also founded a social venture named " #HerbsForChange" which capitalizes on the abundance of medicinal herbs of a Nepali village and provides fair and increased income to the farmers. At the Clinton Global Initiative University 2015 conference, he won the prestigious Resolution Fellowship getting access to life-long mentorship and funding.

Aleksandra Bogoevska

Global Entreprenuership, Senior Citizens

Aleksandra worked at the Parkway Center in Utica, NY for two years to better understand the needs of elderly, and then implemented a project aimed at helping seniors in her home country, Macedonia. During the summer, she worked with a local NGO and currently serves 8 elderly households in the town. In addition to her engagement in social innovation, she is an international student intern at the Office of Admissions and a co-president of the International Student Association.

Arthur Williams

Microfinance, Poverty Alleviation, Social Entrepreneurship

Arthur is an International Student from Kingston, Jamaica and current President of the Hamilton Microfinance Club. In the summer of 2015, Arthur was awarded the Emerson Foundation Grant and conducted a self-designed research project on the feasibility of microfinance in Cuba and it potential impact on Cuban entrepreneurship.  In the summer of 2014 he interned at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in San Francisco, CA, where he helped to plan, organize, and execute small business training programs.

Tsion Tesfaye

Education, Global Entreprenuership, Poverty Alleviation

Tsion is a senior who has founded Youth for Ethiopia, a leadership and social innovation training program for Ethiopian high school students. Youth for Ethiopia has received continuous support from the Levitt Center and a certificate of recognition from Clinton Global Initiative University. Tsion has volunteered in organizations and worked with community members both in Utica and in Ethiopia, learning more about her own country and the town only 20 minutes away from Hamilton.

Chidera Onyeoziri

Law, Government, Criminal Justice Reform

Chidera is a COOP Service Intern with the City of Utica's Corporation Counsel. She has also worked with Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees. During the summer of 2015, Chidera interned with Ashoka and helped streamline fundraising initiatives to raise $1.3 million for Ashoka’s Global Venture Fund. On campus, Chidera works as a Writing Tutor and is a TEDxHamiltonCollege organizer.

Zach Pilson

Social Entrepreneurship, Engineering

Zach has been working on a social entrepreneurship engineering project to purify water since his freshmen year at Hamilton.  He has collaborated with the Utica Thinkubator and University of Denver's Engineers Without Borders.  Zach has also interned at the global social entrepreneurship non-profit Ashoka in the Venture and Fellowship department.

Emma Wilkinson

Gender Empowerment, Social Justice, and Music

Emma is a Sociology major and Philosophy Minor. She is on the Executive Board of the Womyn's Center and has organized numerous events to further gender equality on Hamilton's campus and beyond. Emma is the Interim Chief Diversity Officer of Criteek, a start up aggregating video product reviews, where she is working to ensure that every level of the company from social media to hiring is inclusive. She is also a songwriter with an EP and currently working on her second album to be released in the Spring. 

Andy Chen

Technology, Sustainability, Global Development

Andy has researched alternative energy and solar water distillation at Hamilton College and the University of Denver. In addition to his senior thesis on plant immunity and independent study on antimicrobial peptides, he has collaborated with laboratories around the country in plant evolutionary development and genetic markers for pain. After a semester abroad in Tanzania, he hopes to return to East Africa to implement an online education project.


Office / Department Name

Levitt Center

Contact Name

Levitt Center

Office Location
Kirner-Johnson 251

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