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5 Georgetown Public Policy Challenge finalists selected among 40 teams

The finalist teams, representing seven graduate schools at Georgetown University, propose reforms to a range of policy issues across the District of Columbia, from prenatal care and juvenile justice to office redevelopment and chronic absenteeism.

Each year, Georgetown graduate students of all backgrounds and academic disciplines develop innovative policy solutions to issues in the Washington, DC region. The tenth annual Georgetown Public Policy Challenge (PPC) is hosted by the McCourt School of Public Policy and has led to student-led engagement on a large range of policy issues across the District of Columbia, including the digital divide for at-risk students and opioid reversal medication . Forty team applications were submitted, representing seven graduate schools at Georgetown, including the McCourt School, the McDonough School of Business, the School of Foreign Service, the Graduate School, the School of Nursing, the School of Medicine and the School of Continuing Studies.

Proposals and first-round presentations were evaluated by a panel of Georgetown faculty and staff, former Policy Challenge winners, and local government and nonprofit leaders working on issues that directly impact the DC community. The panel then selected five teams to advance to the final round. McCourt School alumni Emilia Calma (MPP‘20), winner of the 2019 PPC, Catherine Lyons (MPP‘18), winner of the 2017 PPC, Ben Mindes (MPP’19), Steven Swann (MPP’20) and Cory Peterson, associate vice president of community engagement and local government at Georgetown, will serve as judges in the final round.

All members of the Georgetown community are invited to attend the live final-round presentations on Friday, April 5, in Copley Formal Lounge at 5:15 pm. A reception will be held in Old North following the event, with catering provided by Homemade in DC, a social enterprise launched by McCourt School and Policy Challenge alumna Mackenzie Loy (MPP/MBA’22). All five finalist teams will receive a ,500 scholarship prize, and the winning team will receive a total scholarship prize of ,000.

The 2024 Georgetown Public Policy Challenge Finalists


A Jury Of Your Peers

A proposal to reform the DC Youth Court by empowering youth and fostering rehabilitation.

Team members: Vinuri Dissanayake (MPP’25), Abril Hunter (MPP’25) and Filip Kulakov (MPP’25)

Conversions to Credits: An Innovative Approach to Revitalizing Downtown

A proposal to incentivize housing construction and the redevelopment of offices in downtown DC by utilizing the existing but currently defunct Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program.

Team members: Clay Daneker (MPS‘25), Dion Thompson-Davoli (MPS‘24), Eric Schroeder (MPP’24)

Healthy Moms, Healthy Start: Accessible Prenatal Care for DC

A proposal to increase access to comprehensive prenatal care for at-risk DC residents to reduce mortality rates and improve health outcomes.

Team members: Lori Garcia (CNL’24), Gabriel Taylor (MPP-E’25), Mitchell Zupko (MPP-E’25)

Trimming the Risk

A proposal to address heart health in DC by partnering with local barbershops to increase blood pressure readings and connect at-risk patients with care.

Team members: Ryan Braun (M‘26), Evan Czulada (M‘25), Stefan Prvulovic (M‘27), Holly Shan (M’25), Mana Sheykhsoltan (M‘25)

Kids Ride Free+

A proposal to change the current school metro card distribution system from an opt-in process to an opt-out process to reduce absences for at-risk DC students.

Team members: John McCabe (MPP-E’26), Valeria Mera (MPP’25), Odessa Seng (MPP’25), Tony Tao (MPP’25)

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