Category: Discovery & Impact, Student Experience

Title: Five Teams Selected as Finalists in the 2021 Georgetown Public Policy Challenge

The Georgetown Public Policy Challenge is an interdisciplinary competition that calls on graduate students to develop innovative policy solutions that help address a challenge in the local community. Now in its seventh year, the Challenge is hosted by the McCourt School.

Each team presents a proposal to a panel of judges, which include past public policy challenge winners and members of the Georgetown and DC community engaged in local policy work. Only five teams advance to the final round. Finalists receive $750 and the winning team, which will be announced on Friday, April 16th, will be awarded $2,500 to support the implementation of the proposal.

Meet this year’s finalists:

BYOB: Buy Your Own Building

Team Members: Nick Stabile (MPP ’21) and Lindsey Volz (MPP’22)

The BYOB team created a proposal that seeks to help protect small businesses from displacement while also building wealth. The proposed plan would provide small businesses the first right of refusal to purchase their buildings and create a grant for Equity Impact Enterprises in DC Wards 7 and 8 to assist with the down payment. The grant aims to address the persistent lack of access to capital for Black and minority-owned small businesses in disinvested communities.


Team Members: Christina Colla (EMPL ‘21), Amanda Ferguson (EMPL ‘21), Margaret Jones-Keegan, (EMPL ‘21), and Ciara Rivera Vazquez (EMPL ‘21)

#LevelUpDc is an initiative to address the systemic socio-economic and environmental inequalities that have resulted in disproportionately lower COVID-19 vaccine coverage in DC Wards 7 and 8. The goal is to increase vaccine coverage by increasing awareness, education, vaccine access and availability, data tracking, and data reporting. “The use of community-based organizations is essential and necessary in collecting and providing data to public health dashboards and mobilizing equitable delivery of preventive healthcare,” the team explained.

Maintaining Motherhood

Team Members: Tanvi Mehta (MBA ’22), Emilie Melvin (M.D. ’22), and Zach Mikus (MPP ’22)

Maintaining Motherhood is a pilot program designed to address the maternal mortality crisis in DC by supporting community-centered programs and providing access and care to low-income pregnant individuals. The proposal aims to improve the quality of care through a group-based model for pregnant individuals, which will help save 8 billion dollars a year in maternal health costs and establish healthier families for all Washingtonians.


Team Members: Gabrielle Crossnoe (MPP ‘21), Emma Hurler (MPP ‘21), Kara Kilpatrick (MPP ‘21), and Peter Simmons (MPP ‘21)

PARENTS is a text messaging system that regularly checks in with individuals who have just given birth to encourage them to take care of their own health during the postpartum period. The proposed plan aims to reduce the rate of postpartum deaths by encouraging individuals who have recently given birth to schedule doctor’s appointments and encourages them to take care of their health needs as part of the recovery process.

Pension Predators

Team Members: Mariana Marañón (M.S. Integrative Neuroscience ’21) and Connor Schultz (JD)

The Pension Predators proposal consolidates retirement plan vendors for DC Public Schools teachers through a competitive bidding process. The goal is to substantially reduce investment fees to improve teachers’ savings and enabling retirement security.