Three Maryland Smith students were recognized by the Do Good Institute for their commitment to supporting their fellow students, addressing crucial issues and leading fearlessly.
Dan Kossoy, Roxanna Kazemzadeh and Casey McCarthy were among the 38 students selected from thousands of students across the University of Maryland campus who competed in the annual Do Good Challenge. All three were mailed medallions to wear during their virtual commencement ceremonies.
Kossoy, who was a member of the 2018 Do Good Challenge semi-finalist team, The Bee's Needs, was recognized for his work supporting local beekeepers in their efforts to maintain beehives for pollination of crops and produce.
With bees and beehives are experiencing rapid population die-off in the U.S., The Bee’s Needs partnered with local Boy Scout Troop 740 and the DC Beekeepers Alliance to build and sell 17 low-cost beehive boxes for the community. In the future, the group plans to start an annual beehive box building event that works with local scout troops, beekeeping clubs, and student volunteers.
Kazemzadeh, a 2018 Do Good Challenge finalist, was honored for her work with SPARC (Scholars Promoting and Revitalizing Care), a student-led group focused on promoting the wellbeing and mental health of University of Maryland students.
“We’ve seen such an amazing response from the community, which is truly the inspiration behind SPARC,” Kazemzadeh says. “We set out to bring light to the mental health crisis that is happening not only on this campus but for youth and young people across the nation. But what I want to stress is that our work is not done: we are still facing that growing crisis.”
Kazemzadeh says being part of the Do Good Challenge was a huge honor and that the award is a testament to what SPARC has accomplished at the University of Maryland. Now, she has her sights set on using this foundation to expand her positive impact beyond the campus community.
“With this inspiration, a few SPARC alums, including myself, have launched a mental health nonprofit to further SPARC’s mission on a much larger scale - Evolving Minds,” Kazemzadeh says. “This award and its recognition further motivate me to continue the work that we’re doing.”
McCarthy received his medallion for his work as a member of Hydraze, a proprietary water-sensing and automatic flushing device that aims to save buildings, universities, and cities millions of gallons of water by eliminating empty “phantom” toilet flushes.
The group won the 2019 Do Good Challenge and recently took home the $15,000 top prize at this year’s Pitch Dingman competition. McCarthy says that the award validates both the hard work he has put into this project and his dedication to making a difference.
“Being selected as a recipient gives me even more confirmation that the long nights practicing our pitch was worth it,” McCarthy says. “I am incredibly thankful to the Do Good Institute for all of the opportunities that they have provided for the future of Hydraze, which I believe has a very bright future.”