In the fall of 2012, Abby Dennison ’16 and her team never would have guessed how much their idea would develop in a one-year period. Launch, created by Dennison and her teammates Manhas Narra and Frank Wu, is a student organization that helps college-aspiring students in their transition to higher education. The organization was one of five teams awarded the Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship for 2013.
In connection to her work with Launch, Dennison was recently named the 2013 National Child Awareness Month Ambassador (NCAM) for North Carolina. Through this opportunity, she represented Launch and the state of North Carolina in the District of Columbia at a leadership training summit in September. Launch will also receive an additional $1,000 grant from NCAM to continue to move forward with its mission to “connect every student with the resources they need to apply, enroll and transition to college, regardless of their background.”
The Launch team’s innovative ideas for supporting future college students have also been getting recognition from other UNC students. ACTion SATurday, a Launch event, won a first place People’s Choice Award for the Campus Y’s Social Innovation Idea Competition.
According to Dennison, the Bryan Fellowship has played an important part in Launch’s growing success. “APPLES showed us that our vision for a free college-prep program was possible, so long as we put in the time and effort to make it a responsible social investment. Working with APPLES, we were able to take a vague idea and turn it into a program model, making connections along the way that make our work possible.”
The fellowship has also offered Dennison significant opportunity for personal development. She reflects, “It was so empowering to have the support of an organization like APPLES, especially for a team of [students] who set out with the vague notion of making a difference. The Fellowship taught us how to innovate, to think and to serve.”
To learn more about the Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship, visit BSIF online.