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McKinley Grant-Past Projects

Past Projects & Recipients

First awarded in 2004, the Janet McKinley '74 Family Grant program is designed to encourage the pursuit of creative, entrepreneurial projects that have an impact on the grant recipient and the community at large.

Below are brief descriptions of past projects. Hopefully, these will serve to spark your ideas!

  • Polici, New Jersey, 2020
    The McKinley Grant helped the recipient to streamline the translation of academic research into short reads written to be made accessible to readers eighth grade and up, using a combination of machine learning algorithms and human editors. This allows for academic research to stand on its own, balance the needs of researchers and readers while enfranchising millions. The reads were crafted with graphics that represent the data and ground the content in easy-to-understand, eye-catching visuals. Additionally, the AI component reduces the bias in content creation.

  • Upward Bound, Cornell University, 2020
    The McKinley Grant helped support programming for roughly 90 local high school students from low-income and first-generation backgrounds as they participated in 6 weeks of academic, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities. The recipient taught an elective course on habits and attitudes of leadership and organized a week-long leadership conference filled with swag, speakers, and workshops.

  • Scholars in our Society of Africa (SOSA), 2020
    The recipient (along with fellow mentors) used the McKinley Grant to work with students in high schools in predominantly African American communities and assist them with the college application process. Over the summer, each day focused on different activities and workshops involving topics like Formulating a College List; Navigating the Common App and FAFSA; College Essays; Resume writing, and Standardized Test Prep. The workshops also centered around leadership development, community engagement, time management, communication skills, and cultural awareness. As a result, the individuals mentoring the students were able to collect test scores, and common applications, enabling them to track the success of these students as they go into their junior and senior years of high school.

  • Happy Kids School, Ghana, 2019   
    The McKinley Grant helped improve the health and wellness of the Happy Kids community. The Happy Kids School serves to educate 180 children, while also housing 60 vulnerable children in rural Ghana. This grant supported three major projects that improved sanitation, reduced health risks, and increased the nutritional value of the daily diet.   
  • Anabel’s Grocery, Cornell University, 2019   
    The recipient used the McKinley Grant to support the re-opening of Anabel’s Grocery on campus. Anabel’s Grocery provides fresh, nutritious, and affordable food for all Cornell students. Through the store and educational programs, Anabel’s Grocery provides information about the connection between quality food, health, justice, and sustainability.   
  • European Refugee Crisis Research Project, Greece, 2019   
    The McKinley recipient and his research team conducted research with refugee populations in Greece. The first objective was to implement the Learning to Breathe mindfulness curriculum at refugee community centers in Athens. The purpose of this objective was to provide community center care-providers with mindfulness tools in working with adolescents. The second objective of the project was to provide a survey of the prevalence of traumatic experiences and ecological stressors among child migrants. The purpose of this objective was to publish data on adolescent refugee mental health in order for the international aid community to respond to the refugee crisis with positive, evidence-based interventions.   
  • Creation of Vascular Networks Using a Combination FDM Printing and Coaxial Needles, 2018   
    This project focused on manufacturing a cost-effective and time-efficient method for the printing of three-dimensional vascular networks used for sacrificial templating. In laboratories, cellular growth is limited to two-dimensions because of the lack of nutrients and waste accumulation that inner cells experience. To develop three-dimensional organs, a sacrificial cardiovascular network must be implemented for inner cell survival, as well as promote proliferation and maintain structural integrity. The advancement of this procedure can lead to the affordable production of personalized three-dimensional organs to combat society’s transplant crisis.   
  • Impact of Tourism in Cuba, a Research Project, 2017   
    The McKinley recipient worked on an independent research project analyzing the impact of increasing tourism and U.S. tourism policy on the people of Cuba. Through secondary research from Miami and from primary research in Havana, Cuba, they interviewed people working in the hospitality industry. This research serves as a case study to understand the impacts of tourism worldwide and to help create a tourism industry that is more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.        
  • Cornell Minds Matter, 2017   
    This project evaluated the use of psychological frameworks as applied to the organization Cornell Minds Matter (CMM). The first section of the project evaluates how CMM effectively uses the frameworks of psychoeducation, support groups, peer-to-peer support, and narrative and story-telling. The second part of the project includes a Logic Model Portfolio for individual CMM programs, as well as a table outlining the assumptions and long term objectives of every program. The research concludes with an analysis of the logic models and a proposal for further research.
  • Goat Farming Initiative in Rural Nepal, 2016   
    After an earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015, the McKinley grant recipient started an impact investment organization called Utthan to create income-generating opportunities for the earthquake victims in rural Nepal. Through the McKinley Family Grant, a goat farming project was expanded in the Magar community– a marginalized group– in Syangja Nepal. The grant also subsidized the cost of a transmitter for a local radio station, allowing the station to broadcast weekly interviews with the Magar community.
  • Mountain Resiliency Project, 2016   
    The Mountain Resiliency Project coordinates women’s health circles in the Tibetan Refugee Community. The McKinley recipient specifically worked with Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp and Tashi-Palkhiel Tibetan Refugee Camp in Kaski District, Nepal. The project increased awareness and education around women’s health issues, minimizing fear and misunderstanding around women’s health concerns, and increased safe spaces for women. To reach these goals, hour-long women’s peer health circles occurred three times a week. Throughout the program, Tibetan refugee women made various insights on the importance of community and individual health.