DOWNEY -- A Downey man has been named a finalist for the 2017-18 Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California, an award given annually to social entrepreneurs under age 28.
From these finalists, four will be selected to each win a $30,000 grand prize. Honorable mentions will be awarded $5,000.
Downey’s Ben Alemu was nominated for his creation of SENDforC, a national network of student mentors designing high-impact educational service programs and entrepreneurial initiatives for underserved schools.
The award is presented by the Westly Foundation.
Other finalists include:
Helen Zou (Palo Alto), creator of FreeWill, a free online tool to help users make legal wills
Miranda Wang (Mountain View), created of BioCollection, a proprietary thermochemical process that can turn unrecyclable plastic waste into sustainable material
Maya Sussman (Palo Alto), creator of Practica, a mobile platform that helps non-native English speakers improve their spoken English and expand their employment opportunities
Kartik Sawhney (Stanford), creator of NextBillion, a mentorship program for students with disabilities interested in tech
Demetri Maxim (Stanford), creator of Novel, an inexpensive and non-invasive device that can detect chronic kidney transplant rejection in 20 minutes for less than $5
Kevin Madrigal (San Francisco), creator of Farming Hope, which provides homeless individuals with transitional jobs in gardening and cooking
Kana Hammon (San Francisco), creator of YCore, which promotes social impact by equipping young professionals with the tools to impact their community
Berk Coker (Redwood City), creator of Teach FX, a personalized professional development tool for teachers that uses machine learning to provide them with daily metrics about the dialogue happening in their classroom
Jack Amend (Los Angeles), creator of Web Neutral Project, a comprehensive certification that calculates, reduces and neutralizes the carbon footprint of websites.