CGI U participant shares experience with past conference

January 27, 2014

Arizona State University students can now apply to volunteer for the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), which will be held at ASU in Tempe, March 21-23. Each year, CGI U brings together nearly 1,200 attendees from around the world to make a difference in five focus areas: education; environment and climate change; peace and human rights; poverty alleviation; and public health.

ASU News sat down with HydroGene Biotechnologies co-founder and CGI U 2013 participant, Nisarg Patel, to get his insight on CGI U. Download Full Image

Chandler, AZ

Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology / Political Science

Tell us about your company.
HydroGene Biotechnologies is a biotechnology venture using synthetic biology to solve global health issues, with a focus on medical diagnostics. Our team is developing biosensor technology for on-site rapid screening of any bacterial pathogen of interest in the water supplies of developing countries, food processing plants and clinics. Unlike current biosensor technology, our product requires no electronic machinery, costs cents to produce and produces a quick response to pathogens. Our goal is to take the guesswork out of safe drinking water.

What was your affiliation with CGI U 2013?
I attended CGI U 2013. This year, I serve as the CGI U Campus Representative for ASU. As CGI U Campus Representative, my role is to mentor students with the application process and their projects. 

Were you able to make networking connections?
Yes. I met students from my commitment area, as well as other areas, like education and environmental sustainability. I also had the opportunity to speak with world leaders from institutions like the United Nations.

What was your greatest takeaway?
I was inspired by the incredible potential of young people to change the world.

What is your advice for others who are thinking about applying to CGI U this year?
Don’t worry if you think your project is too small to make an impact. With over 1,200 students attending, every bit of change that we make adds up. Be confident in your ideas and build as many relationships as you can with other attendees.

Computer science major lands spot at CGI U 2014

January 27, 2014

Raji Ganesan, a computer science major, has been accepted to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) conference happening at Arizona State University March 21-23. ASU News sat down with her to learn about her project and hopes for the event.

1. What intrigued you about CGI U?
I was intrigued by CGI U simply because of how effective it seemed at bringing together young leaders from all over the world, committed to affecting a positive change in a number of social contexts. More importantly however, CGI U had a particular emphasis on groups and individuals that had already taken tangible steps and made progress toward those goals. I simply could not pass up the opportunity to be in the same space as so many inspiring people, because I find that interaction and constructive conversation is vital to making progress in any field. Additionally, I was so excited that the event involves a service activity on the last day, simply because I really value local community involvement. portrait of ASU student Raji Ganesan Download Full Image

2. Tell us about your commitment.
I am an undergraduate researcher at ASU's Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing (CUbiC). With the help of the FURI grant, I am helping to develop serious games for stroke rehabilitation on unique smart devices called Sifteo Cubes. My commitment to action is essentially to use technology to empower those with physical or neurological deficiencies. Smart devices allow for us to create tasks that are more motivating and engaging, while acting as a supplement to the vital physician-patient interaction. Each brain, stroke and individual is different, and it is imperative that our methods of rehabilitation reflect that diversity.

3. What are you hoping to learn?
Like with any major academic event or application process, I am hoping to learn more about my own goals. The best part of applying to things like this, and working with others in the process, is that it forces me to honestly assess my progress and hopes while improving my ability to articulate where I hope to go. Also, it goes without saying I am incredibly excited to learn about the other commitments to action - concerning both my field and the other fantastic causes and challenges that students will be addressing.

4. Who are you hoping to network with?
I certainly look forward to meeting students from all over, tackling similar challenges that I am. But I am also really looking forward to the panel of experts and professionals from all the disciplines. It should be a fantastic and enriching experience.

CGI U is now accepting applications for volunteers. To learn more, please visit