2015-16 Innovation Grants

During the 2015-16  academic year, the Babson/Olin/Wellesley Three College Collaboration offered two rounds of Presidential Innovation Project Fund Grants—one in the Fall, the other in the Spring.

All proposals were reviewed by the college Provosts, BOW administration, and the BOW Faculty Steering Committee.   

A total of $17,856 was awarded.

The project titles, team members and their affiliations are:

BOW Ballroom Dancing

The BOW Ballroom Dance Club wants to unite interested dancers at Babson, Olin, and Wellesley to host and participate in professional ballroom lessons twice a week. The purpose of the club is to promote enthusiasm for and knowledge of ballroom dance, and to facilitate social interactions between students from the three colleges.  The project hopes to use BOW funds in an effort to create a solid base of student participants which will then allow the project to be self-sustaining.

Team Leader:

Xiaofan Wu, Wellesley College

Team members:

Emily Purdom, Co-president at Babson

Claire Beery, Co-president at Olin

Michelle Wang, Tri-College liaison at Wellesley

Catrina Sun-Tan, Public Relations at Wellesley

Yuanzhen Pan, Event coordinator at Wellesley 

Riyaaz Qawwali

Riyaaz Qawwali is the only South Asian ensemble in the US focused on qawwali, the most popular genre of Sufi music in South Asia and globally that is celebrated for its long (more than 700 years) association with inclusive spirituality. While Riyaz Qawwali reinterprets the genre musically and in choice of lyrics in ways that reflect the contemporary sensibilities, it continues the spirit of the tradition in promoting interfaith dialogue through their interactive and engaging performances as well as workshops.

Using Riyaz Qawwali’s performance as a platform, our campuses can get a glimpse into the cultures of South Asian and facilitate a deeper discussion about cultural and religious diversity at Babson, Olin, and Wellesley area. With the interactive and energetic quality of their music, they have enjoyed great success on many other campuses (Princeton University, Cornell University, Columbia University, University of Texas at Austin and University of Houston).

The performance would not only be enjoyed by faculty, students and the larger community, it can serve as a channel to create greater awareness about diversity and foster dialog. 

Team Leader: Subhash Gubba

Title: Olin Indian Club President

BOW Institution: Olin College

Email Address: subhash.gubba@students.olin.edu

Team Members:

Babson coordinators: Shahriar Mazumdar and Irfaan Kazi - Muslim Students Association; Rooni Mehta - AMAN (South Asian activities)

Olin coordinators:  Jessica McCarthy – BOW; Subhash Gubba - Olin Indian Club; Rae-Ann Butera - Dean of Student Life

Wellesley coordinators: Vaishali Gupta and Amira Quraishi - Religious Life; Neelima Shukla-Bhatt - South Asian Studies; Madhu Gupta - WASAC (Activities of South Asia Committee); Disha Okhai - Darshana (Hindu Community); Houda Khaled - Al Muslimat (Islamic Community)

All parties will be responsible for marketing and publicity of the event. Wellesley will facilitate the venue, Olin will coordinate interaction with the artists, and Babson will help plan the event logistics.

BOW Toastmasters Membership Development

The primary goal of the international Toastmaster’s organization is to improve public speaking skills and to inspire self-confidence and develop leadership. With an executive board of members from the Babson, Olin and Wellesley Colleges, collaboration between all three campuses is a critical part of this chapter’s mission. During our Toastmasters meetings, we develop personal and professional relationships, working together to foster public speaking and communication skills, a regularly scheduled opportunity to build relationships with members from other schools, and more. 

Our goal is to build and maintain a strong membership of 36 members from the Babson, Olin, and Wellesley communities. Our meeting formats allow attendees to network, collaborate, and help each other, and we’ve already seen students form friendships and partnerships through Toastmasters. We’re also the only club to have an officer from each of the three schools, allowing for a true BOW collaboration.

Team Leader: Christina Xiao

Title: Toastmasters President

BOW Institution: Babson College

Email Address: cxiao1@babson.edu

Team Members:

Christina Xiao, President, – Babson College representative

Lorna Wu, VP Education – Wellesley College representative

Shrinidhi Thirumalai, Secretary – Olin College representative 

BOW Rock Climbing

Our goals are to get many BOW students to engage with each other over a common passion, strengthing relationships between the colleges. 

Why choose rock climbing as the activity that bonds people together? Rock climbing is a sport where individuals try to climb to the top of their goals (literally). The obstacles facing them (the climbing route) is shared amongst all climbers tackling that route. The nature of the sport is extremely supportive, as everyone is encouraging and wants to help tackle the problem together. The mental and physical challenge makes the sport very rewarding, and climbing together is very synergistic.

We’ve coordinated 3 practices a week, and occasional extra events like outdoor climbing events, competitions, social events, and on campus workouts throughout the semester. 

Team Leader: Ryan Louie, Student

BOW Institution: Olin

Email Address: ryan.louie@students.olin.edu

Team Members:

Olin: *Ryan Louie, *Greg Coleman, *Izzy Harrison, Ankeet Mutha, Patrick Huston, Jasper Chen, Cecilia Diehl, Nick Lapin, Audrey Lewis, Chris Beck, Cesar Santana, Emily Wang, Rahil Dedhia, Thuc Tran, Chloe Blazey, Chloe Grubb

Babson: *Michael Losi, Jian Suh

Wellesley: Elaine, Adriana Rathjen, Mieke Bovbjerg, Jacqueline Zheng, Elizabeth Olson, Melody Gao, Linlin Chen, Rosaline Pyktel, Dalila Stanfield, Yu Rong Lim

Babson, Olin and Wellesley College Design For America

Design For America is an award-winning nationwide network of college students using design to create local and social impact in the areas of Health, Education, Economy and the Environment. This organization highly encourages interdisciplinary teams and emphasizes the fact that anyone studying any major, can be considered a designer.

To establish the presence of BOW Design For America’s studio, the first project includes the implementation of maker spaces or tool libraries as a compliment to a local public library. This would increase the number of "maker" projects being done in that community and fulfill a need within communities of every socioeconomic level. 

An important aspect of this project will be hosting the BOW Design For America Workshop. Two national leaders from Design For America will be flying in from Chicago to Olin College to introduce students to a high-level, fast-paced overview of the DFA human-centered design process, exemplify the process expected to be conducted during the one-month project and allow students to get to know one another and learn about DFA Network and values.

Bringing together the engineering strength of Olin College students with the business and entrepreneurship strength of Babson College students and the liberal arts strength of Wellesley College students presents a unique opportunity to accomplish everything DFA stands for (applying human-centered design to local, social challenges and to students' lives as innovators) with the resources and backing of three of the best schools for their respective fields and a nationwide network of mentors and studios. 

Team Leaders:

Isaac Vandor - student, Olin College

Sara Ballantyne - student, Olin College

Lisa Truong - student, Wellesley College

April Chen - student, Babson College 

CarbonZero Competition

Given the unprecedented rate of Global Climate Change and the immense danger it poses to humanity, we are behooved to engage BOW students to create viable solutions to lower our carbon footprint. As three innovative and prestigious schools, BOW schools would pool talented students together to create projects that would lower our carbon footprint. Project submission requirements would favor teams that consist of students from all three schools who harness their unique skills. Throughout the competition workshops, building sessions, and networking events will be held at Babson. A panel of 9 judges, consisting of 3 professionals from each BOW school, will judge project plans and will hear each team’s presentation. In order to implement action, the winning project will receive $2000 in funding and a pledge of a fully developed website. The project will be implemented next fall; projects that prove to be truly scalable will be referred to the Butler Accelerator Venture.

Team Leader: Eagle Wu Founder, Community of Developers and Entrepreneurs

BOW Institution : Babson College

College Address : 231 Forest Street, Babson Park, Wellesley, MA 02457

Email Address : ewu1@babson.edu 


(Babson Club)

Eagle Wu, Arpit Bansal, Gabe Ficht, Jared Silver, Xudong Zheng, Geraldine Sistos

SLAC (Olin Club)

Patrick Huston, Keenan Zucker, Ben Kahle, Evan Dorsky 

Wellesley Computer Science Club

Karina Chan, Nina Broocks

Also From Babson:

Professor Adam Sulkowski Law Professor & Expert in Sustainability Reporting

Professor Vikki Rodgers Sustainability Professor & Ecologist

Alex Davis Sustainability Office Manager, also representing Sustainability Department @Babson College

Rocket Pitch Club at Babson

Spark Tutors for Financial Accounting at Babson

BOW DataFest

Babson, Olin, and Wellesley are jointly planning the first BOW American Statistical Association DataFest, to be held at Olin, April 13, 2016.

This event is coordinated at locations all over the country and is similar to a computing hackathon, where teams of students work throughout a weekend to solve a problem. At DataFest, students gather for 2.5 days to explore and develop insights about a large, complex data set that is kept a secret until the event. Approximately 40 students will begin on a Friday evening, work throughout the day and evening on Saturday, and finish on Sunday. Throughout this time, faculty and staff from all three colleges circulate to provide advice and support. At the end of the event, each team of students briefly presents their work to a panel of judges, who award prizes for “best in show,” “best visualization,” and other categories. 

The goals of the BOW DataFest are to promote statistics and data science; to foster students’ data analysis, statistical, and computational skills; to recognize excellent student work; and to connect the data science and statistics communities at our colleges. Our participation in this national event also brings visibility to the BOW Collaboration. After this first trial, we hope to repeat this event in future years.

 Further information about DataFest is available at this link:



Allen Downey, Professor, Olin College


Davit Khachatryan, Assistant Professor of Statistics/Analytics, Babson College


Cassandra Pattanayak, Guthman Director of the Quantitative Analysis Institute, Wellesley



Additional coordinator:

John McKenzie, Associate Professor Emeritus of Statistics, Babson College


Holi and Spring Mela

Holi is a religious and cultural festival observed in Hinduism and India in which colors are used to celebrate Spring and new beginnings. The act of throwing colors signifies embracing community and diversity by joining hands, coloring the world, and making peace with friends, family, strangers, and enemies. The event is held throughout college campuses all over the nation, as it gives students an opportunity to be playful while creating a sense of equality between individuals of different backgrounds and faiths.

Spring Mela, meaning Spring Festival or Spring Carnival, is a celebration of Spring and spring-related traditions from around the world. The outdoor celebration on the chapel lawn of Wellesley brings together a wide variety of multifaith and multicultural organizations, offering a space for reflection, celebration, food and crafts in general, an opportunity for stress relief in the busy weeks before finals for students from all three colleges. Past activities have included painting, a flower planting station, easter egg decoration, henna, short cultural dance performances and a variety of food stations from around the world. 

Team Leader: Priyanka Ram

Title: Darshana President

BOW Institution : Wellesley College

Email Address : pram@wellesley.edu


Wellesley College: Darshana Executive Board: Priyanka Ram ‘17, Chetna Mahajan ‘18, Harshita Yerramreddy ‘18, Keertana Anandraj ‘18

Babson College: Hari Mahesh ‘19, Arpit Bansal ‘19, Harshit Garg ‘19

Olin College: Saarth Mehrotra ‘16, Subhash Gubba ‘17

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