Meet the Spring 2021 WeBuild Cohort 🌟

Spring 2021 Cohort in a virtual WeBuild workshop!

Our spring 2021 WeBuild cohort is hard at work bringing their passion projects to life with each weekly workshop! They’ve already made so much progress with each week, and we’re all counting down to the showcase, which is right around the corner. We have a diverse range of ventures this semester — from science-focused creations to initiatives inspired by sustainability.

To get to know our cohort more and what’s going on inside WeBuild, here are our eight WeBuilders on their passion projects and their WeBuild experience.

Beatrice van der Velde-Kraft

First-Year, Business Administration & Design

My passion project is focused on creating a tote bag out of recycled plastic textiles in order to engage consumers in sustainability and environmental preservation. The bag will hopefully help people feel as if their choices matter when it comes to climate change. I have always loved design and been passionate about the environment this project is a cross-section of those two things. I want to work on a creative solution that helps continue society's moment towards a cleaner planet. WeBuild has helped me take a basic idea and begin to develop it into a tangible project that is on its way to becoming a small business. Each of our classes has helped me develop a piece of the project that I had yet to think about helping me strengthen my skills while helping me bring my ideas into fruition!

Stephany Bernazzani

Fifth-Year, Business Marketing Analytics & International Affairs Minor

My passion project is to build a learning community for sustainability innovators at Northeastern and create awareness to empower students to take impact-driven initiatives. This community provides a safe space full of resources and tools for green initiatives to take off and help our campus become a more resilient and decarbonized community.

Growing sustainability issues are asking for more interdisciplinary and inclusive approaches in rethinking how to innovate and promote change in our communities. I have seen genius sustainability ideas rising across campus that lose traction because they don’t have the resources or bandwidth to promote impact. My aim is to provide a space for these ideas to incubate and grow roots in their communities, starting at Northeastern.

WeBuild has enabled me to develop an entrepreneurial and boundless perspective about a project that I feel passionate about. The program provides me with tools and resources across the entrepreneurial journey spectrum to carry on my project. The best thing we have at WeBuild is ourselves and learning from each other; the unique support system and multiple academic and intercultural backgrounds make the richness of the program.

Vanessa Lee

Second-Year, Data Science & Mathematics Minor

I’m developing an interactive digital media marketplace to share the beauties of Asian and Asian American culture through various forms of art, design, and music. I plan to tell people’s individual stories by providing a platform for small business owners within the creative field to promote and market their artwork and products. My goals for this passion project are to strengthen the Asian and Asian American community within the Boston area and educate those who are interested in learning about the culture in a creative light.

My favorite part about WeBuild is having an amazing pinpoint, Fernanda, who guides me on this entrepreneurial journey. Fernanda has provided me with honest and insightful advice on navigating through key business concepts during our weekly meetings. This mentorship, but also friendship, has allowed me to continue my professional growth and personal development in the entrepreneurial environment.

Hiba Hussain

First-Year, Biology & English

I am creating a prototype of a low-cost, and rapid breath-based diagnostic device for Covid-19. I plan to create a sensor that can identify and analyze certain breath biomarkers typically found in Covid patients and display a result within minutes.

I am pursuing my passion project because I want to make Covid-19 testing convenient and accessible for people and providers alike. I hope this will encourage people to feel more comfortable getting tested on a regular basis and provide them with agency over their own health.

My favorite part of WeBuild has been befriending a group of women who are motivated, passionate, and not afraid to tackle the difficult problems that we face in our society today. WeBuild has really helped me develop a new entrepreneurial skillset and also helped me find my voice along the way.

Bernice Luong

Second-Year, Marketing in Business & Design

My passion project is to create a community for underrepresented athletes interested in or already practicing MMA, kickboxing, weightlifting, and other relevant sports. I want to show that anyone can embrace their duality as an athlete, and help inspire/motivate more people to get into traditionally masculine activities.

My favorite part [of WeBuild] is the support, encouragement, and patience constantly radiating from everyone involved in WeBuild. This energy makes every class, meeting, and community event very welcoming and inspiring.

Fatema Janahi

Fourth-Year, Computer Engineering & Engineering Management

I started Innova Digital to help local businesses in Bahrain increase sales through improving their online presence, such as setting up e-commerce websites and implementing digital marketing strategies. Part of the project is also building a local business community and directory where users can learn about other businesses and find resources in our native language, Arabic. After noticing a growing amount of local businesses started by young thriving Arabs, I decided to create Innova to offer digital support to smaller businesses at affordable prices. After talking to local Bahraini founders, I realized their shared issues and the importance of building a community where they can learn and grow together.

I’ve loved getting to know the WeBuild cohort on a personal level, sharing and talking about our ideas together, and the high level of support shared within the group. I love that the workshops push and challenge me to question my project and continuously redesign & improve my work.

Ruby Trvalik

First-Year, Environmental Studies and Global Fashion Studies Minor

My passion project is an app that aims to help students properly dispose of their waste and log it, while also providing resources for access to compost. As a Northeastern student, I quickly noticed how disorganized and confusing the waste system is, as well as a general lack of access to compost. As an environmentalist, I have always been conscious of how much waste I produce, and it pained me to see the large amount of contamination that occurs on campus from improper disposal. I have also been looking to compost, but was confused about how exactly I could do so on campus. WeBuild has been an extremely empowering environment to grow and strengthen my idea, and has been immensely helpful in making me realize how many connections and opportunities there are at Northeastern for young entrepreneurs!

Karliann Warren

Second-Year, Finance and International Business

The world of Interpreting is outdated and biased. The Deaf community must use inadequate technology like closed captions or insufficient interpreting resources. I want to create a digital interpreting service that finally translates audible language into sign language, not just written language. I adamantly believe we all deserve the right to adequate communication, no matter what language we speak or sign. I believe an interpreting service like this could help change the negative stigma surrounding deafness and sign language.

My favorite part of WeBuild has been the people. I have met so many passionate, driven, and inspiring women. I’m grateful to be around them and learn from them.

With the end of the semester is quickly approaching, we can’t wait to see how far these 8 WeBuilders will continue to grow and where they’ll take their passion project next after the semester ends!

WeBuild is a community-based thought-incubator for a cohort of 8–10 women. This is a semester-long set of innovation and design thinking classes, helping women develop the soft and hard skills necessary to problem solve and build out a venture or business idea. If you have any questions about WISE or WeBuild, email us at northeasternwise@gmail.com or DM us on Instagram @northeasternwise!

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