Students develop inventions to solve global problems

Navika Shukla and Jane Zhang

Navika Shukla (left) and Jane Zhang display their idea at the Clinton Global Initiative University.


UIC students are developing devices to solve environmental, social and medical problems on a global scale.

Each year, students in UIC’s Global Social Innovation Initiative chapter are given a theme and charged with creating a product that is innovative, transposable, sustainable and humanitarian.

“We all work together and try to connect with a nonprofit,” said Navika Shukla, a sophomore in chemistry and president of the Global Social Innovation Initiative. “We have different teams all over and they work on their own innovation project. We have fun with them.”

More than 1,000 students from 80 countries displayed their projects at the Clinton Global Initiative University in March at the University of Miami.

“Our chapter is making a medical tech, an electricity-free fridge to store vaccines and medication in India,” said Jane Zhang, a sophomore in biology and vice president of the organization. “They simply don’t have or have limited access to electricity. It affects the quality of their storage.”

UIC’s group is finalizing the prototype of the electricity-free fridge. The next step is to reach out to nonprofit health centers to see if they would use it in their clinics. “A lot of people told us our project was something neat,” Zhang said.

Any UIC student can join the Global Social Innovation Initiative. “What makes us unique is all majors can play a part in the projects we are doing,” said Rinky Desai, a sophomore in biology and treasurer of the organization. “We can educate each other.”

For more information about the group, email


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