Beeta Ansari

Beeta is Ashoka U’s Exchange Director, the world’s largest global convening for social entrepreneurship education.

Changemaker of the Week: Jayson Marwaha

Jayson Marwaha, a student at Brown University, describes his work founding MED International, an organization that maximizes the potential of resource-poor hospital’s existing inventory of machines using IT and engineering!

Jayson is being featured as part of Ashoka U’s series, “Changemaker of the Week” which highlights extraordinary student changemakers in college and graduate programs around the world. Check the AshokaU Blog each week for a story of a new Changemaker of the Week!

1) What is your project or organization?

My organization is MED International – our mission is to increase patients’ access to critical medical technology in resource-poor hospitals. We get there by trying to maximize the life-saving potential of a hospital’s existing inventory of machines – using IT, engineering, and a host of other interdisciplinary approaches.

2) How did you get involved with this project / organization (or how did you decide to found it)?

MED International began as an idea that my friends and I tossed around in high school. I spent my first year of college researching & studying the topic in-depth until I finally pinpointed the problem I wanted to solve, and how I wanted to approach it. I mustered the guts to start MED International just before sophomore year.

3) How has being a college student changed the way you act as a changemaker?

Being at a university has kept me open to all disciplines; every field of study adds value to the solutions we develop. Even though we deal with medical equipment problems, we rely on expertise from over 5 departments, from computer science to political science.

4) What’s the best part of working on your venture?

Using textbook knowledge to solve actual problems. I love that I’m able to use the material I learn in class not just to prepare for exams, but also to build things that people want, people like, and people benefit from.

5) What’s one piece of advice you’d give to any college student thinking of becoming a Changemaker?

Start doing it NOW – it’s okay to build your plane while it’s flying. College is the best time to start an exciting project – rarely in life are you so surrounded by students, academics, and potential mentors in your field, and so free to devote all your time to that one passion. So, even if you haven’t completely figured out the game plan, pick out the problem you want to solve, think up some solutions, and act on them. You’ll figure it all out soon enough!

6) How has your school or school’s social entrepreneurship initiative helped you progress as a student social innovator and in this venture?

Right when I think I’ve done a good job, the Social Innovation Initiative at Brown is there to keep me on my toes. Complacency is never an option when you’re immersed in a community of student social entrepreneurs who have all done 10 times more good than you have, and faculty mentors constantly challenging you to pair financial viability with social impact – a balancing act that other departments rarely think about.

Check out this video of and article Med International’s last visit to Zanzibar in March of 2013!

More information about Jayson will be featured on social media this week, so make sure to like Ashoka U on Twitter and Facebook! Check out Ashoka U’s blog each week to see new stories of phenomenal student changemakers making a difference in the world.