MDC’s Padrón Campus Professor and Students Win 1st Place at Prestigious IREX Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge

Miami, May 18, 2022 – A group of students and a professor from Miami Dade College (MDC) Padrón Campus were part of the team that won 1st place at the prestigious Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge, an initiative that connects college students in the U.S., Jordan and Iraq to virtually collaborate on a sustainable solution to local challenges related to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. The eight-week challenge was implemented by IREX, a global development and education nonprofit. 

Team PhoenixQuest, composed of 27 students from MDC and Duhok Polytechnic University in Iraq, created an app to support refugees looking for employment and offering a variety of professional and vocational resources.  They competed against 13 other binational teams.

Participants in this competition investigated challenges related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of Zero Hunger, No Poverty, Good Health & Well Being and Quality Education. The top three finalists received grants to further develop their concepts.

 The following MDC students participated in the Challenge. They were guided by Prof. Emily Sendin.

Susana Piedrahita

Juan Camilo Duarte

Alejandra Cano

Giselle Jimenez

Luis Lopez, Cross

Daphnie Velazquez

Suleidys Rodriguez

Roman Gil

Stefani Davila

Gonzalo Galdames

Cindy Pascual

Gabriela Garcia

Ana Muñoz

The Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge is supported by The Stevens Initiative, an international effort to build global competence and career readiness skills for young people in the United States, the Middle East and North Africa by growing and enhancing the field of virtual exchange. The Stevens Initiative is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. government, and is administered by the Aspen Institute. The Stevens Initiative is also supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

MDC was one of only 50 academic institutions selected to participate in the 2022 Global Solutions programs, including the Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge and Global Solutions Conversations. Last fall, Prof. Sendin, along with three other MDC professors also facilitated the Global Solutions Conversations. This spring, Dr. Michael Lenaghan and Dr. Myra Medina are facilitating the Global Solutions Conversations for a second time after their first experience last year.

IREX, an awardee of the Stevens Initiative virtual exchange grant, launched Global Solutions in fall 2017, reaching 315 youth through an initial pilot. IREX scaled the Global Solutions program through a second Stevens Initiative grant to reach nearly 2,000 additional youth from fall 2019 to Spring 2021. Through a one-year renewal, IREX will continue scaling Global Solutions and expects to engage 2,000 students in fall 2021 and spring 2022. Participants will join the Stevens Initiative community of nearly 75,000 young people in 17 MENA countries and the Palestinian Territories, and in 47 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, one tribal community, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C. For more information visit