©UW-Parkside/Alyssa Nepper 2019

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University of Wisconsin-Parkside Executive Assistant Julie Lee’s idea and proof-of-concept submission for the WiSys Innovation Challenge: Covid-19 was accepted by WiSys staff. Lee’s idea? Well, put simply, that sharing is caring.

The purpose of the challenge was to find fast, functional solutions that address the impact of COVID-19 and social distancing in your local communities. WiSys staff reviewed more than 30 ideas that were submitted from eight different universities. Lee’s solution, donating her unneeded stimulus check and encouraging others to do the same through social media, most certainly fits the criteria, a fact that was recognized by WiSys staff with her selection. WiSys will monitor the progress of Lee’s idea and continue to support her innovation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, but some much more than others. Lee’s presentation began with a sobering breakdown of how many Americans are struggling to have their basic needs meet. “Fifty-six percent said they are concerned about being able to afford to feed themselves and their families and 45% are struggling to make rent or mortgage payments,” said Lee, quoting an article she read from Investopedia. Lee said that she felt blessed about being able to work from home, pay her bills, and still receive benefits.

That’s when it hit her: “Why don’t I donate my stimulus? Can you imagine if hundreds or thousands of other people could do the same? My main inspiration is just to help people in the hopes that it spreads to other folks to help others as well,” said Lee.

The idea submissions from all awardees can be found highlighted on the WiSys website.


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