New School News

New Challenge Winners Take to the Road in Honduras

The infrastructure design of Y Corn, the grand prize winner of this year’s New Challenge.

The grand prizewinners for this year’s New Challenge accepted their social innovation award with obvious glee—virtually. Cristina Handal, a graduate student at Parsons School of Design Strategies, and Marco Zelaya, from the Urban Policy program at The Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy were tuning in to the announcement ceremony via Skype. Both are in Honduras, already hard at work on Y Corn, their collaborative project that had just won $10,000 from the social innovation competition.

Using a sustainable economic model, Y Corn seeks to empower women who own small businesses on the roadsides of Honduras. These women, named the “eloteras” for the corn-based edible products that they sell, often struggle with unsanitary and unsuitable working conditions. The project’s goals are to improve infrastructure and access to clean water and shelter, all while building a support system through classes on finance, marketing, and water management.

Executive dean for The New School for Public Engagement David Scobey and New School president David Van Zandt announced and presented the awards at a panel and celebration event on Wednesday, March 13. In all, $30,000 was awarded to seven project winners. For more information on the projects of all winners, visit the New Challenge website at

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