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BLAST 2024 Cohort

(Building Leadership Around Sustainable Transformation)

Event Recap


Congratulations to our Building Leadership Around Sustainable Transformation (BLAST) participants and winners! These students are taking action and creating hope, as they work to address pressing environmental problems.

1st Place, Group Projects

Seeds of Hope

Lana Alnajm, Jensen Coonradt, Aarin Bothra


1st Place, Individual Projects

Climate Education for Illinois

Grace Brady


2nd Place, Group Projects

Go Green D203: Recycling Revitalized

Alyssa Hoyt, Olivia Norbut, Michelle Zhao, Annabelle Carlson, Gioia Chillemi, Tristan Fary, Savannah Bramwell, Madelyn Hoyt, Lana Kujawa, Pallavi Umashankar, Natalie Carter, Campbell Metzger, Alyssa Simpson


2nd Place, Individual Projects

Youth Education Garden

Cora Maggin


Runner Up, Group Projects

Marching for a Greener Naperville

Ani Apresyan , Emma Orend


Runner Up, Individual Projects


Alicia Mathew


We celebrated the accomplishments of these and many other amazing students at our very first BLAST ceremony at DuPage Children's Museum, along with our partners from Naperville Environment and Sustainability Task Force.

Check out our online program to read about all the student projects. We've highlighted the winners here, but all of the students were incredible and their work deserves recognition and support.

Thank you to our wonderful judges, Natalie C. Johnson, Ph.D. Reed Perkins John Mlade Saba Haider Bill Schefcik, Andrew Haas, Barb McKittrick Shivani Saikar Dustin Thacker Angela Xu, Esq. , and mentors Cynthia Collins Cieckiewicz Sue Styer, Gonzalo Moran Murali Vaidyanathan Vani Ramesh Timothy Perfitt Jacquelyn Casazza Ben Mjolsness Jane Bodine, LCPC LLC Mimi Cowan Amy Coffman Phillips Beth Schwartz Susan Greenwood, Donna Wandke Justin White Catherine Clarkin . And thank you to the many volunteers who assisted at the event, including Accelerate Climate Solutions board members Marylee Leu Anu Radha Verma Briana Moore Maureen Stillman

It's not too late to support our young environmental leaders through a donation to BLAST. Our BLAST students' work didn't end with the ceremony and Accelerate Climate Solutions is committed to continuing to help and support them through mentorships, internships, and funding. Join us in this positive and uplifting work!

As Jane Goodall says, "There is a lot of darkness, but our actions create the light." Our BLAST students really did shine.


Today’s students are not just sitting around waiting for adults to fix problems like climate change and biodiversity loss. They are getting informed, building skills, and taking action right now. BLAST is helping. The program pairs students with mentors to solve pressing environmental problems. BLAST 2024 culminated in a competition and ceremony at Dupage Children's Museum on April 11.  Check back for updates on projects!

Our Participants:

This year, we have been incredibly fortunate to receive numerous applications from highly motivated students that care deeply about the environment and are demonstrating their passion through their innovative projects that aim to foster sustainable transformation. Over 60 students are expected to be a part of this event, and they come from a number of area schools, including Naperville Central, Waubonsie Valley, Oswego East, and more.




Additionally, these students come from a wide variety of cities including Naperville, Aurora, Oswego, and LaGrange.






Just as diverse as the backgrounds of our students are, the projects they have taken the initiative to start are also very unique and ambitious. For instance, we have projects pertaining to environmental education, sustainable technology, waste reduction, and more.




Stay tuned for more inspiration from our BLAST participants.

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Thank you BLAST Sponsors!

Oak Tree Sponsors


Acorn Sponsors

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Special Thanks To The Dupage Children's Museum For Hosting Blast 2024


- Support our young environmental leaders -

Become a BLAST Sponsor or Donor

It's not too late to support this 2023-2024 cohort of BLAST! Support future environmental leaders and receive recognition for you or your business. 


Donations in any amount are welcome!


Founding Sponsor - $5000

Oak Forest - $2500

Oak Tree - $1000

Sapling - $500

Acorn - $250

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