past event
K-12 Education

The Aspen Challenge: Philadelphia | Competition

After an Opening Forum where Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, chair at the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, Reverend Jeffrey Brown, founder of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace), Komal Ahmad, founder and CEO of Copia, JT Reager, earth scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, and Shari Davis, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Participatory Budgeting Project issued challenges to 160 Philadelphia public high school students, The Aspen Challenge returns to the City of Brotherly Love to see the solutions that students have come up with.

In the eight weeks since challenges were issued, Aspen Challenge Philadelphia teams have come up with innovative solutions that they will present in front of a panel of six judges for the chance to present their work at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, CO this summer. Three teams will earn trips to Aspen.


  • Jamira Burley
  • Greg Corbin, Jr., founder, Philly Youth Poetry Movement; Program Director, Social Justice Leadership Institute for the American Friends Service Committee
  • Donna Frisby-Greenwood, President and CEO, The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia
  • Wayne Kimmel, author of Six Degrees of Wayne Kimmel; Managing Partner, SeventySix Capital
  • Keith Leaphart, Brand Manager, Replica
  • Siobhan Reardon, President and Director, Free Library of Philadelphia


  • Angela Duckworth, professor of psychology, University of Pennsylvania; 2013 MacArthur Fellow; founder and Scientific Director, Character Lab
  • William R. Hite, Superintendent, The School District of Philadelphia
  • Jim Kenney, 99th Mayor of Philadelphia
  • M. Night Shyamalan, screenwriter, director, and producer
  • Rajiv Vinnakota, Executive Vice President, The Aspen Institute’s Youth & Engagement Programs
Event information
Wed Mar 29, 2017
7:30am - 6:00pm EDT
Ballrom at the Ben
Philadelphia, PA