Aspen Challenge Returns to Miami, Empowering Students to Drive Change in their Communities

February 18, 2022

Nineteen Student Teams from Miami-Dade County Public Schools to Lead Projects to Deliver Solutions to Critical Local Issues

Contact: Jon Purves
Associate Director, Media Relations
The Aspen Institute


Miami, FL, February 18, 2022 – The Aspen Challenge, a program of the Aspen Institute founded with the Bezos Family Foundation, is bringing back in-person events and programming for nineteen high schools across Miami. In partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), Aspen Challenge 2022 will kick off with a daylong youth leadership development forum on Thursday, February 24. Teams of students and educators from 19 high schools from M-DCPS will hear from leaders pioneering change to current pressing issues.

Expert Challengers include Diana Chao, presenting on mental health, Ken Furton, presenting on designing the school of the 21st century, Joe Zubi, presenting on poverty alleviation, Marsha Frith, presenting on cyberbullying, and Yoca Arditi-Rocha, presenting on the environment. Each Challenger is charged to deliver a fifteen-minute pitch outlining their topic which culminates in a direct call-to-action for the young people to solve. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava will also address students about the importance of civic engagement and being active members of one’s community.

After the Challenge Forum on February 24, teams have eight weeks to create innovative solutions to the challenges, implementing their projects in their chosen communities. On April 21, teams will reconvene to present their solutions to a panel of judges during the program-culminating in-person Solution Showcase. One winning team will be chosen as the Grand Prize winner of Aspen Challenge: Miami 2022 and will be flown to Aspen, Colorado, to present their community solution at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June. Other awards will include scholarships, technology, and other items to be announced.

“Aspen Challenge is thrilled and honored to be back in Miami surrounded by a cohort of incredible young changemakers for year two of the program,” Katie Fitzgerald, Managing Director of the Aspen Challenge said. “We were blown away by the virtual projects that the young people at M-DCPS implemented in their communities last year, and we cannot wait to see 19 more mini-revolutions led by Miami’s youth now that we are back to in-person events.”

”Our school district is proud to partner with the Aspen Institute and the Bezos Family Foundation to implement the Aspen Challenge,” Dr. Jose L. Dotres, Superintendent of M-DCPS stated. “Providing students with opportunities to elevate their voices and help address some of the most complex issues in our society makes their learning more relevant. What they learn through the Challenge will help them succeed in college, career, and life.”

The Aspen Challenge: Miami Challenge Forum will take place on Thursday, February 24 during the event at Miami-Dade College. Throughout the all-day event, 19 teams—which consist of eight students and two teachers who act as coaches—will hear from a wide range of leaders. The five challenges being presented were chosen after the Aspen Institute hosted two focus groups of high school students enrolled in M-DCPS where young people spoke of the issues they feel are most pertinent to their everyday lives. For complete information on the event, including the day’s agenda, please visit

Participating Schools

  • American Senior High School
  • Barbara Goleman Senior High School
  • BioTECH @ Richmond Heights High School
  • Booker T. Washington Senior High School
  • Coral Gables Senior High School
  • Cutler Bay Senior High School
  • Michael M. Krop Senior High School
  • Felix Varela Senior High School
  • Hialeah Gardens High School
  • C. Bermudez Doral Senior High School
  • Jan Mann Education Center
  • Miami Beach Senior High School
  • Miami Carol City Senior High School
  • Miami Killian Senior High School
  • Miami Northwestern Senior High School
  • Miami Sunset Senior High School
  • School for Advanced Studies- North
  • South Dade Senior High School
  • South Miami Senior High School

The inaugural Aspen Challenge launched in collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2013. Since its inception, the Challenge has expanded to include partnerships with school districts in Denver, Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Louisville, Miami, and New Orleans.

Aspen Challenge: Miami is among several Aspen Institute initiatives underway in Miami-Dade to amplify new voices and future leaders. Aspen Ideas: Climate, a major new public event organized by the Aspen Institute and the City of Miami Beach, is set to take place May 9-12 to identify global and local solutions to the climate crisis. During Aspen Ideas: Climate, 100 young adults from around the U.S. will participate in the Future Leaders Climate Summit. The 2023 cohort of the Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship, which supports a cadre of diverse youth committed to addressing the most compelling social, political, and scientific issues facing their communities, will also be located in Miami.

For more information on Aspen Challenge: Miami Challenge Forum or to attend the development forum as a covering member of the media, please contact Jon Purves:


The Aspen Challenge provides inspiration, tools, and a platform for young people to design solutions to some of the most critical problems humanity faces.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is the nation’s fourth largest school system with nearly 400 schools and a diverse enrollment of nearly 350,000 students from over 160 countries. Our ongoing tradition of groundbreaking achievement has earned top recognition at the national and international levels. M-DCPS also recently reached a landmark graduation rate thatexceeds 90 percent. For five decades, M-DCPS has been a leader in school choice, now offering more than 1,000 cutting-edge, award-winning programs designed to prepare students for 21st century learning in the age of innovation and technology. Students and their families play an active role in choosing educational opportunities that foster academic excellence, school-to-career pathways and real-world learning.

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