What’s New?

  • 2010-2011 New Project Leaders!

    It has been an extremely exciting year for SIFE so far and we are proud to announce the SIFE Project...More

  • 2010-2011 Project Leader Applications and Interviews

    Each year, a new group of Carnegie Mellon students serve as Project Leaders of a SIFE project. Your major and...More

Latest News

2010-2011 New Project Leaders!

It has been an extremely exciting year for SIFE so far and we are proud to announce the SIFE Project Leaders for 2010-2011.

Eco-Market: Amy Yuan, Lindsay Kelly

FEW: AJ Shin, Neha Kapoor

Global Economy: Ela Kulkarni, Vaidehi Tata

Global Threads: Stefanie Chan, Alice Jun

Personal Finance: Julia Teitelbaum, Laethitia Patadji

Project Panama: Yong-Gyun Choi, Jennifer Martinez 

Project Pulse: Melanie Wilson, Kathryn Fowler

Project Nicaragua: Rohith Salim, Alexander Dheming

We would also like to welcome 3 new, innovative projects as well as an additional Business Advisory Board liaison to the SIFE Family:

HelpCare: Madhav Shroff, Jayaram Reddy

Healthy Lifestyle Initiative: Jay Shi, Mike Purowitz

Microfinance: Soham Sengupta

BAB: Eric Fang


As always, thank you for your continued support and interest. It's going to be an amazing year.

Last Update: 10/06/2010
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2010-2011 Project Leader Applications and Interviews

Each year, a new group of Carnegie Mellon students serve as Project Leaders of a SIFE project. Your major and graduation year are far less important than your ambition and interest in a project so if you are interested in developing your leadership abilities, you should consider applying. If selected, you will be given a co-Project Leader.

This year, we are looking for Project Leaders for:
Future Entrepreneurs of the World (FEW)
Personal Finance
Global Economy
Global Threads
Project Pulse

Below is a link to the Project Leader application - it's just a short, simple questionnaire. We also request that you attach your resume in the application document as well. Submission directions are on the application. After you submit your application, we will contact you with an interview time slot. Interviews are mandatory and will be about 15 minutes.

Browse around this website to learn more about the organization and the projects. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email our Vice President, Mia Wang at [email protected]

Good luck and we look forward to meeting you! We promise that SIFE will be nothing short of one of the most rewarding experiences you will have at Carnegie Mellon.

Applications are due by 10pm on Friday, September 17th and interviews will be on Sunday, September 19th.

Apply Here

To apply to create a new project, apply here

Last Update: 09/12/2010
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CMU SIFE 2010 Annual Report

2009-10 has been an amazing year for the Carnegie Mellon University SIFE team.  From being nominated as 3 topic competition finalists, to winning reginals and moving on to nationals, CMU SIFE continues its decade-long legacy of success. 

With the continued growth of our projects and establishing new initiatives, it is difficult to keep up with all we have done over the past year.  That is why we create an annual report.  The 2010 Annual Report was created for the Philadelphia regional competition by the Design team with help from all Executive Board members and Project Leaders. 

You can download a copy of our 2010 annual report here

Last Update: 04/22/2010
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Recent Filming of Project Pulse!

On March 30th, four members from Project Pulse, along with author Terra Koerpel of the book series ShowSmarts, took part in a 45-minute filming of the show "In Touch with Small Business" on Pittsburgh Community Television (PCTV). PCTV strives to offer an outlet for local non-profit agencies to publicize their platforms or produce their own shows connected to their initiatives.

Carl Knoblock of the Small Business Administration asked the group insightful questions such as how Project Pulse began, what the project did for Terra, and the different obstacles we ran into. More importantly, Terra was able to voice her story to the community, emphasizing the importance of keeping the performing arts in schools and the valuable learning experiences students receive from their involvement in the performing arts. This was the perfect conclusion to the year's project, as every was able to reflect on the last couple of months of working with Terra and her book. She has been such a joy to work with, and we are excited to see what she has in store for her second book of the ShowSmarts series. Everyone involved had an informative experience, learning about the filming and media processes.

Be sure to watch the show to see how we answered these questions and to hear more about Terra's initiative!

Last Update: 04/07/2010
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SIFE 2009 - 2010

Dear Eboard, Project Leaders, Business Advisory Board members and all SIFE members,

First of all, I want to thank EVERYONE for their contribution and dedication to SIFE this year and making it so successful.

As a result of everyone's hard work, we were able to win in our league at Regionals in Philadelphia, as well as 3 Topic Competition Awards for Business Ethics, International Success Skills, and Financial Literacy. 

Now, we only hope to succeed at SIFE Nationals, which will occur May 11 - 13 in Minneapolis.  I strongly believe that with our strong presentation team, we will be able to advance far in the competition this year.

Last week, we were able to hold elections for the Executive Board of the 2010 - 2011 academic year. With that said, I am more than proud to announce the board.  Each and every member on the board has contributed so much to SIFE already, and I am excited to see the legacy that they will leave.

President: Jamie Yieh
Vice President: Mia Wang
Treasurer: Risa Shen
Secretary: Richard Kucera
Public Relations: Jennie Tang
BAB Liaison: Eliot Knudsen
Project Initiatives: Rekha Toshok
Design: Tommy Hoffman
IT Co-chairs: Vince Ye and Hayden Tang

Lastly, I want to thank you all for allowing me to serve as President for our cause, this year has been an amazing process. We have grown so much as an organization and I am so happy to have been able to work with you all.

Again, thank you for your dedication and support.  Congrats new Eboard! 


Scarlett Su

Last Update: 04/05/2010
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Project Nicaragua Recap

Project Nicaragua was a great success! During our Spring Break:March 5- March 12, we traveled to Siuna, Nicaragua to work in the town of Amparo. In this town, there was no electricity or running water but it was obvious that the lack of light did not dim their spirits. While in Amparo, we participated in a number of initiatives, including building stoves with the hopes of decreasing respiratory issues amongst the Nicaraguan families and to decrease their future utilization of wood. 

In an attempt to improve upon sanitation, we built a latrine in the village and we also planted 400 trees to conserve a local water supply. We saw the development and growth of relationships with the community through our nightly "reflections" and even got the opportunity to play baseball with some of the locals! It was quite an enriching experience. 

Furthermore, we helped to clean the area that held the cacao plantation, which will aid in the growth and eventual exportation of the crop. Also, and very importantly, we held art workshops at the local school in order to give the children an alternate means of expression and in order to build trust amongst the schoolchildren. They were very appreciative of the work that we had done and thanked us thoroughly. As a group, we also learned tremendously from this experience and look forward to working with the community in the future. We would like to give special thanks to all of our supporters and are extremely thankful for the culturally enriching experience!

Last Update: 04/02/2010
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Project Spotlight: Global Threads

In its fifth year, Global Threads continues to help struggling artisans in rural areas across the world to gain market accessibility and to establish more sustainable businesses, while raising awareness for fair trade. Each year, the project has improved and found more ways to establish a sustainable connection between artisans and businesses, through showcasing and selling the artisans’ work. This year, we have formed partnerships with 5 fair trade organizations - Global Goods Partners, Global Sistergoods, Mercado Global, Ten Thousand Villages, and Partners for Just Trade. Our goals for the year is to educate individuals about the importance of fair trade, and to encourage them to make future purchases through these fair trade organizations, who will give the money back to the underprivileged artisans.  

On February 2, 2010, Global Threads held an International Silent Auction, which features the artisans’ goods, provided by our fair trade partners. This annual auction has grown considerably over 5 years, with higher attendances and more fair trade partners. The auction is opened to all Carnegie Mellon’s students and faculty members, as well as the entire Pittsburgh community. We have successfully raised over $2,000 through our silent auction, fundraisers, and other fair trade awareness events thus far. All the proceeds will be going to our 5 fair trade partners who will give the money back to the artisans. 

Furthermore, Global Threads has developed a blog (http://www.cmusife.org/globalthreads/wp/), which serves as a sustainable outlet intended for anyone interested in learning about worldwide artisans, fair trade organizations, and how to support fair trade. More upcoming showcases of goods and fundraisers will be held for the rest of the school year. We look forward to continue to make an impact on the lives of others and to educate our community about fair trade principles.

Last Update: 02/22/2010
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SIFE Competition Updates

Carnegie Mellon SIFE is getting ready for competition! Topic competition documents have been submitted, the first draft of the speech has been written, and rehearsals are well underway. This year the SIFE presenters include sophomore Suraj Baxi, junior Luke Droulez, sophomore Risa Shen, freshman Rekha Toshok, and senior Vidur Singhal; all past or present members of CMU SIFE. This year, the presentation chairs Ariel Solomon and Sasha Urquidi will be building upon the theme “Blueprints for Sustainability” which will show the true growth and sustainable nature of each of our projects for the SIFE competition.


We will also be receiving faculty support from Professor Kirkpatrick, Professor Hajduck, and Professor Hitch. If anyone is interested in helping out with the SIFE presentation please contact Ariel Solomon at [email protected] or Sasha Urquidi at [email protected]. We are looking for writers, editors, organizers, or people who just want to get involved. Wish us luck!

Last Update: 02/21/2010
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Project Nicaragua on the Tartan

Project Nicaragua featured on the Tartan click here to read the article

Last Update: 02/13/2010
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Carnegie Mellon SIFE would like to introduce you to http://www.showsmarts.biz/, the volunteers guide for setting up shows with kids by book author Terra Koerpel. The website was created by Project Pulse and is hosted by CMU SIFE IT.

"ShowSmarts makes the process of putting on a show much easier than it seems, with results more successful than imagined!"

Last Update: 02/02/2010
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Let's Get Ready for Competition!

To our Business Advisory Board,

As we begin this new semester, our chapter will now begin focusing on preparing for our annual SIFE Regional and National Competitions.  Throughout our history as a chapter, we have developed a record of success.  In our first year, we came in as ‘Rookie of the Year’ in the SIFE National Competition, and in the past nine years of our chapter’s history, we have taken first place at the SIFE Regional Competition seven times.  We have also advanced as far as ‘Second Place Runner Up’ in our division for SIFE National Competition, and won numerous Topic Competition Awards for our projects.

This year, we plan to continue this tradition of success.  Each and every project has found new initiatives to expand and strengthen its sustainability.  We only expect another year of great success when we showcase our projects in this coming competition.

In order to achieve another successful year, we would like to request some help from you.  As we continue to prepare, we would gladly appreciate any advice or critique along our journey so that we can improve.  Thus, if you would like to be involved with our preparation please do feel free to contact our Board, and we would gladly appreciate your support.

We will give more updates moving forward. Thank you so much for the help and support that you have given already, we cannot be more appreciative.


Scarlett Su

President CMU SIFE

Last Update: 01/18/2010
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Panama Brigades

CMU SIFE’s Panama Brigades offers the opportunity for students to apply their education in solving real world problems while enabling underprivileged communities to achieve their goals. The team comprises of students from diverse ethnic and educational backgrounds and each of them brings a different perspective to the project.

The brigade believes that they will be able to enrich the lives of the community members and those of the students involved by bridging cultures and encouraging global citizenship. We hope that this endeavor will lead to the personal and professional development of all students involved.

This project was created with the aspiration to become a significant part of the Carnegie Mellon community, and send groups of students to Central and South America on frequent service trips to develop and implement 2 - 4 year sustainable projects.

The long-term plan of the Panama Brigades is to develop sustainable Agritourism--a style of vacation that takes place on a farm and encourages tourists to participate in farm activities--on the Trapiche farm while also creating an Agritourism cooperative in the rural region of El Cope. Their goals include implementing a Business Plan and timeline to start agritourism on the farm; developing and implementing a Marketing Plan for the cooperative; connecting with the local tourism industry; monitoring progress to ensure sustainability; and ultimately generating a new source of income for the farm and the community.

The eagerness of the Granja Trapiche community coupled with its optimal location of the farm and the motivation of all stakeholders - our partners in Panama and our team - indicate great potential for the project. Through consistent communication, a developed system of monitoring progress and frequent trips to the region, the team aims to ensure the sustainability of the project.

Last Update: 01/18/2010
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Project Spotlight: Personal Finance

    Personal Finance’s priority for 2009-2010 is to create sustainable initiatives that improve the financial literacy of the Pittsburgh and the global community. In the fall semester, Personal Finance focused on planning events, building relationships with faculty and staff, and educating its members on the topics that we will be teaching. Multiple events are being planned with counsel from or run in conjunction with other organizations and individuals, generally Carnegie Mellon affiliated. Accuracy and applicability of content were emphasized to our members and we ensured such through quizzes and asking our members to select, research, and present 3 topics from a given list of pertinent subject areas. Weekly meetings were held with consistent member attendance. 

      In its tenth year of operation, we are looking to educate people of a spectrum of ages and backgrounds. Members of Personal Finance will be teaching two courses for C-MITES (Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary and Secondary Students) titled Dollars and Sense in 2010 and Investment Decisions for 5th-6th graders and 7th-9th graders, respectively. Personal Finance is also completing the process of planning multiple workshops or guidebooks on money management for an audience including but not limited to Pittsburgh teenagers through local high schools, the Carnegie Mellon student body through the Office of International Education and Orientation & First-Year Programs, and a small village in Ecuador through CMU’s Engineers Without Borders. 

      The majority of our work and presentations will be related to budgeting, general financial planning, checking, debit, credit, savings, loans, consequences of poor financial decisions, investing, banking, the current credit crisis, and miscellaneous topics such as taxes and insurance. Most of our interaction with the BAB thus far has been in trying to find outer organizations or schools that we can hold workshops with. If more audiences can be found, Personal Finance would be open to coordinating an event.  

      By adhering to a substantial timeline, communicating with and emphasizing the value of the relationships built with schools, business leaders, faculty, and staff, having a reliable body of members, and dedicating this year to the stabilization and growth of Personal Finance, immense impact can be made this year.

Last Update: 01/18/2010
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Terra Koerpel & the progress of ShowSmarts

Project Pulse is currently working in many different directions for Terra Koerpel, the author of ShowSmarts. For the past two months, members have helped her shape a persuasive elevator pitch, plan and build a unique and vibrant press kit, and launch her first blog aiming to spotlight any news on the performing arts within the local community.

We are so excited to see what this semester has in store for us and especially, Terra!




A little sneak peek at what is to come: ShowSmarts 2 and Terra on television.

Last Update: 01/18/2010
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Project Nicaragua 2010

      Project Nicaragua is making great progress! The goal of the project is to initiate a series of sustainable projects that will improve the lives of the farming community of Siuna, Nicaragua, while developing long-lasting relationships. These initiatives include: bringing filters to provide clean drinking water for the citizens, an art initiative for the children, and a cacao cooperative to help the local farms become fair trade certified while simultaneously promoting environmental education classes. So far, the project members have raised over $10,000 towards their initiatives through fundraising, grants, and several generous donations.

     The next step for the project is to purchase plane tickets to Nicaragua this month- which may cost up to $7,000. The project is still in need of funding and all contributions, big or small, are welcome. For more information please contact the project leaders Angel Gonzalez- [email protected] and Marlen Amaro- [email protected].  Project Nicaragua will be launching a website in the coming weeks.

Last Update: 01/16/2010
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First Business Advisory Board Meeting

    On October 30, 2009, we welcomed our Business Advisory Board to our first dinner meeting held at the University Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Nine members, Abby Houck, Joseph Mertz, David Betts, Andy Douglass, Carl Knoblock, John Hooker, Claudia Kirkpatrick, Tony Stanton, and Lauren Silverstin, were able to attend while another nine were unable to for various reasons. The meeting started with an introduction of our organization and a presentation by Tony Wang, the Business Advisory Board liaison, and Scarlett Su, the President, of Carnegie Mellon's chapter of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). After this presentation, the Business Advisory Board members discussed possible ways in which they could help using their many different talents and skills. Some of the ideas that came up were: helping SIFE members "get in the door" to local high schools or organizations through contacts, providing advice, support and ideas to all members, giving feedback on presentations, helping to show a demonstrated value in the projects, using connections to broaden the Business Advisory board, accessing media outlets to bring about awareness, and finally, to provide continuity for CMU SIFE's organization.
    Going forward, we are continually stressing active involvement between our student leaders and the Business Advisory Board. This great interaction can truly make the difference between a semi-successful project to a largely successful one. In the future, we also want to stress the importance of creating tangible products and measurable results for our projects to help in our national competition. Our projects are also very varied in the six pillars they strive to fulfill, and we must show their cross-functionality and the wide range of audience that they hope to help. Hopefully we can improve upon practices from the previous year and truly engage our Business Advisory Board in the coming year.

Last Update: 12/03/2009
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Message from the President

Welcome to the Carnegie Mellon SIFE Advisory Board Newsletter! 

This publication is put together by the Executive Board Members of our chapter.  We aim to release this newsletter monthly in order for you to become better informed and engaged in with the activities of our ever-expanding projects.   CMU SIFE expands and grows significantly year to year.  We hope that through this newsletter you will be able to witness first-hand the progress and strides that we make throughout the year.

We want to thank you for expressing the interest be a part of our Business Advisory Board.  This is a truly exciting time for us, and we are grateful that you are able to take time out of your busy schedules to support us with your expertise and insight.  Thank you for your unselfish enthusiasm and your efforts in joining us to change the world!  Also, look out for notifications on future Business Advisory Board events.


Scarlett Su

CMU SIFE President

Last Update: 12/02/2009
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The new and expanded Project YWCA

From the start of Project YWCA seven years ago, the newly named Concept to Company (C2C) continues to promote a close-knit relationship between Carnegie Mellon University students and aspiring female entrepreneurs enrolled in the YWCA Enterprising Women class of Downtown Pittsburgh. The students involved have the opportunity to expand the entrepreneur’s learning possibilities by ensuring each woman understands the class material and is able to apply the information to their business idea. Additionally, each student is able to keep in close contact with the women they interact with and monitor her progress even after the ten-week program has ended.

Last year, C2C encountered an amazing opportunity for expansion after coordinating the first Micro-enterprise Symposium on February 28, 2009. Hosting sixty-one attendees, Carnegie Mellon University and SIFE were able to show their strong support for the community’s underprivileged and underfunded entrepreneurs. Students’ involvement within this event included self-designed and self-presented workshops.  For example, one group presented an interactive, step-by-step workshop that shared helpful hints about Google advertising.

The expectations of C2C by the Pittsburgh community became overwhelming after this successful event. As a result, SIFE defined a new initiative and project: Project Pulse. Both C2C and Project Pulse involve interaction with local small businesses. However, the defining difference is the stage at which entrepreneurs are in when SIFE decides to offer assistance. For C2C, students are able to advise women entrepreneurs from the YWCA Enterprising Women class on their business idea and assist in the creation of a business plan. For Project Pulse, students closely form bonds with entrepreneurs from greater Pittsburgh in hopes of improving a business that has already designed and is currently producing a product or service.

Currently, Project Pulse is working with two entrepreneurs: a self-published author and a non-profit collector and re-manufacturer of used computer systems.

Last Update: 11/30/2009
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Project FEW

Project FEW- Future Entrepreneurs of the World


Project Future Entrepreneurs of the World, FEW, is an integral part of SIFE, aiming to inspire entrepreneurship on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus and at high schools in Pittsburgh. Entrepreneurship is a very important aspect of business that is often overlooked. The United States has historically understood the importance of fostering entrepreneurship. Yet with this great success, a corporate world was born. Today, being an entrepreneur is often an ignored option; it seems infeasible to our generation.


Project FEW first breaks this mold by holding a case competition on Carnegie Mellon's campus. Groups of students come up with business ideas and then pitch these ideas to a panel of business faculty. The winning team is then given support both in start up costs and mentorship.  In prior years this competition, formally Project Build Your Own Business, has had great success inspiring innovation amongst the student body. But Carnegie Mellon makes up only a small portion of the Pittsburgh student population.


With numerous high schools in the Pittsburgh community, project FEW takes the idea of spreading entrepreneurship a step further. This portion of FEW, formally known as Future Entrepreneurs, has grown due to influences from entrepreneurship classes at Carnegie Mellon. To further inspire high school students, we are giving each school’s students participating in FEW a start up budget for any business they would like to take on. After being given a lecture on basic entrepreneurship advice, the students will be free to start a business in their local community or school of their choosing. After three months, each school’s group will come to Carnegie Mellon to present their projects and a winning team will be chosen.


As mentioned above, these two goals of Project FEW in previous years were realized by two different projects. By incorporating them into one, we hope this year to synergize the resources each project brought to the table. Look for project FEW in the coming weeks both in fundraising and marketing the idea competition on CMU’s campus. We will be selling scarves and food as well as registering people interested in participating in the competition set to be held January 29th, 2010 (Registration deadline is January 14th, 2010). 


-Richard Kucera, Project Leader: FEW

Last Update: 11/19/2009
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GE News Update

Global Economy held two workshops on November 12th at Sacred Heart elementary school. We successfully taught more than 120 4th and 6th grade students about international economics. The students and teachers loved the interactive presentation and our project members' enthusiasm for teaching. We are looking forward to the next workshop on Friday at the Falk school.

Last Update: 11/17/2009
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Global Economy Workshop

Global Economy is hosting two workshops on Thursday Nov 12th to elementary school students on Currency Exchange and International Trade and Globalization. For the people going to the workshop on Thursday meet at the UC Turnaround at 8:15 am! 

Last Update: 11/17/2009
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Project Panama Website

Project Panama has a new website! Check out #

Last Update: 11/11/2009
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First meeting with the YWCA women!

Congratulations to the YWCA members on an extremely successful first meeting with the women in the YWCA course! This Tuesday (11/10), five of our members attended one of the YWCA Introductory Entrepreneurship classes at CCAC. The women were eager to meet us and tell us about their business ideas. We got to know their background and motivation for their businesses as well as the progress they have made in their business plan thus far and the components they are stuck on. The members really adapted to their position as coaches - while we will help the women with the content of their business plans, our main job is to motivate the women to get their business plans completed and open shop!

For the remainder of the semester, we plan on attending the YWCA course on Tuesdays and the lab session for the course on Wednesdays. We hope to keep project members paired with the same women at each session so that we can follow each woman's progress.

Finally, we'll be attending the women's graduation ceremony on January 12th!

Last Update: 11/10/2009
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Business Advisory Board Reception

We held our first Business Advisory Board on Friday, October 31st 2009.

Last Update: 11/07/2009
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Welcome to the News Section!

Please check back for updates!

Last Update: 11/06/2009
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