The Cotto Changemaker Challenge


The Cotto Changemaker Challenge honors Emerita Vice President of Lifelong Learning Marguerite Cotto. This $2,000 prize is intended to inspire student teams to explore interdisciplinary solutions to challenges facing our region.

Any team of three or more NMC students may submit and present their work for consideration. Students may form teams on their own, or teams may arise from existing course projects. Several NMC faculty instructors have aligned course assignments to fulfill most of the prize criteria. Projects may begin as team efforts, but student teams may also come together to synthesize and extend work that began as individual projects on a shared topic or problem.

In order to be eligible for the prize, student teams must fulfill the criteria below. Submissions will be judged and the winning team selected based on teams’ presentations of their work at the May 2024 Experiential Learning Symposium. The winning team will receive $2,000 in unrestricted funds to be divided equally and used to further their education however they see fit at NMC or beyond.

Submission Criteria

  • Minimum of three students per team
  • Qualifying projects must represent work completed in the 2023–2024 academic year
  • Teams identify and research a problem with local relevance
  • Teams identify stakeholders related to their chosen problem, and gather input from these stakeholders (interviews or surveys)
  • Teams develop or adapt a proposed solution to the problem they’ve identified
  • Teams consider perspectives and approaches across multiple disciplines (could involve recruiting team members from different areas of study, or could be evident in the range of sources cited in the team’s bibliography from the research phase)
  • Teams draw on both quantitative and qualitative evidence (research phase) to inform their understanding of the problem and their proposed solution
  • Teams present their project (problem, solution, and reflection on their learning throughout the process) at the May Experiential Learning Symposium


Use this form to register a team to participate in the Cotto Changemaker Challenge. Final submitted work won't be due until April 15, 2024 but registering now holds your presentation slot at NMC's May 2024 Experiential Learning Symposium, and connects you to the organizers so we can offer you support and answer any questions you may have.


If you have questions about the Cotto Changemaker Challenge, or want to learn more about taking part (in either a student or faculty role), please contact the library at