Fordham University junior Bianca Rodrigues was recognized by IBM for her contributions to the 2009 Smarter Planet University Jam.

The event, a massive brainstorming session in which students and faculty from nearly 200 universities in 40 countries came together to think about ways to promote a smarter planet, took place online for 72 hours this past summer.

A political science major at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, Rodrigues was among an exclusive group of 20 student award recipients from a pool of nearly 2,000 “jammers.”

“IBM experts and leaders from the Jam sifted through the more than 2,700 posts on topics including smarter planet skills & education, smart water management and green planet, smarter healthcare, smart grid and smart cities,” said Michelle Morrison, an IBM spokeswoman. “We identified Bianca as a jammer with high quality, progressive insights and a clear passion for making our planet smarter.”

Rodrigues said she enjoyed the experience.

“The University Jam was one of the most innovative ways I have seen that we can all contribute to issues pertinent to modern society,” Rodrigues said.

According to polls conducted by IBM, “jammers” were very enthusiastic about creating a smarter planet and were optimistic about the future. Nine out of 10 students believe 100 miles per gallon cars will be the norm by 2025, and 64 percent of believe that the world has a chance to reverse carbon emissions by 2025, according to the polls.

“Jammers” also came up with hundreds of progressive insights and innovations on topics like the skills students need to be competitive in the globally integrated economy, environmental protection, fostering pollution-free and inexpensive energy and improving healthcare.

IBM is planning to create a student advisory council in order to continue the dialogue with students on Smarter Planet topics, Morrison said. Rodrigues was invited to join this student advisory council, and she has accepted the invitation going forward.

For more information on the Smarter Planet University Jam,


Gina Vergel is Senior Director of Communications. She oversees the digital news coverage, public relations, and social media for the university. Before joining Fordham in 2007, Gina worked as a reporter for the Home News Tribune, and The Ridgewood News, where she won Society of Professional Journalist (New Jersey chapter) awards for breaking news and feature writing, respectively. She can be reached at [email protected] or (646) 579-9957.