Grad Student’s Lucky Iron Fish Project Nets Recognition From Clinton

March 23, 2014 - Campus Bulletin

A project headed by a University of Guelph graduate student has been honoured at an event organized by former U.S. president Bill Clinton.

The Lucky Iron Fish Project was among two “Coming in Second” projects recognized at the annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) conference held at Arizona State University March 21 to 23. “Coming in Second” projects involve taking ideas pioneered by others and finding ways to market them to make a difference.

The Lucky Iron Fish project is intended to combat life-threatening anemia in developing countries. U of G student Gavin Armstrong, who is working on a doctorate in biomedical sciences, is commercializing the technology, which was developed by former Guelph graduate student Christopher Charles.

Armstrong was called to the stage during the conference and acknowledged for his efforts by Clinton's daughter, Chelsea.

"I am so overwhelmed," Armstrong says. "Out of more than 500 students from 80 countries, they chose two commitments to recognize on stage, and Lucky Iron Fish was one."

The annual CGIU event was created by Bill Clinton in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on university campuses around the world. It builds on the model of the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders to act on global challenges. More than 1,200 people attended the weekend conference.

The Lucky Iron Fish is a palm-sized chunk of iron that is placed into water that is being sterilized or used to prepare food; boiling adds iron to the food and water. It can help provide about 75 per cent of daily iron requirements and increase the body’s iron stores.

The Lucky Iron Fish Project also netted Armstrong a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship in 2013. He spent the year studying and researching at the University of Auburn’s College of Human Sciences in Auburn, Alabama.

This is the second time Armstrong has been recognized with an honour connected to the former American president. In 2011, he received the President William Jefferson Clinton Hunger Leadership Award for bringing the international Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit to Canada. Armstrong was the first Canadian to receive the award, which recognizes the former president's commitment to humanitarian causes.

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