COMPETITION YEAR:2013AGHAST seeks to collaboratively design and implement a sanitation project in Taha Village, Tamale, Ghana. AGHAST’s objective during the summer of 2013 is to build 10 toilets for a school in Taha.
COMPETITION YEAR:2013Providing employment opportunities for both uneducated and educated challenged people through eco friendly paper product manufacturing Industry and employability skill training program.
Career counseling is a critical component of preparing high school students for university studies. Schools in developing countries do not have the resources to employ career counselors. Pakistan is an example of a resource-constrained developing country that has limited career counseling resources available to high school students.
To investigate how students in Pakistan make career decisions, we surveyed 450 university students across Pakistan.Only 14% of university students at the four leading universities reported having adequate information when deciding their career paths.Furthermore, we surveyed 614 high school students from three schools serving very different socioeconomic segments of the society.More than 80% of high school students surveyed were interested in pursuing a very narrow set of career paths limited to engineering, business, or medicine. This again is a consequence of under-informed decisions and a “herd” mentality, rather than a creative and exploratory approach.
The goal ofMashvarahis todemocratize career advice: every student that needs advice will have access to a career advisor. The web-based platform envisions bringing together a comprehensive set of advisors, including university students, university faculty, working professionals, and professional career advisors. We believe this will lead to more informed career choices, ultimately creating a more vibrant and intellectually diverse workforce.
Proof of concept by providing career counseling to 500 high school students in Lahore, Pakistan
Who We Are
Sohail Feroz Ali, Co-Founder, is from Pakistan and brings extensive first-hand knowledge of the education system in Pakistan. Since November 2012, Sohail has been surveying schools and universities in Pakistan to assess and analyze the unmet career counseling needs of high school students. Sohail will work full-time forMashvarahin Pakistan and will serve asMashavrah’sprimary liaison with university collaborators, target schools and advisors. Sohail holds MS and MS-CEP degrees in Chemical Engineering from MIT and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech.
Amrit Jalan, Co-Founder, takes an active interest in education policy and practice especially in enabling access to quality education for underprivileged children. In his spare time, Amrit volunteers with EGE Global Education developing services for Indian students aspiring to study abroad. As part ofMashvarah, he brings an understanding of the challenges faced by students in educational institutions and strategies to maximize their potential. Amrit is pursuing a doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering from MIT.
Deepak Dugar, Platform Development, brings an operational background in imparting technical education in India, and will work on the platform growth aspects ofMashvarah. He currently sits on the board of an educational society that runs diverse programs and graduates more than 5000 students annually. Deepak is pursuing his MBA from MIT Sloan and PhD-CEP from MIT, and holds MS-CEP in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and M.Tech and B.Tech in Biochemical Engineering from IIT Delhi.
Sreeja Nag, Portal Development, brings experience in online education technology development and will work on the web portal development forMashvarah. She has worked as the student lead of the SPHERES Zero Robotics program, which allows high school and middle school students to program satellites onboard the International Space Station. She has interned at Selco India Ltd. to apply IDEO's Human Centric Design to design solar powered battery chargers in rural Indian schools with the dual intent of encouraging students to attend school to charge their electric lamps and preventing health problems associated with the commonly used kerosene lamps. The internship, funded by MIT's PSC, gave her the opportunity to conduct several weeks of fieldwork in rural schools and understand the educational culture. Sreeja is pursuing a doctorate degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT after completing an SM in the same. She also has an SM in Technology and Policy from MIT.
Problem:Rural areas in Madhya Pradesh, India reported 92% increase in easily preventable water borne diseases. Unfortunately these areas have no provision for clean drinking water.
ContextSAMPERK has identified two needs that are complimentary and will fulfill each other: Students who have to do school projects for credits and local community in need of drinking water. Thus, SAMPERK not only satisfies both the needs but also integrates classroom education with solving societal problems. This will bring in behavioral changes in the mindset of students and also in turn the society.
From Children comes the change
SAMPERK is a self-sustained customized rural development plan included in school curriculum as projects and implemented by students. In this particular case students will develop a domestic filtration unit in classroom and install them in rural areas of Madhya Pradesh.
Local impact: Provide safe drinking water to 1200 people in Madhya Pradesh,India by installation of cost-effective domestic water filtration units. Nation wide impact: Implement the plan in 1100 schools thereby helping in development of 220,000 villages.
We are two enthusiastic and self-motivated individuals who want to bring a sustainable change in the society. We believe that the solutions of socio-economic challenges faced by developing countries like India cannot follow the traditional approach where the boundaries are defined by ease or popularity. Instead, the problem has to be addressed in a way to bring change in the mindset of individuals.
Neha Mehta– Neha is a native of India and belongs to Rajasthan state. She has familiarity with the Indian social and political conditions which are valuable assets for the progress of our project. It also provides us an edge to connect more effectively to local organizations and community by talking fluently in their native language. She completed her undergraduate degree from premier institute of India- IIT Roorkee in Paper Chemistry. After completing her undergraduate, she joined University of California Berkeley to pursue masters in Chemical Engineering. Before joining MIT, for a second masters in Technology and Policy she worked in the field of water purification at Porifera nano Inc, CA. Given the nature of our project, her expertise in water purification and treatment technologies and ability to understand and deal with policy frameworks will be a great value addition to our team.
Swarna Pandian, Ph.D– Swarna was born and brought up in India. After earning her masters in Genomics from Madurai Kamaraj University she pursued her Ph.D in Neuroscience in a joint program offered by MIT and Portugal. Currently she is a postdoctoral Associate in McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. She brings a unique skill set to the project since she spent her early childhood near Shivpuri district (Where Samperk is introducing its pilot project) she is well aware of the local social system there. She is also fluent in many Indian local languages, which will be a big asset when dealing with local population. She did her schooling in different Kendriya Vidyalayas (Target school for Samperk) across India and have good understanding of how the school system and curriculum works. Apart from that her summer internship at University of Oxford has created within her a profound interest in Autism Behavior Analysis, which is one of the venues Samperk will pursue in parallel in its upcoming years
Our Community Partner
Sambhav Social Service Organization
Madhya Pradesh, India
Sambhav Social Service Organization is a voluntary agency working in the areas of rural and urban development, child education and women empowerment through advocacy, direct program interventions and capacity building of the community to access the benefits of State Programs. Sambhav has a deeply rooted goal to bring about a change in the lives of deprived communities through peoples organization and capacity building. It has been actively involved in the organizing Sahariya Tribal communities to assert their rights of equality, Health, food and secured livelihood and a respectful place in the society.
At Start!, we believe that education should be an intellectual adventure driven by big questions. As children across the globe begin to access online educational resources, we believe that providing an inspirational spark and a supportive network will allow them to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. Start! aims to provide the inspiration to enable children to believe in their ideas, and to learn the power that can come from working with others.
Over the past several months, Start! has established connections with several community supporters in order to implement and advance our mission: matching students with mentors as they set out to change their communities and the world. Our three primary community partners are MIT’sEyewire project;Spokes, a team of MIT and UC Berkeley students dedicated to educating high school students across the United States as they bike coast to coast; andOne Laptop per Child, which aims to take affordable, durable laptops into classrooms around the world.
Our project bears a high likelihood of success because of our close connections with our community partners. Claire is director of educational outreach at EyeWire, and is a member of the Spokes team; Sean and Claire have worked closely with software producers at OLPC; and Shivani is involved with a number of humanitarian organizations where we're recruiting mentors for our student-mentor network.
Inspire 50 kids in the US and 50 kids abroad to pursue what they love, and match them with dedicated mentors.
Who We Are
Claire is a graduating junior at MIT studying brain & cognitive science. She is currently working as director of educational outreach at EyeWire, a citizen science initiative that she cofounded during January of 2011. In her spare time, she loves running with her teammates on the MIT cross country and track teams, and competing in the 3k steeplechase. She believes that there is a pro- found connection between education and cognition, and aims to spend her life discovering that connection and using it to change global education.
Sean is currently an MIT undergraduate studying Computer Science and Biology. Interested in acting as a scion for the neuroprosthetics industry, his re- search focuses on neural engineering and hijacking neural circuitry to restore lost functionality. Sean owes the discovery of his passion to having a bril- liant mentor early on in life, and hopes to do the same through Start! He believes that the key to transforming the world is educating the youth and talented minds of tomorrow, improving the world one child’s mind at a time.
Shivani is a sophomore at MIT studying Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and hopes to become a doctor in communities lacking sufficient medical resources. She has always had a passion for helping kids reach their potential, originally inspired by understanding the different learning needs of her autistic cousins. She has had numerous experiences working in education, from being a Big Brothers Big Sisters men- tor, to tutoring for ReachOut. Outside of volunteering, Shivani enjoys running on the MIT cross country & track teams. She hopes to align her global healthcare goals with her involvement in Start!, and believes that every child has the potential and power to love what they learn.
Amy works at Sebastian Seung‘s computational neuroscience lab at MIT on project EyeWire, a game to map the human brain. She is working to make science universally more accessible and exciting by facilitating the creation of an online global community dedicated to understanding what could be today’s biggest mystery: the mind. Amy is interested in learning what motivates the site’s top users in order to understand how to engage an audience from afar, and works with TED to communicate her findings.
Our Community Partner
Spokes, EyeWire and OLPC
Spokes is dedicated to revealing the exploratory, self-directed, and boundless nature of learning to students across the US, and will be crossing the country by bike this summer in order to do so. The team is partnered for Teach for America, and will be piloting the mentorship network that Start! aims to implement on a global scale. EyeWire is an online community of “citizen neuroscientists” who map neural connections by playing a game. It has been used in a number of educational programs, including MOSTEC and several classes at the BB&N upper school in Cambridge, MA. See student research papers here on the EyeWire wiki, and read about the BB&N program in a recently-published article. OLPC aims to provide each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop. To this end, they have designed hardware, content and software for collaborative, joyful, and self-empowered learning. With access to this type of tool, OLPC believes that children are engaged in their own education, and learn, share, and create together – they become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future.
Since March 2011, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have left their homes to escape the recent crisis in their country. Many are left without school, yet it is important to remember they have gone through unconventional circumstances. Therefore, it makes no sense to educate them in conventional ways. At MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten group, Abdulrahman Idlbi challenges the modern notion of schooling and looks to models of nontraditional education as more conducive to learning. Specifically, we believe that children learn best when they are empowered to design and create, encouraged to ask questions, allowed to explore their own interests, and provided a learning environment with safety and respect. The current model of school rarely offers this, so we're working on something new. The emphasis of education should be on the development of leadership, problem-solving, and community-building skills. In this spirit, we are developing generative, hands-on workshops accompanied by material (video/written) explaining the ideas behind the workshops and how to run them. Abdulrahman will go to a refugee camp for about a month in the summer to start 3-4 workshops, alongside local teachers/mentors, as a form of training for them. The teachers/mentors will then continue the workshops with their students for the remainder of the year. A follow-up trip may be planned for the winter.
Train 5-10 teachers in one refugee/IDP camp and impact 100-200 children
Noor Doukmak is an MIT undergraduate student pursuing teaching certification in high school math. She has interned at NuVu Studio School, which introduces high school students to the architecture studio model to engage them in project-based learning. She is currently a teaching assistant for the “Producing Educational Videos” seminar at MIT.
Abdulrahman Y. idlbi is a Syrian graduate student and research assistant in MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten group. Before joining the Media Lab he worked in teacher training and designing and implementing learning activities in and outside the school context, in Syria and Saudi Arabia. He spent time in January 2013 working with teachers and students in various refugee communities on the Syria-Turkey border.
Anas Al Bastami is a Ph.D. student in the Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems at the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. He took part in teaching fundamental courses at Texas A&M University at Qatar, worked at The Princeton Review, where he taught high school students, and is interested in research and educational projects for the improvement of the region.
Our Community Partner
According to Watan, “Watan represents a progressive movement that works through the various institutions of civil society and aims to achieve comprehensive progress in Syria. These institutions are run by specialized personnel. The movement is open to all Syrians, irrespective of their racial, religious or national affiliations.”
There are currently no educational resources to teach middle and high school students about efficient biomass stoves…our project is changing that! The Global Cookstove Education Project (GCEP) uses project-based learning to connect students from around the world through the issues of personal energy use, biomass resources, and efficient cookstoves. Pioneered in 2012 by a group of educators from 4 countries, the GCEP allows students to participate in a global educational collaboration as they investigate biomass use, build small cookstoves, test stove efficiency, and search for solutions to the health and environmental problems that arise from the fact that half the earth’s population burns wood or charcoal to meet their daily energy needs. Although still in its infancy, the GCEP has recently begun to gain traction in terms of not only educating students about biomass use issues and efficient cookstoves, but also by serving as model for the use of STEM design projects to encourage collaborations between students around the world.
The participation of over one hundred students in a global collaborative stove building process.
Anthony McHughis a 1st year MIT undergrad studying Civil Engineering. He is a resident of iHouse, a living-learning community designed to prepare its occupants for careers in international development. As a resident of iHouse, he participated in a seminar entitled Topics in International Development in the fall of 2012, and has had the opportunity to speak with leaders of many development projects both on campus and in the surrounding community. He participated in the founding and organization of a summer mathematics camp for middle school students while he was in high school. He will serve as the team leader, and will take charge of marketing and publicity for the project.
Ishwar Kohaleis a 1st year MIT undergrad interested in studying Biological Engineering. He is also a resident of iHouse, and participated in the seminar. Ishwar Kohale grew up in a rural area in Maharashtra, India and is familiar with the educational system in India. He will work on strengthening connections with the Srishti School and other cookstove projects in India. He will take the lead in conducting research and developing a prototype.
Rich Lehrerhas taught science at the middle school level in Canada, Venezuela, Brazil, and the United States. Interested in issues of global education, he has taught for six years in Massachusetts, and has recently implemented a cookstove education project at Brookwood School in Manchester, MA. Along with Anthony and Ishwar, Rich has also been working closely with four former students who have played a key role in developing, revising, and refining the project.
Young people are suffering from chronic global unemployment. 20%, 6.8M, of 15-24 year olds in Brazil are un- or underemployed yet 57% of Brazil’s employers reported recruitment difficulties. Plexx will deliver skill building content to young people around the world via their mobile phones so they can secure a job and launch a career.
Train 5000 Brazilian youth with 30,000 pieces of training content
Yscaira Jimenez is a 2014 MIT MBA candidate who grew up attending public schools in the Bronx, taught English to students in a shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, and has spent most of her professional career working for high impact tutoring. She also founded and ran La Pregunta Arts Cafe, an arts cafe in Harlem, NY education startups (Rocket Learning, Learn-It Systems, Platform Learning) in business development and operation roles serving more than 10,000 low-income students across the U.S. through that operated for 5 years. She graduated from Columbia University in 2003 with a BA in English & Latin American Studies.
Sergio is a 2014 MPP, MBA Candidate in the dual degree program at Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School. First in his family to graduate from a four-year college, he believes making learning more accessible and affordable can alter the lives of lower-income communities. He graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Industrial Engineering in 2007, worked in management consulting in Deloitte’s Strategy & Operations practice, PepsiCo as a Supply Chain Associate, Teach For America as an Education Pioneers Summer Fellow, founded USAdelante.org, and was an Echoing Green semi-finalist.
Victor Popov will graduate from Howest University in Kortrijk, Belgium in June 2013 with a Bachelors in Multimedia & Communication Technology in Digital Design & Development. His skillset includes Oldskool P&P, PS, ILLU, FL, AE, C4D, MOCHA. He programs in HTML5/CSS3/JS, PHP5, AS3, jQUERY, jSON. His portfolio can be found at www.phrofyz.com. He developed our wireframes, website, and minimum viable product.
Our Community Partner
Secretaria Municipal de Educação Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The municipal secretary of public education oversees primary and secondary education of Rio de Janeiro's youth.
ProblemIn India, there is a huge waste of talent pool due to the lack of resources and opportunities. For eg., less than .1% of ~1 million engineering students get world class education, hands on learning or cutting edge research exposure. There is a tremendous lack of entrepreneurial effort and R&D to build a robust high-tech environment. A structured program to create leaders, entrepreneurs and researcher to push the community forward is totally absent.
ContextConventional path of directly going to the villages and doing charity to alleviate poverty have failed again and again. We believe in involving everyday people in giving back to the community and helping in building a sustainable economy. One of the problems we notice in countries like India, is the huge disparity in the living of the urban and the rural people. As engineers we wanted to use new strategies to alleviate poverty. We thought of programs that will not only help the students be leaders and innovators, but also connect them to the large majority of the population who they can help.
Solution•Locate a rural area in India, and identify a problem with a viable technical solution •Design a competition to address the problem •Allow students from the smaller colleges to participate with a faculty mentor •Incentives in every stage for developing idea, prototype, and implementation •Students are supposed to work in the villages actively so as to make a product customized to their needs
Promote hands on learning, creative thinking in smaller engineering schools. Atleast have 4 teams come up with low cost technology prototypes that can turn into successful start ups. Improve people's life in at least one rural community
A group of individuals from MIT and outside MIT who believe poverty is not an isolated problem. We promote socio-economic growth by what we call "strategic resource distribution" . We promote incentive based innovations among urban youths who go to small engineering schools and are eager for opportunities. We give them global exposure, entrepreneurship opportunities- with a condition: you need to give back to the community. Two of the founders having attended very small engineering schools recognize the huge talent waste and brain drain in developing countries. Lab-X Foundation came up with an intelligent strategy to promote socio-economic growth through different structured educational programs.
Our Community Partner
Startup Village is India's first Public Private Partnership model Technology Business Incubator. The promoters of Startup Village are Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, Technopark Trivandrum and MobME Wireless. Kris, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Infosys and the most successful IT Entrepreneur from Kerala is the Chief Mentor for Startup Village.Startup Village aims to incubate 1,000 product start ups over 10 years and start the search for a billion dollar company from a college campus by turn of this decade. Startup Village will create an ecosystem and provide a platform for start-ups to create breakthrough technologies for the global telecommunications industry. Startup Village will focus primarily on student startups from college campuses.
PEN designs hands-on STEM activities that infuse national standards with hands-on activities and train teachers in how to execute these activities within the structure of traditional education programs.
Key to our success is the coupling of these resources with sustained support after our workshops end. To this end, we are developing OurLabs, a mobile community-building and information-sharing tool for educators. Through this, they will regularly receive tips on their upcoming practicals, and they will share progress and questions with each other.
Team leader Heather Beem (MIT PhD ‘14, Mechanical Engineering) has a passion for science education. She taught Ghanaian high school students to build a wind turbine, and taught workshops on solar energy through SPLASH and HSSP. She led the founding of PEN’s D-Lab class, and co-teaches it with Aron- teaching educational practices and mentoring the students in their international projects. She serves as MIT liaison, initiating and maintaining PEN’s communication with the MIT entities that PEN pursues collaboration with (D-Lab, MISTI, etc).
Edward Burnell (MIT ‘13, Mechanical Engineering) leads PEN's web development. He has taught many engineering lessons in Ghana with Anna and Grace, won the recent ‘Education Designathon’ with a book whose pages that both were circuits and explained them, and taught two MIT classes on wind turbines. He worked last summer on a flying wind turbine, and is currently researching model-free learning for a plane designed to fly through dense forests. Edward is also a partner of Rough Draft Ventures, a venture capital fund by and for Boston-area students. Brianna Conrad (MIT ‘11, Physics and Electrical Engineering) researches solar energy at the University of New South Wales, and has led make-your-own solar panel workshops.
Deborah Hanus (MIT ‘13, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Brain & Cognitive Sciences) works on PEN’s web/mobile development team. This summer she will teach mobile application development in South Africa as AITI’s Technical Lead. As a 2013 Fulbright Fellow in Cambodia, where she has worked on educational projects in the past, Deborah hopes to expand PEN’s reach to Asia.
Madeline Hickman (MIT ‘11, Mechanical Engineering) coordinates MIT community relations and runs PEN’s SPLASH classes. She is a high school physics teaching assistant and D-Lab researcher, and has collaborated with D-Lab in Ghana, Kenya, and India on bicycle rickshaws, motorized mobility aids, and engineering education.
Grace Kane (MIT ‘11, Mechanical/Ocean Engineering) is a marine engineer in Scotland. She brings organizational experience as Chief Engineer at the Indian start-up Saathi, and has taught dozens of engineering classes for high school students in Ghana and the US.
Fareeha Safir (‘13, Mechanical Engineering) researches biomedical technologies and bioengineering. She taught lessons with D-lab in Tanzania, spent several terms working on a bicycle-powered grain mill with Global Cycle Solutions, and designed a lighter rickshaw truss with Gwyn Jones and the Indian Rickshaw Bank. She spent one year working with Engineers Without Borders on solar powered lighting in collaboration with a community in Degeya, Uganda.
Anna Waldman-Brown (MIT ‘11, Physics and Writing) is PEN’s coordinator of community relations in Ghana, where she was a 2012 Fulbright Fellow researching appropriate technology and piloting several PEN initiatives. She has taught science classes in Ghana, Peru, and the US.
Aron Walker (MIT ‘07, Chemical Engineering and Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science) co-teaches PEN’s D-Lab class with Heather. He is a high school science teacher and brings experience in both teacher-training and collaborative curriculum development. During his four years in the Peace Corps in Tanzania, he founded Shika na Mikono (an initiative for hands-on science education), published a manual for volunteers, and worked with the Ministry of Education on 3 educational books.
The U.S. is ranked 17th amongst nations for science education. Less than 6% of college degrees are in the sciences and engineering, and the repercussions are felt resoundingly in the job market. Most people are intimidated by science during their primary education, and avoid it like the plague when they get to college.
The problem starts in the education community. Good science teachers are hard to come by. Most high school teachers that teach science are not directly qualified or have any specialized knowledge of these abstract subjects like physics and chemistry. Only 1/3 of all physics teachers have degrees in physics or physics education.
Our solution is to make fun, addicting, and downright educational science software games. Teachers will use them in the classroom, and parents can get them for their kids to help them learn and improve their grades. We've already launched one Adobe Flash (TM) game to massive teacher acclaim and viral adoption (1.6 million hits on our website to date). It's a physics game that teaches kinematics in a fun and interactive way.
Improve science scores of users by one letter grade.
Who We Are
Jordan Ledvina: has a B.A. in math and physics from Rutgers University. He has edited a general relativity textbook designed for students with a rudimentary calculus background. He is doing web and business development and helps with conceptual design of games. He is currently studying entrepreneurship and finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Matthew Blackman: has a B.A. in physics, and a M.A. in Physics Education from Rutgers University. He's been teaching high school physics for four years and has taught himself to design and program games. He is the highest ranked physics teacher in the state of New Jersey. He is the primary programmer and game developer for The Universe and More.
Our Community Partner
A Plus Physics
A Plus Physics provides students with educational physics materials to both students and teachers.
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