Some Background for the Project
This project was originally developed as my Community Innovation Project (2016-2017) for the Global Leaders Program , a selective program funded by the Illinois Institute of Technology that as they put “empowers motivated youth from across the city [of Chicago] to LEAD AND SERVE, EXPLORE STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and supports their path to HIGHER EDUCATION.” The Community Innovation Project is a year long project conducted by high school juniors in the GLP during which we create teams to address diverse social issues using STEM and receive a $1000 grant from the program in order to implement our solutions.
While we may have been born out of the Community Innovation Project, we have been working hard to extend this beyond that scope and lifespan with the intention of continuing to work on this project in the future. You can check out our website for more details and updates.
Some more about the Team
Our team was created to address the severe lack of diversity in STEM, a subject that mattered to all of us for a multitude of reasons and to myself in particular because I feel that good solutions are born out of a diversity of perspectives and humanity is going to need a whole lot of good solutions to solve the problems of the XXIst century.
We chose the name United Innovators for precisely that reason and spent the year devising a range of solutions in order to inspire underrepresented people to enter the STEM pipeline and to give people the resources they need to pursue their interest in STEM.
To accomplish our goal, we are using a multi-pronged approach:
Launch multiple STEM summits targeted at students transitioning from 8th to 9th grade. These will use creative hands on activities to spark an interest in STEM while avoiding other “preachier” methods that do not create any genuine interest in the STEM fields.
Launch a project with an impact well beyond what we could ever hope to achieve in a year by making the knowledge we gain from running summits, as well as from implementing hands on activities, freely available to all through the use of the ** United Innovators** website (made by me!). This website contains a blog providing information on our progress, our triumphs, and our tribulations, as well as connecting those interested in the STEM fields to the appropriate resources. We will also use a second repository, also hosted through the United Innovators GitHub Organization, to provide the information necessary to set up the activities we designed for our summits.
Together, these two angles will allow us to inspire young students during their transition to high school to pursue their interest in STEM while also having a snowball effect that will greatly increase the impact of our work.
Personally, aside from playing an important role in determining the team’s solution and implementing it alongside the rest of the team (we ran several workshops at a variety of summits and capped off the year by running our own summit), I also built the website (using Jekyll to keep it easily customize, open, fast, responsiveness, and pretty), as well as ran the Computer Science and Mathematics workshop at our summit where participants developed bots to compete in a round robin Prisoner’s Dilemma Tournament. I also made the face of United Innovators, the very logo you see on this page.
If you are interested in this project, please check out the website (here it is again) for more details. There is also a contact form there if you want to get in touch. The entire team would love to hear from you!