Imprinting the Future: Accessible 3D-Printing for a Sustainable Environment

3D printing eco-friendly insect traps to protect Latinx Central Valley farmers against invasive species and plant pathogens.

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Eligibility: Please confirm you meet all the following criteria

  • You are aged between 14 - 18 as of August 1, 2020
  • You live in the United States or its territories
  • You are not employed by, or directly related (grand parents, parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
  • You have been working on this project for at least three months
  • You consent to us possibly featuring your work on social media
  • You confirm you have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form

Eligibility: Date of Birth

11/5/03

What gender do you identify with?

  • Male

Help us stay in touch!

(650)-460-9563 California: Palo Alto (94306): 272 E. Charleston Rd

Date You Started Your Project Started

12 / 05 / 2019

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

As the underserved farmhands of the Central Valley toil each day, they must cope with harsh conditions and crop destroying pests, particularly rapid infestation of the HLB disease. Without access to STEM technology as both an educational equalizer and method of solution, future generations inherit the same occupational and environmental issues and lack of social mobility. We believe technology can support their futures, and their communities.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Imprinting the Future's goal is to increase STEM familiarity and skills in underserved students within the Central Valley’s agricultural communities to use tech to solve local problems. Using a network of companies and individuals aligned with our goals, we procure 3D-printers, to donate to local community organizations in farming regions. Then we support the first goal of our two-fold mission, to use 3D-printers as a gateway for underserved students to open their futures to STEM education and careers, by holding classes to teach them how to use 3D-printers and software. Our classes and resources will make our second goal possible: to empower and enable students to invest in their communities by printing solutions to the issues facing farm laborers, namely harsh working conditions and invasive bug species infestation. Currently, we have two projects supporting this goal, a mask and face-shield initiative we lead with the Essential Heroes Campaign to protect workers from COVID-19 transmission and pesticide inhalation, that has donated hundreds of units. We are also working with students to design an insect trap prototype to safely target vectors of the HLB disease.

3. Using STEM as a force of good: Please specify how are you using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge you are passionate about.

One of the issues the farmers face is the Asian citrus psyllid, an invasive species which spreads Huanglongbing disease. This pathogen blocks citrus trees’ phloem, a vascular tissue that transports sugar from the leaves. Symptomatic fruit becomes inedible, and entire trees die. Huanglongbing disease then impacts over 3,000 farmers and their communities. In order to protect these crops, we plan on printing biodegradable traps to eradicate the insects, without harming the citrus trees. Using the Autodesk CADing suite, we are experimenting and revising various plastic based designs for an easily manufactured, 3D printed insect trap, which can be printed on-site. We are currently testing different plastics, adhesives, and pesticides to determine which are safest and most effective. We plan on using natural sticking agents such as neem oil, as to reduce health hazards. Working farmers are exposed to harmful insecticides for 12-13 hours at a time, and would benefit from an environmentally sustainable product.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

As a group of young Hispanic students, the inspiration to become a change maker has been fueled through our experiences since childhood. Growing up in Palo Alto, whose contrast with East Palo Alto is a grave reminder of socioeconomic disparity, we wanted to make a difference. The two towns are not simply divided by Highway 101, but by a greater lack of resources and opportunities. Seeing this has inspired each of us to become advocates now for underprivileged groups. We want to demonstrate that you don’t need to stay in the social status you are born into; with greater resources, people are enabled to push past economic boundaries. We feel strongly about Latinx empowerment, and want to provide these farmers with greater STEM-based opportunities and resources. Through 3D printing, they then have a gateway to healthier careers and crops.

5. Video (Keep it simple, a video made on a hand-held phone is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

I want to be part of the generation that makes a difference; breaks the stigma that you need to be wealthy or male to explore STEM. I’m passionate about resolving the inequality of people of color regarding opportunities to explore STEM. I believe in minority empowerment and I want to show them your ethnicity and zip code doesn’t define you. I’m a promoter for eco-friendly substitutes and I feel everyone deserves an outlet for success, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of the environment.

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

We have organized the donation of 7 3D-printers from ID-tech, partnered with Nokia. We have also contacted several Central Valley community organizations and plan to teach 3D printing and other STEM-related classes to them in the future. We contacted farming unions and discussed problems that they want prioritized, such as Huanglongbing disease. Additionally, we have researched various invasive insect species and which traps best eradicate them.

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

As members of the Hispanic community, we support other Latinos and give them increased opportunities. We hope the 3D printed insect traps will protect local ecosystems from invasive species, and empower Latinx fieldworkers. By creating an easily replicated prototype, we will teach local farmers how to make these traps, and give them access to STEM-based opportunities. Our partnership with ID-tech aims to introduce women to STEM. We upcycle used 3D printers and donate them to foundations such as the CCAT. We supply these communities with coding and CADing lessons for their 3D printing.

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made?

Much of our current impact has been made through the Essential Heroes Campaign, with whom we have produced and donated 200 3D-printed masks and 150 face shields to farmers in Fresno and Half Moon Bay through Ayudando Latinos a Soñar. With the masks, the farmers will be protected from COVID-19 and can work safely. We also plan to donate three of our printers to the CCAT in Fresno, for use in 3D printing classes. The farmers will then be able to print both our insect traps, and any tools that break on the job, utilizing their new 3D printer training.To impact the most people as possible, we plan on expanding to other schools and reaching farms across the state.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

A network based organization, we are always looking to acquire new partnerships. Through our substantial presence in Fresno with the CCAT, we are working avidly to establish two satellite CCAT printing classes in Bakersfield and East Palo Alto, which will receive four printers. As we work with our students on designs for 3D-printed insect traps, we are coming closer to an effective working design. In the next year, we expect to both finalize and distribute our design for use in citrus farms, as well as use the design as a basis for combating similar infestation issues. Fresno and its farms are also impacted by the Light Brown Apple Moth and Potato Psyllid.

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

We are working with the EHC, with whom we produce PPE for communities affected by COVID-19. Our efforts with EHC were featured on ID Tech and Nokia’s social media page. An article written by our team on teen involvement was published in Palo Alto Online and the Latino Community Foundation’s blog. This platform and connections allowed us to increase our output to farmworkers and spread the importance of our efforts. We plan to involve local teens through online outreach.

11. Please share ideas of how you can partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

We would love to become involved with like-minded organizations, like STEM&buds, to expand STEM education in less-privileged communities. We will offer coding/3D printing camps at YMCA sites. When partnered, we will hold after school classes together to cross-promote one another. We feel that collaborating will be an extremely efficient way to expand our reach.

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

Our general outreach and education is conducted through social media and community classes. Donation-based, we rely on funneling support from like-minded and larger organizations and businesses, like Nokia. Contact with these organizations is made directly to foster a personal relationship that combines our goals and promotes communication. For future connections, we will create a website containing contact information, frequently asked questions, and resources.

13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Donations between $1k-$5k

References

Michael Wessel, michael.wessel@sri.com, (650)-817-5161 Patrice Banal, patbanal@gmail.com, (650)-704-1271 Ylka Reiss, yreiss@idtech.com, (408)-896-6747

Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?

  • No

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian) (7)
  • Native American or Alaska Native (for example: Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupial Traditional Government, Nome Eskimo Community) (10)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Email

Evaluation results

14 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

Yes, absolutely! - 64.3%

Probably - 35.7%

Maybe - 0%

Probably not - 0%

No - 0%

2. CONNECTION to Environmental Sustainability

5 - Absolutely! It is totally clear that the solution is contributing directly to environmental sustainability and/or addressing climate change - 71.4%

4 — Yes, it establishes a connection to environment/ climate change but could be stronger - 14.3%

3 — Somewhat, the entry speaks to this environmental sustainability, but the direct impact is not well established - 14.3%

2 — Not really, the connection to environment/ climate is very weak - 0%

1 — No. The entry does not have a reference the solution’s impact on environment and/or climate change - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

3. Is this entry CREATIVE?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 71.4%

4 - Yes, I think so - 21.4%

3 - Maybe - 7.1%

2 - Probably not. - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Does this entry demonstrate a COMMITMENT to changemaking?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 100%

4 - Yes, I think so - 40%

3 - Maybe - 0%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Does this entry value CHANGEMAKING through collaboration with other stakeholders in its approach?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 61.5%

4 - Yes, I think so - 30.8%

3 - Maybe - 7.7%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

6. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 61.5%

4- Yes, I think so - 15.4%

3- Maybe - 23.1%

2- Probably not - 0%

1- No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: What are the strengths of this project?

CONNECTION: You have a great understanding and personal connection to the problem - 100%

CREATIVITY: You have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions to aid environmental sustainability/combat climate change - 100%

COMMITMENT: You have a thoughtful plan for growing your business, and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 70%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: You value thinking around how to activate other changemakers and empower them to care about your cause. You also have a clearly defined plan on how to collaborate across multiple stakeholders - 70%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 60%

VIABLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 60%

Other option - 0%

8. FEEDBACK: What are some areas for improvement for this project?

CONNECTION: Why you care about the environment/ climate was unclear – It would be great to elaborate on what this solution means to you, personally and how it affects you and/or your community. - 16.7%

CREATIVITY: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 16.7%

COMMITMENT: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 50%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming. How will they care about environment/climate if they currently do not? Think about how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 33.3%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 100%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 83.3%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 66.7%

Other option - 0%

39 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Adolfina Sanda
Team

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Photo of Patrice Banal
Team

This work is really very captivating. Addressing sustainability by impeding insects from ruining crops is a critical part of keeping locally grown produce available for purchase and consumption locally, too. The more you protect the local harvest, the fewer products need to be trucked across the nation, reducing our carbon footprint is critical to improving our quality of life long term.
I am very impressed to see a group of teens utilizing STEM solutions to make both an environmental and social impact. With all that is going on, it is very uplifting to see minority high schoolers taking a lead in giving back to other marginalized students, BRAVO! Your efforts to educate other kids while also impacting the environment is the out of the box hybrid solutions we need!
Leveraging your connections to get tech companies like NOKIA and IDTech involved is great strategic thinking. Keep honing partnerships. I look forward to seeing how your project progresses!!

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Patrice,

You raise excellent points about our project- your support is greatly appreciated. Our efforts in eradicating Huanglongbing disease will hopefully bolster local agriculture and reduce the need to import products. This in turn, reduces our state’s carbon footprint. Adapting to climate change is of the utmost urgency, and by enabling local communities to print their own insect traps, they can cater to their own needs. We hope to increase minority representation in STEM and make a lasting impact on local communities.

-Inés, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of Rowan Chen
Team

Great to see you guys giving back to the community.

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Rowan,

Giving back to the community is something we care passionately about. We hope to help underserved communities in the Central Valley and better minority representation in STEM. Feel free to reach out! You can contact us at ImprintingTheFuture2020@gmail.com.

Thanks,
Inés, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of Aarush Banerjee
Team

This is a really cool idea and I wish all the best for your project

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Aarush,

Thank you for your support! We focus on helping underserved communities in the Central Valley, specifically minority farmers. We hope to help combat Huanglongbing disease and empower agricultural communities. If you want to learn more, you can contact us at ImprintingTheFuture2020@gmail.com.

Best regards,
Inés, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of leah kozakevich
Team

This is an amazing project and so inspiring that teenagers are doing this! You all are really making a difference, keep up the hard work!!

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Leah,

We appreciate that you’ve taken the time to review our project and all your support. We love to see our peers taking an interest in us and our goals. If you have any questions for us, you can reach us at ImprintingTheFuture2020@gmail.com.

Best regards,
Inés, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of Hallett Falcon
Team

such a great idea

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Hallet,

Thank you for taking the time to review our project. We appreciate the support. We really want to empower other students through STEM and inspire future generations of changemakers. If you’re interested in learning more details about us you can send us a message at ImprintingTheFuture2020@gmail.com.

Best,
Jordan, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of Carmen
Team

This seems like such a great idea!

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Carmen,

We are grateful for the positive insight. In a time like this when the world is such a hectic place, it’s so important to reflect on how fortunate some of us are, and act on this awareness by helping others. We hope you continue to follow us on our journey of giving back.

Best,
Jordan, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of Richard Jackson
Team

I respect your group's commitment to being advocates for underserved communities. I found it interesting that you are using STEM to directly benefit the lives of farmworkers and helping the environment simultaneously. Great work!

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Thank you for the supportive comments, we welcome your input!

With many of our members coming from minority communities ourselves, we feel an acute responsibility to help underprivileged students, most of who are minorities. By introducing them to STEM through 3d-printing, we hope to open doors for their futures, encouraging them to study STEM and pursue STEM careers. Directing our organization projects to issues affecting our students and their families, the direct life-impact of STEM is most evident to them and we are able to positively impact their lives. Finally, as most of our projects involve agricultural communities, we have been able to incorporate environmental impact into our efforts, protecting the crops our nation survives on by trapping invasive species. These different aspects of our impacts enable us to promote community and environmental sustainability simultaneously.

Our foundation revolves around our own community that we are building, and we are always looking to involve more members. We would be more than happy to work with you, so please contact me at alexander.m.fester@gmail.com, or our organization at imprintingthefuture2020@gmail.com, if you are interested.

Thank you,
Alex Fester, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Richard,

The respect is greatly appreciated. Imprinting the Future prioritizes generosity and giving back to underserved communities as we want to bridge the opportunity gap for kids who are low income or simply don’t have access to modern technologies. Integrating stem into our efforts not only benefits the farmers but also educates their children, and provides them with opportunities and a skillset to prepare them for successful futures. Not only are we focused on advocating for people, but Imprinting the future is an advocate for the environment as well. Thank you for supporting our cause.

Best,
Jordan, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of julia
Team

I really like this project idea!!!

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Julia,
Our group deeply values your positive and encouraging message. We are always working to improve the level of sustainability and if you have any suggestions for us feel free to contact us at ImprintingTheFuture2020@gmail.com. Our efforts primarily focus on benefiting the lives of farmers, and by increasing the efficiency of the production, we not only benefit their lifestyle but also the local economy. Again, thank you for all your support.
Best,
Jordan, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of Matthew
Team

I think this could not only be used in East Palo Alto, but other cities that are suffering from harsh conditions. Keep it up!

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Matthew,

We appreciate the support, Matthew! We are applying our efforts in other areas as you mentioned, specifically the central valley. A large part of our goal is to help underserved minorities, and we hope to further this aspect of our goal, because we think it is extremely important to recognize people forgotten by the rest of society.

Best,
Sebastian, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of isa heilman
Team

So cool! It’s so great too see that our generation is already making a difference.

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Isa,

We appreciate all the kind words and support for our project. One of the key factors of this group is that we are a purely teen lead team, working to initiate change in the coming generations. Thank you for taking note of all our efforts.

Best,
Jordan, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of Matthew Marchyok
Team

Thank you for your inspiring work here and how you are making change for the future of East Palo Alto and beyond. I believe you are maximizing the use of 3D printers to not only solve problems but to make a difference in the lives of people and model stewardship for the environment.

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Matthew,
Thank you for taking time to closely review our project. We appreciate your support. Would you have any suggestions for improving our approach to 3D printing and community outreach? Feel free to contact us at ImprintingTheFuture2020@gmail.com.

Looking forward to your input,
Sebastian, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of Alexander Forchette
Team

This is an awesome project! You are making a huge impact on your community in multiple ways. I like that this company tackles environmental issues in a way that also benefits the socioeconomic status of your community. I also grew up in the Bay Area, and the disparity between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto is astonishing. I think that education is the best tool that you can give someone. I am curious how you continue to grow this company. Do you plan on asking for more 3D printer donations in the future? Thank you, you are truly changemakers inspiring a better future for your community!

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Alexander,

Thank you for your words of support, it means a lot to us to hear from a Bay Area native, who knows the socioeconomic situations of our communities well. To answer some of your questions, we do plan on asking for more donations. However, we already have had many generous donors, who are coordinating future donations, and that have allowed us to become sustainable. More donated 3D printers would be great, but we are developing the capital to purchase them ourselves. At the moment, we are simply looking for more organizations in our area to donate to; not necessarily asking for donations ourselves. In order to grow, we want to recruit like-minded individuals who are willing to dedicate their time and energy in order to better serve the communities around us, and impact more recipient organizations.

Best,
Sebastian, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of Alyssa Priest
Team

I am astonished and proud of the work you are doing for the community. The time and effort you have put in to ensure the people who are struggling right now are helped and supported is beyond generous. Thank you for making the bay area a safer place. This is truly inspiring.

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Dear Alyssa,

We love to know that fellow community members recognize and sympathize with our ideals. We appreciate the continued support, and plan on expanding in multiple ways throughout the summer.

Best,
Sebastian, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of Nikhil Chaudhary
Team

This is a great project to do with 3D printing, I can see how big of an impact this can have in the field of agriculture.

Spam
Photo of Ethan Zhang
Team

This is great way for underrepresented communities to step and make a difference. I applaud your efforts as students to make a difference in the world. For people who wanted to join your efforts, how would they do so?

Spam
Photo of Michael Wessel
Team

Fantastic idea, and great to see you caring for the underserved farmhands of the Central Valley! I am sure that teaching, and providing underserved communities with 3d printing capabilities to solve concrete problems such as pest control and supplying PPE in terms of self-printed masks will make a big difference in their everyday lives. Keep up the great work and looking forward for updates on this project!
It is so uplifting and important to see students using STEM as a platform for change and empowerment. the increased sustainability that is achieved by protecting local agriculture will have such a tremendous impact on the environment.

Spam
Photo of remoT G
Team

This is a great project idea, and one which I trust Alex Fester to carry out well.

Spam
Photo of Victor
Team

This is an really smart and ingenious idea. You guys are doing great, carry on.

Spam
Photo of Sanami Teru
Team

This project seems very innovative. The idea of implementing 3D printers to fight pests and help farmers is a brand new approach. The great amount of time and effort can be seen from the description and the pictures posted. I truly wish their STEM knowledge and determination can help the COVID19 affected communities. I am very eager to see this project succeed. Good luck!

Spam
Photo of Sümela Ada
Team

Thank you

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Sure, we're glad you appreciate our project. Please reach out to us, especially regarding your own projects, so we can learn from one another and hopefully collaborate.

Best,
Alex Fester, Imprinting the Future

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

I forgot to include this in my previous reply, I can be reached at alexander.m.fester@gmail.com, and our organization at imprintingthefuture2020@gmail.com

Spam
Photo of Ashna Patel
Team

Hello, this is Ashna from STEM & Buds:) We would love to work with you too! Please reach out to us at stemandbudspa@gmail.com!

Spam
Photo of Alexander Fester
Team

Hello Ashna,
It's great to hear your interest, and see that we share reciprocal feelings about cooperation. We just contacted you and cannot wait to work together soon to realize our common goals - promoting community outreach while supporting environmental sustainability.

Looking forward to our collaboration,
Alex Fester, Imprinting the Future

contacts: alexander.m.fester@gmail.com, imprintingthefuture2020@gmail.com