SMART Code of Life
An organization aiming to bridge the gap between and educate all young people on neuroscience, technology, and business.
Additional categories (optional)
Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Eligibility: Date of Birth
December 11, 2002
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Date You Started Your Project Started
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?
A lack of representation of minority girls in STEM. Students who come from a low socioeconomic status or have less educated parents are not very likely to take advanced classes, especially in science or math. We want to help girls realize that they can still reach their potential regardless of their background or educational exposure. Some students don’t have the right resources or don’t even know where to look and we want to provide that.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
We provide students with the resources they need to thrive. Through workshops, afterschool programs, and tech incubators we have been successful in spreading STEM awareness to a diverse set of students coming from different backgrounds. By using educational interfaces like MIT App Inventor, Internet of Things, and VR headsets we excite participants to broaden their career options. We recently created a new talk series inspired by Reshma Saujani’s book Brave, Not Perfect, where we speak to students about the importance of embracing all opportunities regardless of the challenges they may encounter. We usually travel to elementary schools and we have attended one empowerment conference where we spread this message.
Through these events students get first hand experience and advice from the SMART team and professionals about these fields that they can use to guide themselves. We also create a strong network with all the students who attend our events, especially through our talk series, and help them find their inner voices that help them understand what’s important to them. We also connect them to people who have expertise in their interests so girls can involve themselves.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
The program was initially founded to help refugee girls explore their creativity in STEM. SMART Code of Life (SMART) means to offer support, guidance, and a voice to young women to help them find the power within themselves. The founder had the opportunity to identify her love in STEM because someone believed in her and offered resources for her to explore. SMART is instilling a belief within the girls we work with it by creating a judgemental free environment in which learning and exploration occur.
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
When a student participates in a SMART event they expose themselves to an array of fields and are taught by teens they can understand and connect to. For our first start-up event, we held a four-day tech incubator for twenty refugee girls. We focused on MIT App Inventor and Internet of Things to teach them about coding. Once the girls had a basic understanding of both programs, we had a discussion on social issues. Tackling social issues is an integral part of SMART because we believe knowing how to use technology do better our world is our duty. During this discussion, the girls could express themselves and what mattered to them, and based on these issues, the girls created apps that could potentially solve or reduce the problem. Through this event not only were the girls able to get exposure to something them believed they could never do, but we also created a strong network with them.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
While many other STEM outreach programs encourage girls to explore STEM fields, SMART aims to encourage girls to advance STEM with their own inventions to solve social problems around the world starting from elementary school. Through afterschool STEM programs and intense discussions, we encourage students not only to explore the endless world of technology but apply it to the real world, to something they are passionate about. Tech incubators and capstone project workshops are just a few of the events we design for students. With each event we are able to reach larger groups of students.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
We have impacted over 500 students in our community. We’ve encouraged minority students, especially refugees, to consider a STEM career. We have had a profound impact on minority students and helped them improve their self-confidence. In fact, some of our participants have come back to serve as volunteers and assistants in our other STEM events. By working in groups students have been able to build their critical thinking and teamwork skills to create products that can solve a social issue. One group made sensors for the visually impaired that aid in mobility and another, one that helps people discreetly and quickly reports abuse. Our impact is not only the people we teach but how they develop their ideas for the future.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
We would like to expand SMART Code of Life with additional workshops and tech incubators by encouraging older girls in other areas to start similar STEM programs with resources and coaching from the main SMART branch in NC. We also want to host a convention for all people interested in STEM, with professionals and students speaking about their experiences in STEM.
Unapologetically Me is a campaign we are beginning to formulate that highlights the experiences and accomplishments of successful women. We’ve been given the opportunity to interview influential young women like PERIOD founder Nadya Okamoto and Miss India Worldwide Shree Saini. Through these interviews and articles, we hope to inspire young women to achieve their dreams.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations between $1k-$5k
How did you hear about this challenge?