STEMFuture

Instilling essential life technology skills in youth everywhere and using innovative STEM education to change the world

Photo of Shuba Prasadh
20 25

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

December 10, 2001

Where are you located:

Parsippany, NJ (07054) Vienna, VA (22180) Rochester, NY (14602) New York, NY (10002) Tulsa, OK (74008)

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Website: www.stemfuture.org Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stemfuture.org/ Twitter (new): https://twitter.com/stem_future

Date Started

10/3/2017

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. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

I saw the lack of tech literacy (computer science, coding, online safety) around me - there are only 12 students in my AP CompSci class in a school with over 1000 students! This showed me that a 1 year class commitment is too daunting for people who want to learn just the basics. I also saw the implications of the lack of tech literacy - my friends and I were never taught online safety, and our email accounts and social media would frequently get hacked! People in my STEM classes are constantly saying “this is boring”, and "how am I gonna use this in real life?". I understood their frustration with the dry school STEM curriculum, and I wanted to change this by showing them the innovative real-world applications of STEM. When I started out on my technology journey, I remember being very confused about how to go about it! (What should I use? How do I START?).

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

We live in the age of STEM and tech, yet most people don’t have basic/essential tech skills; they should because tech is everywhere! There are a plethora of courses and online resources, but they’re hard to navigate and unappealing to a wide audience (such as beginners who just want the usable basics). Schools teach STEM topics rather pedagogically - making STEM seem abstract and dry - leading students to believe that it isn’t exciting.

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

Distributing our brief, effective online workshop series called: Tech-1-2-3 (https://stemfuture.org/tech-1-2-3-online-workshop/) which is an online, self-guided workshop that teaches learners these basic tech skills: intro to computer science, coding, and online safety - all within just 1-3 hours of learning! This workshop cuts out unnecessary information, appealing to everyone (those who don’t have huge interest in tech can still finish it and glean all the important info that they need. Also, those who are interested in tech will enjoy it, and they have resources from us where they can take their learning to the next step). Next steps guides written for different stages of the tech journey, from “just beginning” to “next level learning” Our Innovation curriculum shows that STEM is more than just the textbook knowledge in school, it is the new tech that is changing the world (ex. big data and artificial intelligence). Schools teach students about tech in an abstract/dry way - Innovation teaches learners about real world tech, making it new, practical, and unique. Challenges to help learners think of STEM as a way to create large, meaningful change and solve problems.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Sample STEM learning progression of someone who uses STEMFuture curriculum and resources: Complete Tech-1-2-3 - Learn basic tech skills like interdisciplinary computer science, online safety(malware terms, phishing, passwords, Internet of Things), coding logic Become interested, read our guide on how to pursue tech further - Includes lots of guidance, links to resources, and potential paths they could take, based on combining their individual interests with technology Use our Innovation curriculum - Read info about the latest cutting-edge tech is changing and how it is being used to change the world (stark difference from textbook STEM/tech knowledge learned in school) Use it and knowledge learned to enter our challenge - How to use STEM and tech to make the world better Join our mentorship network and ask experienced mentors for advice/questions on how to pursue STEM

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

Using a brief, high impact, immediately usable online workshop that equips learners with essential life tech skills within just 1-3 hours (many intro tech courses are too long/delve too deep and disinterest those who do not already have an interest in tech) -Computer science with interdisciplinary focus, so the content appeals to a wider range of youth -Cybersecurity/eSafety - extremely relevant topics that are not even taught in most schools! -Self-guided, no guidance needed from instructors Innovation curriculum - practical, new STEM, inspiring youth to use STEM to make a better world

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Impacted 200+ learners through our workshops - many reported that they felt more educated in STEM, tech, and online safety topics (ex. 100% of our survey responses for online safety said they felt empowered to be good digital citizens and more educated in protecting their data and privacy!) - many teachers at our workshops felt that their students really gained a lot of tech knowledge and were have fun doing our unique coding activities (read about what they had to say here: https://stemfuture.org/testimonials/) Impacted youth in local schools, youth organizations, libraries, computer clubs Implemented national chapters to bring impact to communities Working with 500 school districts and many national level organizations to spread our curriculum, resources, and ideas; potential to impact hundreds of thousands of youth!

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

- Large scale distribution of our curriculum (to school districts, underserved communities, public libraries, youth clubs and organizations) - Getting in touch with educators/public officials from underserved communities to explain our pitch/online workshop that teaches essential tech skills - International challenge (to show how STEM can and should be used to solve big problems) - Establishing mentorship network - Show youth that STEM isn’t just textbook! Expand our Innovation curriculum to more topics, work with professionals in the field to help us write it and provide advice on how to make it better - Create video curriculum (immersive content to present information to youth in a fun way) for Innovation and Tech-1-2-3

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

What we have: website, local and state support, some partnerships, some chapters What we need: -Funding: -- Making curriculum more professional (videos for Tech-1-2-3 and Innovation) -- Social media promotion -- STEM challenges prize money -Network/outreach: -- Expanding to underserved communities requires creating a network of educators from those communities who want to bring STEM to their youth - need mentor support/connections to help us assemble said network and distribute our curriculum -- Asking professionals to contribute to our Innovation curriculum -- Mentors to help us scale our impact and give advice/network for outreach -- Mentors for our mentorship network -- More chapter leaders/partnerships

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

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

I was able to get others involved in STEMFuture through contacting organizations to set up partnerships, setting up several meetings to present about STEMFuture to district officials and distributing our curriculum through them, spreading the word in youth STEM communities about our chapters to find chapter leaders, and establishing presence on social media. It was quite a challenging task to get people involved at first, but I’ve found that when you’re truly passionate about your mission (as I am), people can’t help but notice and join you in making it a reality! Other changemakers could provide us with mentors that we need for our STEM mentorship network. If they’re working to improve general conditions underserved communities, we could work with them to provide them the resources and assistance for the STEM/tech literacy aspect of improving conditions. We could promote each other's missions in that way. In terms of involving other young people to make a difference - STEMFuture has Impact Chapters (bringing our impact to your local community) and we choose young people to be our chapter leaders so they can do that and help spread our mission far and wide

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

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

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

  • Communities of color
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

Evaluation results

13 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 76.9%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 7.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 15.4%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 76.9%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 23.1%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 61.5%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 7.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 23.1%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 7.7%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 22.2%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 22.2%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 84.6%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 7.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 7.7%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

20 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Alisha Zhao
Team

I love how you're connecting STEM learning with tech! I took a coding class during my freshman year of college and realized that it's a skill that benefits everybody, not just CS majors. My non-profit Kids First Project brings educational and recreational programs to youth experiencing homelessness and I would be interested in looking into a partnership where we could bring your curriculum to the kids we serve.

Photo of Shuba Prasadh
Team

Hello Alisha Zhao ,
Thanks for your support! And yes, I truly believe that having basic STEM - especially CS - knowledge in this day and age is absolutely essential and beneficial to all since we live in a tech-filled world.

Also, your nonprofit's mission really resonates with me, since I am passionate about bettering the lives of youth (and I personally do so by spreading STEM education via STEMFuture). I would absolutely love to form a partnership with Kids First Project to positively change the lives of youth experiencing homelessness by contributing our STEM curriculum and resources to their education.

Let us continue discussing/forming this partnership through direct message. I look forward to working with you, fellow changemaker!

Photo of Ariyan Miller
Team

Hey There Fellow Changemaker,

Congrats on moving to the next phase. I wishing you the best of luck ! & I am sending love and light to all the positive things that you do.

Photo of Shuba Prasadh
Team

Hello Ariyan Miller ,

Thank you for your kind words, and I really appreciate your support.

Photo of Yusi Wang
Team

This is an incredible idea, Shuba! As someone who is a millennial in college, I am embarrassed to admit that I know nothing about coding. It is also hard for me to get started since, as you said, there are few beginner-friendly resources that go through the basics of the entire coding and computer science ecosystem. I started reading your High School Intro to comp sci presentation and I already have learned a few key terms that I previously did not know about. I wonder if there is a way to expand the idea across the U.S. and perhaps eventually integrate the presentations and write-ups you have into the curriculum of schools, instead of being chapters? I think there is so much potential with the idea and I am so excited to see you expand!

I would also like to share a recent idea myself and 2 other students are working on, Partner17. We thought of the idea when we saw a gap between the amount of work NGOs must complete and the limited amount of resources they have. I thus wanted to create a platform to help NGOs find student groups who specialize in certain areas, such as data analytics and research, to help NGOs free of cost. Areas of help can include fundraising, coding, and marketing, which I can see benefiting STEMFuture. This way, student groups receive valuable real-life experience and NGOs have more human resources to complete deliverables. We would love to invite you to join our platform, which you can access at https://www.partner17.net/about-us/. Please feel free to contact us at contact@partner17.net or message me through the Changemakers platform. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

Photo of Shuba Prasadh
Team

Hello Yusi Wang ! Thank you so much for your kind words, and I completely understand the paradoxical struggle of not knowing much about coding/STEM topics but also trying to find beginner-level resources in a world filled with overly detailed and advanced starting resources. I am so happy to know that you found value in what STEMFuture is doing and creating (especially in our curriculum!) - it is people like you inspire our mission. Also, I am currently expanding STEMFuture nationally by spreading our curriculum, resources, and mission to national organizations that serve youth. While I have worked with some schools and school districts to bring our curriculum there, I would love to expand STEMFuture to a lot more schools (thank you for the suggestion!) because I want to help equip all youth with essential STEM skills and an innovative introduction to STEM used for good at a very young age. I could not think of a better place to do this than in schools.

As for your initiative, Partner17, I love its mission - while there are several NGOs out there, there is not an established platform to collaborate and share resources between them. Partner17 provides just that. I will definitely join your platform and contact you very soon. Thank you, Yusi!

Photo of Carlos Shorter
Team

Such a genius idea Shuba, I really connected with STEMFuture because I also want to work with youth in my city, and make sure they are receiving the tools that can elevate them to become successful in life. I love the STEM concept and in my state we have something like this with our schools. With my venture I focus on STEAM STEM but with Art.

Photo of Shuba Prasadh
Team

Hello Carlos Shorter ! Thanks for your support! And yes, STEM is definitely a core part of equipping youth with essential skills that they can use to reach their fullest potential. Good luck with your STEAM initiative!

Photo of Anna Steenbakkers
Team

This is such a great idea! A lot of my friends are interested in computer science and coding, but they feel too intimidated by all the information out there. This would be a perfect way to offer the youth a way to test out their interests! Keep up the good work!

Photo of Shuba Prasadh
Team

Hello Anna Steenbakkers , thanks so much for your support and kind words! And I'm so glad that you can see STEMFuture and its mission as a solution to a problem that you've personally experienced/been around. The issue that you brought up is actually one of the things that motivated me to start STEMFuture :)

Photo of Surya H
Team

This is so extremely cool!!! Making STEM accessible for everyone, no matter the level of interest or familiarity, is an admirable goal. I hope this project continues to grow!

Photo of Shuba Prasadh
Team

Hi Surya H ! Thank you for your support! And yes, spreading accessible quality STEM education for everyone is such an important thing, especially in today's STEM-filled world! I can't wait to keep working towards this mission and see where this project goes as well :)

Photo of Karen S
Team

This idea is so cool! Can’t wait to see where it goes! I love how you’re so passionate about STEM!

Photo of Shuba Prasadh
Team

Hello Karen S , thank you so much for your support for STEMFuture and my passion for STEM and spreading STEM education :)

Photo of Olivia
Team

This idea is absolutely FANTASTIC, shuba! your passion for innovation in tech is admirable. i cant wait to see where this goes! STEM is the future!

Photo of Shuba Prasadh
Team

Hello Olivia! Thank you so much for your support and kind words. And yes, STEM is indeed the future! I can't wait to keep working towards creating impact for youth through STEMFuture :)

Photo of Brittany Corner
Team

STEM is the way of the future and it is always great to see a young person who is so hungry to learn and teach about it

Photo of Shuba Prasadh
Team

Hello Brittany Corner ! Thank you for your support! As someone who believes in equipping youth with essential skills, I find your contributions towards helping students navigate their student loans through financial education really useful and great!

Photo of Silky Gray
Team

Such a genius idea Shuba, I really connected with STEMFuture because I also want to work with youth in my city, and make sure they are receiving the tools that can elevate them to become successful in life. I would definitely love a collaboration with you in the future.

Photo of Shuba Prasadh
Team

Hello Silky Gray !
Thank you so much for your support, and I completely agree that STEM skills are an essential part of helping today's youth navigate their world and reach their highest potential! I would love to collaborate with you and your project, Baltimore Renaissance (whose mission of helping youth really resonates with me), by sharing STEMFuture resources, curriculum, and more to help Baltimore's youth!