Alumni Spotlight is where you get to meet our wonderful STEAM Summit Alumni. In the past two years, we were lucky to have influenced over 40 young girls who are aspired to become young entrepreneurs in the STEAM fields. Each year, these young girls would work in teams to come up with New Venture App ideas during a two-day STEAM Summit. At the end of the Summit, they would then present their ideas in front of a panel of judges.
Through this experience, we want to encourage young girls to develop their interests in STEAM subjects as well as entrepreneurship, and to empower them to become the next generation of female scientists and business women.
In today’s Alumni Spotlight, we’d like to introduce you to our 2014 STEAMer and 2015 STEAM Mentor – Caprial Farrington.
Tell us a little more about yourself!
I’m 16 and junior in high school. I’m an IB Diploma candidate so I have a lot of school related stuff that requires a lot of my time. I’m interested in going in to science fields, particularly Biochemistry or Biochemical Engineering. Adding the “engineering” part opens a lot more scholarship opportunities, since not many girls are in engineering.
Music has been a big part of my life. I can play six instruments: violin, guitar, piano, clarinet, bass, and ukulele. I’m also really interested in public policy. I attended the UN club for the first time this year in my high school, and I had so much fun. I’m really involved with the club now since my school didn’t have an UN club until this year.
In terms of career, I’m not really sure what I want to do yet, but I know that I want to involve science and public policies. I kind of want to work for organizations such as World Health, or even the actual UN, but I’m still not sure yet.
When did you attend the summit?
The one I participated in was in November 2014, during my Sophomore year. Last year in August, I attended the second summit as a mentor. It was a lot of fun both times, but definitely different both times.
I enjoyed being a participant more. The process of coming up with new ideas, figuring things out, and putting together a presentation in two days was really enjoyable. It was stressful with tons of work, but it was also really fun!
What was your team’s App idea in 2014?
We had an idea for a temporary tattoo with a RFID Chip embedded. Parents can have the temporary tattoo put on their kids when they visit places, such as a theme park. With scanners in different locations in the park that can scan the tags on these kids, the scanners can then send notifications through an App on the parents’ phones. For example, when a family travels to the Disney World, parents can let their 10-year-olds go on a small ride by themselves and still be able to keep track of them. We were the only team that came up with a tangible product in addition to an App.
My best memory from the Summit was presenting the idea. My team and I were all very nervous to present, but afterwards we could all laugh about it. No matter the results, we all shared the same experience together as a team. I’m still in contact with a couple of my teammates after two years.
As a mentor last year, I really enjoyed watching my team’s presentation, because I knew how much hard work and thoughts they had put into creating this presentation. It almost felt like I was watching my kids graduating or something, even though some of the girls were older than I was.
What was your biggest take away from the Summit?
Before the summit I didn’t really know or appreciated the diversity of all these STEAM fields and the diversity of all the women who were working in those fields. Meeting the adult mentors was really helpful for me. They had jobs that I had never heard of before.
One of the mentors was a video game designer, and she also had a degree in photography. For a while, she worked as someone who checks video games to make sure that they were politically correct before they were released in different countries. Since I have been interested in public policy, that was really eye-opening. That experience showed me there are many career fields out there for me!
Have you been stereotyped for choosing a STEAM field?
When I was two I told my mom I wanted to be a doctor, and others thought that was a bit unusual since most girls in pre-school would say they want to be a rock star or a princess. The reason why people thought it was unusual was probably because there weren’t that many female doctors at that time.
What’s your aspiration?
I really admire Michelle Obama. She had gone through college, and she’s a very successful woman with a very successful family. She’s simply amazing!
What’s your biggest obstacle?
I guess it would be the cost of college. Like a lot of others from middle class families, I’m in between being able to pay off college flat-out and having low enough income to receive financial aids. There’s a big population that don’t fit into either categories, and there isn’t really much help in place for them. That where a lot of the loan debt are coming from, and it’s also the reason why academic scholarships are a lot more competitive now.
Any advice for the future STEAMers?
Literally any idea you have could be turned into a product. Don’t be shy about any of your ideas and just share them with your team because it could turn out to be something great! Getting the ideas out there is the most important step.
Also make sure to network with the adult mentors during the Summit. No question you ask them is going to be too off-topic or too weird for them to answer. They are there to answer all your questions, and they want to meet you and get to know you too!
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