This column features stories from students exploring the intersection of creativity and technology through Hive Learning Network programs in NYC and Chicago.
Have you ever had a moment where everything you've done leads to one choice that decides your future? If not, waiting for that choice is unexplainable. It's exhilarating yet frightening at the same time; it's torture and pleasure combined into one. A bottle of emotions just waiting to burst! I believe everyone experiences this moment and should get used to the feeling.
As a student from a school that only consists of a hallway, not much comes our way. So when the chance comes for anything I never hesitate -- I become a part of it. Joining Technovation Iridescent was an opportunity I knew I wanted to have. I was never into technology. I am like you -- a person with an account on most social networks who watches YouTube and uses Google every day. It never grabbed my attention, because it was a routine to me. I will say my interest in technology was never a calling or a dream.
According to the article, "Why aren't there more women in technology? Here are a few clues," Charles Arthur states, "It's a sort of background hum of sexism; the sort that can drive people out of promising careers, and leave the 'brogrammers' looking at each other asking, 'Where are all the women?'"
But there are women in technology -- just not enough.
Each Tuesday, 12 girls from my school were given the chance to meet at Google. We created a science-based app, and after nine weeks we competed against other schools and each other. Divided into two groups, ideas quickly formed. As Albert Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge," and to prove it, creativity and personality were needed to present our knowledge. My group faced so many challenges that it seemed futile at one point. Not everything was easy, and simple things like creating a survey on what teenagers our age liked was a challenge. Deciding on whether our app should be a game or reference, and actually creating the prototype from scratch was mind-blowing!
Our app is called Ironic and it relates to healthy living. We believe that knowledge is priceless so creating a free app about healthy living and targeting teenagers is the best way to spread the word. The app consists of mini games, quizzes and a progress chart. Our big idea was to have a virtual avatar that users can play with throughout the game. Whatever you choose affects the avatar in either positive or negative ways.
Ironically, we found ourselves pushing through. Teamwork was essential! I can't express that enough. In most situations, being headstrong can be a setback. If you don't have the answer to a problem, you might be surprised that your teammate knows what to do. Voicing an opinion on anything would surprise you -- you might not be the only one thinking the same thing. Great minds think alike and ours did.
Through the program, our mentor helped us tremendously. (Thought we did it on our own? Not a chance!) Our mentor is a brilliant woman. She is currently in school furthering her education. She consistently emailed and texted us throughout the program. She was always on top of things, so of course we had to try to be two steps ahead of her. It was easy to be on top of things and have her say, " Oh, that's already done." I now actually use my email address more often, since I noticed how useful it can be.
My contribution to the team was to create a business plan. I had no idea what that was but now I'm positive that I can assemble one. We worked hard during school and after school. I began to get more involved and interested in ideas that can develop and grow into something big. I was not only the girl who wanted to write, but also the girl who wanted to imagine, invent and engineer.
Remember that moment I was talking about before? Well, every girl felt that when the first prize winner was being called. Unfortunately, there isn't a happy ending to my story... we lost. It was a night that my team felt defeated and I woke the next morning feeling hollow. I knew that in school I would see them and be reminded how we cried that night. Our mentor and many others agreed that our tears meant we wanted it, and we worked hard for it. I never thought that I would work so hard for something that I became emotionally attached too without even knowing I did.
I continue to be that person who would join anything that comes my way. That little impulse I have for new things lead me to Technovation Iridescent and I hope it will continue to lead me down extraordinary paths.