When I was a kid growing up in Minnesota I spent many summer hours lounging around the lakeshore. One of the most startling, and for a young kid somewhat terrifying, events was when the small but fierce looking dragonfly nymphs emerged from the water, crawled up on the ground, and transformed into beautiful winged creatures.
As my third week as an intern at The Partnerhsip for Los Angeles Schools (PLAS) quickly comes to a close, I am deeply humbled by my experience thus far. Prior to beginning my internship, I was under the impression that under-performing schools in Los Angeles were underperfoming due to a lack of financial resources.
This summer, I'm expanding my professional and cultural horizons by working with Puentes Global, a social entrepreneurship startup based in Madrid.
What are some signs on your first day that your summer is going to go well
First, you get on the wireless network on your first try. I know it sounds trivial, but I have seen wireless networks take down many an intern.
Next, you get a seat and a desk, a nice one at that! A homeless intern is an unhappy intern.
Finally, there's already another intern there that knows more than you do. This is HUGE, especially when the other intern is 1 of only 4 employees.
On Monday, we ran our first brainstorming session with immigrant entrepreneurs. The day was coordinated by MITA ONG, a Spanish NGO that works with entrepreneurs, particularly immigrants and women.
As this was our first attempt at using the ‘design method' with an outside audience, Fede, Conchita and I were all excited to see how the session would work, and hoped that the participants Five entrepreneurs came to our session, ranging from website designers to a cheese producer. One of our challenges will be deciding who to design for, as a person trying to start a large manufacturing business is likely to have very different needs from someone running a one-man website shop.
This summer I, along with two of my GSB classmates, have decided to spend time working with Embrace, a company which is launching a low cost incubator for infants. This product could have a tremendous impact on neonatal care across India. Embrace is a non-profit start up which came out of an idea from the Design for Extreme Affordability class at the Design School at Stanford. So far it's been an overwhelming and wonderful experience, but it feels like the summer is flying by almost as quickly as the traffic on the streets in Bangalore!
"Today, our nation's drop-out rate is 27%. One point two million students leave our schools for the streets each year. What chance in life do you have today without a high school diploma? We have 2,000 high schools- dropout factories- that produce over half our nation's dropouts, almost 75% from the minority community, our African American and Latino young men and women. This is economically unsustainable and morally unacceptable." -Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
It's an exciting time to be working at Lincoln Center! For the past few years, the 16 acre campus has been under a major, $1.2 billion renovation. The goals of the renovation were to update the 50 year old facilities, increase the number of public spaces and improve the accessibility of the campus. The work is almost complete and the results look great! My favorite addition is the grass lawn that multi-tasks as a public park and the roof of Lincoln Center's new destination restaurant. I'm happy to report that I had lunch on the slopped grass roof twice last week. A slide show of the lawn and renovation can be seen at the following New
Working in nonprofits before returning to the GSB, I wasn't able to get as much training and professional development as many of my classmates in the private sector. I wasn't sure if this summer would be significantly different, since I'm still at a nonprofit. Two weeks in, it looks like I was wrong.
My first week at School of One (SO1), an innovative division within New York City's Department of Education that aims to use technology to customize curriculum and instruction to individual students, has been both incredibly busy and rewarding. After initial orientations with my Education Pioneers cohort and then my team at the main DOE office, I spent the past week at I.S. 228, a middle school in Brooklyn, where SO1 is piloting its new technology and learning model in sixth grade math classes. The pilot launched in May, and is now in full swing, serving the school's 250 sixth graders. Throughout the day, three sections of roughly 30 students each rotate through the SO1 Learning Center.