In the past week, I served as a mentor and expert resource at 2 amazing events. The first was the inaugural Startup Weekend Education Denver which combined a diverse audience of educators, students, and entrepreneurs. It was incredible to see a passionate group of mostly strangers who came together in support of education transformation and innovation. I’ve heard from a number of the participants throughout the week who have asked for continued support – I am 'all in' to help our growing community.
The second was the Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) Design Challenge in Snowmass, CO. The focus of the challenge was to empower educators to propose relevant, rigorous, engaging, and realistic STEM projects with the opportunity to receive $2K in seed funding to get the project of the ground. Helping to elevate teachers and administrators to think and act like entrepreneurs is a noble cause – getting to participate and witness it first hand was incredible. First prize went to a stellar high school digital media studies educator named Sean Wybrant. He self-professes to bring "Tony Stark-esque" virtual reality and holographic projection capabilities to his classroom and with his winnings plans to expand access to tools and technology, while promoting his own student’s experiences to get younger grades excited about STEM. I had the pleasure of meeting Sean last spring at a conference and found him both soulful and inspiring. He provided strong encouragement to the Couragion team in our very early days.
My heartfelt congratulations to all the winners and entrants of both events! For the CEI event, each of educators created a project on Donors Choose – and you can help them all accomplish their goals. Donors Choose is a wonderful online platform that enables people to financially contribute to educator projects. Right now there are thousands of classroom requests that you can help bring to life with a gift of any amount - go check it out! And for all of you who haven’t gotten started on your own project – here are a few words of advice:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – whether you have your own project idea already or need insights about how to make it happen.
- Put yourself out there – we all need to take risks sometimes, especially when you are trying something new.
- Stick with it – even when you are having doubts or suffering from impostor syndrome. We all suffer from it from time to time.