MacArthur Geniuses: Overcoming Barriers to STEM Education Hosted by Benetech & The Commonwealth Club
So. Good evening and welcome tonight's. Program. Hosted. By the Commonwealth, Club Silicon. Valley we'd, like to thank the MacArthur, Foundation and. Benetech for their support, in making this evening open. And free, my, name is Betsy Corcoran, I am CEO and, co-founder of ed surge ed surge is a news and information resource. On education, technology we. Ask educators, and. We help help them answer the core questions, around education, technology, why when, where, how should, technology, be used to, help students, to. Help all of our, students, and that's. Why, I am, so pleased to be here with this extraordinary, panel, tonight. Let. Me start by giving you a short, introduction, to we have. Immediately. To my. Right we have Jim Frick Turman who is the coat who is the founder and the CEO of benetech, we. Have Debbie Beale who. Is the, founder, and head. Of the posse, foundation, from New York City and we. Have the new Prakash who, is a professor at Stanford University. We. Brought them and you, together tonight to talk about STEM science, technology engineering. Math. Education, and how, we, can attract, more people, more, diverse, thoughts more diverse, people, to. Science. Technology. Engineering and math and why. Do we do this well we think diversity, really. Matters, so. Before, I come, to this panel which is an extraordinary panel, I'd like, to start with a question for, you the audience you. Guys are smart folks so. Why did you come here, tonight. I'm. Gonna guess that you were intrigued, by the concept of hearing three people, who have been dubbed as geniuses. By. The MacArthur, Foundation. You. Know in the past 37. Years, there's. Only been. 990. Of the. Folks identified, and you've got three of them right here on stage that's. Pretty cool, and. Exceptional. Creativity. Is the first criteria, that. The mark Arthur Foundation, uses when they accept, their, awardees, now what, what. If I told you that, we changed, it up on you and that, actually tonight we have a different panel for you, we're. Going to have an engineer who is blind. We'll. Have a child born in, the slums of Mumbai, I'll. Have the daughter of a cab driver from Brooklyn. Would. You have come here, tonight. So. Let's call this second, panel our panel, of the future, and our, hope is that by the time we get to the end of this evening, you're going to see that. There's an awful lot more in common that, that panel, of the future has with. The panel here. Tonight so. Let's jump, in I'm. Going to start with Jim for up the man who. Is, as I said the CEO. And founder of benetech, benetech. Wants to empower communities with, software, and build software has. Changed, how people with disabilities can. Read. And learn through. A program partially. Through a program called Bookshare, as a, program, called martes that helps human rights defenders, pursue. Truth and justice, and it's. Also built, an open-source, adaptive. Management tool. Called. Mirandy the conservationists. Love to use and Jim. Sort of summed it up this way. In. A quote that I love he said I started from a single Enterprise, entrepreneur.
Became. A portfolio. Of enterprises. Ringleader, and a guy who wants to help all of Silicon, Valley transform. The world of disadvantaged, communities. And. He's got plenty of fancy degrees - he's. Got a degrees. From Cal Tech but. He is also very proud that he has not quite yet completed, his ph.d that's definitely. So. Jim you started. Benetech because. You, came across a technology. That you thought could help people. Who were vision impaired, but. The company, you were working for it time didn't. Think the market was big enough and. That's. Kinda the kiss of death for an awful lot of ideas in Silicon, Valley so how did, you avoid that. Kiss of death, well, I presented. This product to our board and, they. Said how big is the market for breeding machines for the blind and I said. We think it's about a million dollars a year they, said but we've put twenty five million dollars in this company it does not match and and. So. They vetoed the product and I was really really disappointed and I went to my my lawyer he. Said the board vetoed the product help the blind I still want, to do it he says well we. Could you could start a delivery nonprofit, tech company and I I kind of giggled because I worked for one of the many accidentally, nonprofit, tech companies here in Silicon Valley and, I thought wow you could be like you could be like successful by definition but, but my lawyer, volunteered. To incorporate, us pro bono as a 501. C 3 non-profit a charity and we. Were, able to go into the business of making machines, to the blind because we figured even, it was a million dollar market, if we broke even it would be sustainable, and that would a nonprofit sector that would be a giant success instead of a utter, and despairing, failure, that would be considered among pcs in Silicon Valley but, the interesting thing is that even though the. Numbers sounded, small you. Felt compelled because the. Impact was, huge I mean, I'm like a typical geek right I want to solve important, problems and, the money thing I don't, know it's not bad but it's not the main thing and, and. It, turned out that we, underestimate, the market within, three years a five million dollar a year break-even venture. It's the only tech. Venture of ever been associated with that be planned but, our expectations, were way low, because, we, thought is. This really a market and the market is gonna fail to do a lot of the things that we, really should do but don't. Make the kind of money you have to make to, justify, to a venture capitalist okay come.
Back To some of these points. Debbie, Beale is an education. Strategist. In 1989. She started, the posse, foundation. Based in New York and the, posse foundation, looks for high school students who have strong academic and, leadership potential. And it creates a posse like ten students, each helps. Them learn how to support, each other and then sends, them off to. Some of the best universities in the country since. 1989, the posse Foundation has enabled more than around. 800, 8500. Students, to, attend leading universities. And together. They. Have won. 1.2. Billion, dollars, worth, of scholarship, money and. That's. Pretty stunning and. Debbie. Herself has been to some fine schools undergraduate. Work at Brandeis, and, her MA and doctorate, which she did finish at. Harvard. University's, Graduate, School. Debbie. Why, did you hope to start with, the posse foundation and and what's. Changed, over time, yeah. Hi. Thanks. For coming. Yeah. I just want you to know this is the first time that I've been like. This with other, fellows. On a panel it's nice to be with you. In. The 80s the word posse was kind of a cool, word in the youth culture I ran more. Than it is now but it meant my group of friends and there was a kid who had dropped out of college and he said you know I never would have dropped out if I had my Posse with me and. We, thought that is such a good, idea why. Not send a team a. Posse. Of students, together to college and that way if you grew up in the Bronx and you ended up in, Middlebury. Vermont right. You'd be a little less likely to say forget, it I'm, going home that, was the idea back then right, and to your point your question today. I. Am. Much. More motivated, by the social, justice aspect, of, Posse, than I was when I was a kid. I. Thought, these students. Deserved, a chance to, go, to these great colleges, and succeed, and not just get scared off or be. Shocked by, the culture, but, today, I think it's a national imperative and I, think that if we don't. Figure. Out. How. To deliver on the promises, that we made during the civil rights movement, then. We failed as a nation and we are not delivering and that's, what has changed, in this organization. Because we've. Really anchored ourselves, in that that's. Fascinating, and we're gonna come back to, that switch which. Is it's. Not just for, the kids, it's. Actually, for all of us as well. Now please meet my new Prakash, who, is an inventor, a physical. Biologist, and assistant professor at Stanford University, and he's got a wonderful description, on his, Stanford, bio he, says we are a curiosity, driven, research group. That, works in physical, biology. And, he's got a very pragmatic streak. Too, you, might have seen him earlier on, with, a very, very interesting microscope.
Microscope. Made out, of paper an origami, microscope. And, I. Was gonna tell you all about the wonderful origami, microscope, and the fact that you can order. Mm, a hundred. For a school online for. Very. Little money, but, he's got something even cooler that he's doing now he's building a centrifuge. For 20 cents the. World's fastest. Spinning, object. With, human, hand, power. That's. Based on one of the oldest, technologies, on the planet, which, is a button on a string. He. Got his bachelor's degree at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur his PhD. From MIT. Manu. How. Did, you ever, come. To the idea of, building a microscope, with paper I. Think. If I back off. Many. Of us in this room, have. Always been to makers, I do, remember, as a kid I couldn't. Afford a microscope, and I, don't know how many of you're carrying your own microscope, in your pocket. And. For. Some reason I actually took my brother's eyeglasses, and thought lenses, if I add them together I. Built. Something but of course my brother was really mad it was his only eyeglasses. And, the point is I think eventually, it is in all of us to. Change. And modify the world around us, and. Very, specifically, scientific. Tools are something that give you a window into the new something, that you have just never experienced, before. When. Jim. Zibolski my, student and I Jim's here tonight. We. Started talking about this idea of access you know what is the biggest set of problems that we care about often. As engineers, we are thought and told. To believe that, let's solve problems, that are that. Look hard on paper you. Know make the fastest, XYZ, and, not, care about the set of resources, we asked ourselves a question we're going to build an instrument that. Two billion kids on this planet, can actually, afford so something, along the side of a pencil of microscopy, and. It's a very different kind of a design challenge both. Of us were in Thailand. One time in, the middle of a rainforest and, seeing these fancy, microscopes, that had been put there that don't actually work both, from a context, of Diagnostics, both from a context of just making, people curious. We, came back and I think I had thought a lot about manufacturing, in, the print industry and, it, struck upon the fact that we could do this with two-dimensional materials. And a little, bit of robotics. I think, the proudest moment for me is of course we made the microscope, we wrote a paper, when. As an academic you publish a paper you think the world's gonna change nothing changes, just, so some of the other academics, in the audience you. Have to take the next step and we. Were fortunate enough that philanthropic. Organization. Supported, us and we made a call to anybody in the world of if. You want a microscope, we will ship you one and that really started us on this path where, we believe scale. Is one way that we have to assess this ourself at this point we've shipped around, 300. Thousand, fold scopes to, 130. Countries and that. Wouldn't have been possible if, we hadn't asked ourselves this question that. How do we take tools that we make not just in our hands, but give them to people and say what will they discover, so. Primarily. Driven by that question is what will they discover, is really why we. Ended up in this path I'm, spent astok I wonder. If you're starting to see what. These three, people have in common other, than the MacArthur thing of course, have. You started to see what, they have in common well. All three of you are involved in stem Debra you have a special, initiative around, creating. Stem, posses, and, Jim, you're in engineers, you're building, technology. Employing engineers, and you're running a science lab and teaching. Students, and we. Have talked for decades. In this, country around the, problem, of diversity, and it, is a huge problem. When. You anyway you cut it anyway you look, at the, number, of people, who, are working in science and technology. We. See that. People coming from different backgrounds, women. Minorities. Are. Disproportionately. Left, out of the conversation. Seventy. Percent of, the workers in. Science. And technology are. White, his. The, groups. That are Hispanic, black American. Indian make up about eleven, percent. But. In the population. They're more than double that. Women. May, have felt. Close to half of all the jobs in the US economy but they make up 29%. Of.
The, Science and engineering workforce. So. What's the problem, what. Have we why. Have, we been so stuck. On this. For, so long. Are. You looking. I. Actually. Think, it's not that. Complicated. And, answer it's, not a, it's. In, a subset, upsetting, answer I think, that we have not been able to get past the. Racism. That exists, the. Misogyny, that exists, in, this society and, I think it holds us back and, this. Is a consequence, I don't. Think it's that much more. Complicated. Than that why. Do some, kids come from privileged. Backgrounds and, others not and why do we have you. Know a class, system that in many ways is divided, by race, why. Is that and, I, I think we need to look at ourselves. However. Upsetting, that might sound maybe that's not the answer that you expected, but. We. Often, look at what's wrong with the kids, and, we. Try, to fix the kids but there's nothing wrong with the kids, there's. Really nothing, wrong with the kids kids. Are smart everywhere, they, have big dreams they're ambitious, and, they, want, to. Succeed. You're. Not gonna find a kid that says you know what I don't really want to succeed, they. Want to but. We. Don't have, a, society. That, understands. Its own flaws and, I think that's our problem. I. Mean, I think. That we. Have habits, right. Habits, that we think these things are true and where. We do, what's an example of, a habit. You. Know that. African. Americans aren't as good at math as. Caucasians. I mean there, are things who people. Got well. But they believed. It and it's incorrect, but. And I, think that we we, then take, data and we use it to reinforce it right we look at historical, data and say this much must be truth but. Instead you go well you have no idea that the institutional racism that's, already in those systems so if you look at the data, you're just reinforcing, the injustice that already exists in that, data and I think the last thing is that actually, getting, past this is, something.
That Is not that expensive it's not that hard it just requires us to think differently about the. Potential. And the opportunity, that is in these, different communities that's, and and, and we just have to it's we have just like get, ourselves out of our rut and just look at this, in a slightly different way and something you'll see the opportunity, rather than and maybe. Have it's not the best word but but this this sort of you know ingrown, racist. Attitude. That is actually, not there, if you look at people as being full of potential as opposed to let's say historically. An underclass, or treated that way by people, of a certain race many. You've been traveling all over the world taking, your microscopes. To different places tell us about some of the kids, that, you have met around the world yeah. I think it's very interesting sometimes, when I think about these issues and. We. Just made a small simple, tool it's. Actually the microscope, that takes us I don't take the microscopes, they just go and, it's, the drive in communities, it's. Effectively. When you ask I mean all the communities that you listed. Why. Is it that you, know science, sometimes which is essential, for our lives and similarly, many, of these people are essential, for science, we would not be making the kinds of breakthroughs we make if we don't include everybody. I'll. Give you an example, you. Know think about solving, problems if, you don't live and breathe a problem, every, engineer, knows you, will never be able to crack it. Eventually. When, you ask. To. Live and read a problem, and to, tackle, some of the hardest, problems you know you can talk about biodiversity, loss is exactly, matched to many places where there, is highest, environmental, pollution, you. Can look at I'll give you a fun example which was something, that I found quite. Surprising. Jim and I were in Nigeria, and one. Of the things that you often think about this is a very common problem in in. Many countries but Nigeria, specifically. Of a fake currency, and fake, this and big that. That's. Correct and. There was a kid who looked at this in, our community we ship microscopes, tell people whatever they want and he figured out a way that he could use microscopy, as, a way to identify, currency. And then, you know you can build a business on that it's. A brand new idea that he's posed by a challenge. That he faces every day and he is exactly. The right person the, problem is we, think of education. Is this bundle and then, you're supposed to repurpose, it sometimes. For. A good of a very small, of people what is most powerful that I find and stem is it's, just a tool that you get to apply to your own community, and, every. Single place that I have traveled I have met remarkable. People and one, of the things is places that I don't even get a chance to travel you. Meet because all. Communities, are connected, now they inspire each other you, meet every, single time an example, that, of course when you hear, a solution, you say ah this makes sense but. This, was an individual, that was living and breathing a problem, and so, if we empower, those people we don't just. Empower. Them and make a just equal, society, we, actually. Solve some of our biggest problems it's. A great point and I want to I want to come back to Debbie because what you, just said is he said we think of education, as a bundle, that we're giving to a group of people it, sounds like you went through a transformation, in, thinking, about what was education. That your posses, were going to encounter. Tell, us a little bit about some, of the students. Who've gone through the. Posses. And how you. Made again, that transition, from thinking oh we're doing something nice for them too. This is something for, all of us right, and also to connect, it to the news point which is if we. Think. Outside the box. We. Kind of we we will. Discover. Solutions. That we never dreamed of to some of our greatest problems if, we, understand. That diverse, teams, are, better. Teams if we, understand. That a kid. Who's living in the problem, might solve it better than a scientist, in a lab oh my. Gosh right, what why there's. In there the possibility is, there for. Great solutions, so you know we, have kids that you never would imagine. Should. Go to Vanderbilt. Or Bryn Morra Brandeis, or or Dartmouth. Or Middlebury. Those. Kids that you think of. With. The highest SAT, scores, right. Who, the, highest, GPAs, that you know are. Heating against each other to get into, these schools we. Find, students, who traditionally would, be missed on the radar screens of these great colleges, and what do I mean by that they're kids who maybe don't have the greatest test scores maybe, they didn't go to a highly, ranked high school they're, students, who represent the diversity of this country how. Can you identify a, student, who's gonna. Succeed. At, the highest levels, at one of the most elite institutions.
Of, Higher education in, the United States if they don't have a great test score let me just ask you a question for one second, how. Many of you took, either the AC t-- or the SAT just raise your hand okay. Keep, your hand up if you remember, your score. Okay. Those, of you who remember your, score keep. Your hand up if you're willing to just say what you got right now. Gentlemen. Right in the middle there I'm not. But. The point is why, are why. Are hardly, any hands, up. You. Believe. That. This score is a reflection. Of something. About, you right your intelligence, maybe you think it is. Or. You're. There. There's some reason. At whatever age you are right now that. You don't want to share your test score. We. Put, way, too much. Into, these. Tests, and, what. We do is we reinforce. This. Myth. That. A test, equals. Intelligence. Or, merit, merit. Scholarships. In the United States go to students, with the highest test scores and, white. And Asian, students are still scoring, the best on the SAT for, example, so. They're getting the. Bulk of the merit, scholarships. And merit means deserve. Just. Follow me for a second with this so how do we get black and Latino. Kids for example into. Our elite institutions. Of higher education we. Create programs, based. On a deficit. Programs, for poor at-risk. Minority. Needy. Underserved. Under privileged whatever, it is fill in the blank and. Think. About what that does to the psychology. Of the community, on. A campus. You've got kids who deserve to be there and then. Kids who are there because we are kind. And charitable and, we've, allowed, them, to be there that's not a good way to think and that's kind of what I'm talking about when, you want you want to break out of the system, we have to understand, that the system's perpetuate. The. Isms. And. What. You're saying is once. Again you said it earlier it's, not the kids fault it's. The point of view of the people who are looking at them Jim jump in here yeah so when I started, when I left my for-profit, company and was gonna make reading machines to the blind I thought we're gonna get a bunch of volunteer, engineers in every city to, help blind people, get. There, get, there reading machine I went, out and I talked to the people that we were going to work, with and they, said well you know none. Of the companies that make technology, for blind people will hire a blind person to sell, their tools of Independence, oh I, said we have a bunch of people who could sell the hell out of your product why did you give a chance like sure sure so the majority by dealers very quickly majority. The more people with visual impairments, and a, common.
Why Dealers for blind people with a turn for software so, one of them wrote a better front-end for the reading machine than I'd written and I've supposed, to be a bright engineer, type and just frankly he knew and he lived the problem, and he got it better and someone else wrote a currency. Identifier, because American, currency is exactly the same size so, I just started I just kind of sit back and let this kind of flow and I think but but I had this idea even. Though I was going to help blind people that, they, needed my help and what they really want it is a tool so they could just go on with their lives and if I can help them make a living along the side by giving them an opportunity to start a business stand. Back and watch, what happens. One. Of the, questions, so thank you very much for contributing questions. This is hopefully, and engaged, in interactive, forum and if you do have another questions, you can fill out the form. When. Women, and minorities successfully. Complete, education. In STEM subjects. Sometimes. They drop out of the workforce, what. Happens what do we what, do we have to do to change the culture in, the workforce, so. That when they have gone through this path they'll. Stay. I. Think. There's. A slight twist, to this question that I like to pose which is you. Know we think of this idea of stem, as a career. And, stem, as a. New, way of you. Know opening new opportunities which, is all correct but at. That same time, science. Is also a way of living science, is a way of making sense of your world the, medicine, that you're about to give your child or you're about to vaccinate. Your. Kids or, what, you're about to do based, on a weather event and where you should actually be living in the future they're. All dependent, on your, understanding of this world so, science to me and sometimes I, see. These statistics, about very. Focused, on career and especially, when I work with kids giving. Them tools to empower them to learn, how to ask questions, and. Eventually. It boils, down to, me the mark of success in, many. People that I see that contribute, very heavily to the field of science are, the people who went through the whole process of SATs course I went through that I mean I had to pass this crazy.
Exam, That I don't even remember now, all. Across India to, make it through but, in the end I don't remember any of that the only thing I remember that somebody told me early on learn. How to ask good questions so, how, do we turn this dialogue, going from, STEM careers. Into. A scenario. Where, we're also training the people for the right, opportunities. Of course, there is an opportunity if you're carrying a degree from a specific college but frankly what's, gonna matter most, and all. Of you have the power to hire and hopefully you're hiring the kind of people who, really can crack the problem and the people who can crack the problem or the people who really understand, they. Learn, how to learn, if. We teach people that you, have a scenario where we go into a dialogue where this just becomes a part of their life and I. Get troubled, by, this scenario. Where, many people are told that. You're not good enough because, you didn't get. This and we have X number of people and they don't actually get the opportunity to show their talent, so. Let's flip this around and, have, people have access, to sure their talent, and then creativity. Is really the measure and this is what's happening already I mean in terms of all these digital tools and all the analog tools that are becoming available almost. To everybody. But. We have not changed, the people and including, and pointing at academics, including myself I still evaluate, admission files from many of your fellows in the, same old fashion, how do I change, my system, to really, be able to have the, most talented, people rise on how, they think. Piece. Of paper and how, do we give. Them the courage to ask questions, how, do we get I think they're born with it we just stops, timing, their growth stops, are born. We. Have something, it's just because you're saying that called, the dynamic assessment. Process Dallas it was this, year. 17,000. Students across the United States were nominated, for a Posse scholarship, 17,000. Only 750. Won it, but. We interviewed. Those students, in a. Way that you you'd think were crazy a room like this big. Room no, chairs though a hundred. Students, walk in they've, been nominated by, someone, who believes in them someone like. You to write you know this student you know she can, do it but. Maybe, she doesn't have the disk or whatever, whatever the reason should be who she's smart she can ask questions, that, are good they. Walk in and for three hours, we run them through a series of activities they're. Building robots, out of Legos they're. Running a discussion on genetic testing, they're, creating, a public service announcement that they have to present in front of all the, people in the room and we're. What you could volunteer you're, walking around the room what, are you looking for. You're. Looking for the student who's got leadership. Potential. Who works well in a team who's, got great communication. Skills who, asks, good, questions. You. Doing, it for the first time would find the same student, that, I I, could find doing it for 29, years right because, they stand out, no.
Paper, Application. Will. Show what you can see in a live setting we're, doing this with 56. Universities. They're, changing. The way they understand. Potential. It's an SAT might be important, but it's not the only measure, fabulous. So changing, the way once again change in the way we. Are looking at. The students, we, jump into a second question leadership, changes, culture, or it, builds, resistance, to unfortunate. Changes, what, would it take to build transformative. Leaders, who. Can model the changes, that, our education, culture, desperately. Needs what, does it take to build those leaders. Jim. You've seen a lot of leaders you've seen good and bad I. Think I think the number one thing you start with is remove useless barriers right, because, if you never get the chance to even demonstrate, you never get into that into, that room with anybody else then, you, don't have a shot and I think that we, we certainly see you. Know we work in the field of people with disabilities, right and we just see these barriers. That should not be there that, stop people from actually having, the opportunities, that they should have and then demonstrating, what they could have and yes, occasionally some people are able to surmount these, incredible. Barriers, and make it but you, know but. Kids, from privileged backgrounds don't, have to ascend. You know and leap over you know ten storey buildings to actually get there so so, certainly, that my, thing is forget to get. Those barriers out and you'll have more leaders demonstrating. More of that possibility because, they've had more opportunity, how do you get the barriers out well. I mean I think we we've talked about changing people's minds right so, so one of the things that that we're, spending time doing is you. Know we're a charity we we, have a free library for people, with disabilities it's fab. But we're spending a whole bunch of time with the educational publishing industry saying hey if you remove those barriers you, would make more money and people, would have better educational, opportunity, Wow, what, what's not to like it the right way aren't you the guys who steal our stuff for you know for free like yeah but but still you still should do this because because it's it's the right thing but you'll make more money at it and I think so many of these things people are motivated by money many. Of the things we're talking about are actually, in the economic, interest of the society as a whole of the University. Of the employer and but. People don't think so, so, I know that's. Removing. Barriers in a very same way as you describe in the digital context. Access. You. Know we talk about this we're here, in, a, fabulous setting, and right at this very moment somewhere, in the Amazon is. A kid walking by I was probably picked up something that no, scientist, has ever seen before, so. Sometimes, recalls. Barriers, but. He has something, that no scientist, has a backyard, filled, with possibilities. But. Has no tools no, formal, training, and you. Know he. Looks at a bark and he's scratching this bark and it out comes taxall one of the most powerful drugs in cancer so. We think sometimes, of, this notion of. Access. Access, to tools really. Changes, but at that same time you have to remember that the people you're empowering, also. Have something, that society and, everybody else in general needs a better. Understanding. Of this wall to begin with a better sense, of empathy, for their own kind when, you start realizing that the whole thing is not a rat race that they're, not in there for something and many of these students I can guarantee you when they go back to their communities are, much more dedicated to the fact that you're, not just doing this just for, yourself, and you shine, most. Of these people then look back and say oh I was, lucky now how do I return that back so there is this amplification, effect in removing, access I think, when we talk about this idea of, making.
Affordable Science. Tools I really, mean this in a sense that if we have two billion kids we, really should be talking about everybody, it's not about developed developing, countries, it's really is about haves and have-nots and how. Do we look at solutions, that will scale, at the, planetary, scale because most of these problems are not just problems in the US as well they, are planetary, problems, and, the. Hardest, hit communities are, the communities, have the least access not. Even just to do something about it but even to understand, the problem, so. This. Barrier, that we were talking about once we do come up with scalable, ways, you. Are in a situation, where. They are bringing something to the table that we do not have. Not. Just in talent but also in their understanding so, one of the things that struck me when we. Had a chance to prepare for this panel, is. That these people look at the world differently, right. They, think up they look at the world differently and, what they're saying is, their students, are. Looking at the world differently and that, that is the great, gift that, they are bringing. But. There's a powerful. Question here, as well which is that systemic. Change, systemic. Across, the whole country is often driven by people, in power and. If. People, who do, not, look. At the world differently if people who are not who are underrepresented, don't. Have a seat at the table of power. Can. We break down these. Barriers. Okay. Yeah. I I, love, who wrote that question both of these questions are leadership questions, this. Combination. Of access. And, you. Know scaling, the idea of access is hugely important, but without leadership, we're. Lost and, you. Have you know in the United States for example you, 90. Percent of the United States Senate, is white, and. Basically. 80 percent, of our. Senators, are men these. Are representatives. How, can they no matter how well-intentioned maybe. Maybe. It's. Radio. No. But, what I'm saying is no matter how well-intentioned people. Are. It's. Very difficult. To represent as diverse a population, as we have if you're not diverse yourself. Leadership. I just, did one small thing you. Know we always celebrate Martin Luther King and it was just Martin Luther King Day I don't. Know how many of, us, in, the United States understand. That he as a leader was, leading, a minority. Hardly. There, was a very small number, of people in the United States that were Pro civil rights movement, without.
Leadership. Without, people, who are gonna fight, and speak, up and yell, and infiltrate. And be subversive, and be direct, and be all of these things I need to be in the room where it happens. What's. The Hamilton line that's it's right you. Have, to have leadership, it, is critically, important, all, that Posse does if I don't if you remember, nothing else about Posse, we're. Never gonna be huge, and and do, we're, gonna be small, we're. Gonna get a thousand. New students. Into these institutions, every year and graduate, them and, then han't like to hold them by the hand so they can become senators, and CEOs. They can run hospitals, and newspapers, and whatever, else they need to run so they can speak out in conventional, and unconventional ways. Because. We need them I it, is very difficult right now to point to anyone who, is a powerful, leader for. Social justice in the United States and we desperately. Need. Them. Jim. Minu, let's. Take it down to the micro level what do you do in your work environments, in your labs, to. Try, to let. These voices, to, try to support, these voices to try to support, these. Emerging, leaders, well. I I want to use, software. And data to hear the voice of all of, the members of these communities, I mean we're talking about large scale systems, change and yet. Often, we make these policies without, regard, to that and I think I think that if we do a better job of, doing that we're, gonna end up going in a better direction, and of course in Silicon Valley you, know people talk about human centered design and you, know user centered design and you, know the way we do it is we try to put the user in charge and listen, to that now that's that's a recipe for a successful, business but it's also a recipe for, a more empowering, social. Sector and the, like and and, I think that I mean one, of the things you know we start with reading machines for the body we had started the largest library, for blind people and, dyslexic, people and what we did is we said you're, in charge of the velvet building the collection so, do you scan a book it gets at it so instead of us deciding what books to say when people should read disabled. People decided what books they wanted to read and what about they've built the largest library of its kind why cuz they want to read everything like and. That's so that's, exactly what my new you have been talking about in terms of handing out hundreds.
Of Thousands, of microscopes. And other instruments right yeah I think I mean this is a beautiful question because, sometimes. When I talk about full scope and just internally, when we think and philosophize, where. The future is I. Often, think of full, scope is not an object it's a community, in, the end our, biggest. Role is to pass, ownership. Of where people would like to take a capability, so. Anytime, we engage, with any ironically. If you ever get a full scope there, is zero experiments. In the instrument when it comes because we want you to, really open up and say I have a clean slate what would I do so it's not exactly a Lego kit there are not instructions, there, are instructions, to make it but. Then once you have a window, where, you would look in just like if you had a telescope where you would point should be in your own control, this, is what we have missed in education, we, teach people how to read but then we point this is what you should read which, is backwards, because. In the end based on the context, of that person, so, the entire community, translates. All the instructions, and in, the end this. Ownership, is what create leaders so, Jim. And I and a few of us who, make, these tools possible. It's. Actually, I sometimes get overwhelmed, it's like oh you know what, we gonna do two billion kids is a lot of kids but. The biggest power that I feel is it's. Not just my problem to solve it's everybody's, problem to solve they're playing a role and. I have, seen every. Day around the world every. Single day we, hear about somebody. Around the world running full-scope workshops, with, zero, effort, from. Our side with, zero push, from our side because they care so, this. Notion that. Eventually that these leaders, know. That they're at the driver's, wheel which is exactly what you said Jim it's just so powerful because. You know in the end a lot of technology, that comes about which is a platform tool, and you, ask yourself like this is what I'm gonna apply this to, and this is how the world should use it I have no idea how you should use it you have the diseases, you have these tools let's, figure it out and I'm here to help and similarly. There are thousands, of other mentors, here to help so, we gotta be out of the driver seat because otherwise we. Are gonna take this bus to a specific, location what we really need is these people to really take them in where they want to go so, it's fantastic because, you've all answered another. Question the. Question, very precisely, was, you've created solutions, to, enhance the, existing state, of education how can we use your innovations.
To Reform, the education and. What I'm hearing you say is give, it away because, it's, people. Themselves. Who. Over for. Fabulous. Do. We have an anti-science. No let me not ask them. How. Can, we overcome the. Anti science, anti. Intellectual. Anti. Journalists, bias, that. We currently have in American, society. I. Mean. I think you should all take out a subscription wait. We. Can you explain that what we have an anti science. Society. I. Think. Well. So we can ask do you feel that we have. And anti-science. Doing, culture, is that everyone's saying yes we have that should. We take a raise, okay who says we have an anti-science culture, we are sitting here in Silicon Valley. Okay. Who says we do not have an anti-science, culture. Okay. Who can't make up their mind. See, we're kind of divided. Let. Me cut this question slightly differently, you know I think. In. Science, one of the goals is to find the truth, we. Follow the truth wherever it takes us. But. In the end the. Frontiers, of science have moved so far. And so, far into our imagination, because we love to build on top of each other's imagination. And. We. Left a little bit of a part, out which has become a problem, is. Society's. Viewpoints. But at that same time how. Do we bring everybody. To, that upfront and one of the ways that we do that is we share knowledge, knowledge. Is this important, bit that really, make us as, a as. A race, such. An important, crust of how these frontiers, move but, science, has a critically. An equally important, thing of experience. So. When you couple, knowledge. With experience, how many of you have seen your own blood cells let me have a raise of hands, so. This is remarkable, this is maybe like 10% of you and. That's. Awesome. I. Mean, those little blood cells make you work every. Little one of these details, and but that's experience. You could watch a picture of a blood cell and say you know I get it no you don't, when. You really, are bleeding, and you decided to take that moment and, look through what am I made of that, is what I mean by experience, I mean when we were playing with full scope and some of you gasps by what Kay looks like that's, the moment and I, think this notion of ecole anti-science, is in. Some sense are we truly sharing, the experience, of science with everybody, so, that we can have a true. Conversation. Sometimes. That, conversation. Is missed out. Then. Fake. Journalism. And people, who have another agenda. Can take over because it's their knowledge versus another knowledge, I'll give you another example when, I am out in the field my, hardest, problem in healthcare work out, in the middle of nowhere is. How, do I make somebody believe in medicine I mean. I say there are germs on your hands they've never seen one it's as good as this Voodoo's explanation. Who said that oh there is some spiritual, power here, and we. Know germ theories, right because we have experience, so we have to be careful, about this notion of. Not. Just isolating, and giving this perfect, answer because it might isolate these, communities, to begin, with really. Let's have a rational, conversation with. The important, bit that in science, as scientists, as all of us who you if you call yourself a scientist it is your, job to, communicate. This experience. Of science, to every, single person you meet it, is not written in your job, description but please, remember we. Will not exist if that was not in your job description I just, want to say I don't think, I think. Global. Warming for example, the, majority, of scientists, that's. Fast about it we almost all scientists, accept, it ok I, wonder. That we have an anti science I think we have a responsible. Reporting, I think. The media is not always doing the job it's supposed to do there's good media there's bad but. There's there's, so, much now in social media is so prevalent I think. There's a danger I hear, seventeen-year-old, students, saying we, don't trust the media that's incredibly, dangerous, um, I would love to have a long conversation about, trusting, the media but but that might get us a little off-topic, so. I'm, gonna go back to two. Other questions that, came up and I hope, the questioners, will forgive me for for combining them because there's an element of similarity. I'll. Tell you both of them one says I am a person of color. What. Advice do you have for people, of color for. Educators. What's the best way to be, a change, agent for. Education, and the, second person said how do we get students, with learning disabilities past. The. Merit based testing, reward, as members. Of a, disadvantaged. Community so that they have an opportunity, to be recognized, so I think. We're hearing questions. From people in these communities saying. How. Shall, we lead how. Do we get recognized, what. We. Have to talk about it we, have to just talk if you're an educator, and you are in charge of a classroom and you work with students, I bet, you do this anyway I don't know who asked the question but we.
Have To talk openly and, the more we talk the less afraid we'll be to make mistakes because we're gonna make mistakes. We. Have to not be afraid to condemn, what we believe in our heart. Crosses. That line and, is, wrong and yet. We also have to be open, to all. Types. Of opinions, and views it's, really, hard and I. Think for. You. Know there's this I think. No. Matter who you are if you're a person of color or or not, you. Have to feel like it's your responsibility, to. Allow students, the space to talk and that space has to be safe and it, has to be the kind of space where they can, come to you with questions now. So at Posse that's what we do all the, time we're running a retreat this year called hate. Hope and race in America. And. When you hear those words hate, and hope I. Imagine. It brings up a lot of images, and ideas in your own head so we're getting, 6,000. Students in college, to, talk about that we're bringing faculty to that too but just the, more you talk about it the. Easier, it is to find, solutions. Maybe. That feels like I'm, sorry, if it feels like too vague an answer but I can't stress enough how important, that is. Well. I think I think one, of the big issues that, we're talking about is people don't want to be defined by one, characteristic. And I, think that so many people with disabilities don't. Want to be the, blind person, or the, dyslexic, person if that comes out and our society gives you every reason in the world to deny or or not, talk about an invisible, disability like, that and I think what the, shift of appreciation, is is, happening, where, people are beginning to realize that many, of the things that let's say people with learning disabilities. Who, make them not good at reading you. Know many of those traits were darn, adaptive, at an earlier point in human society, and many of those things actually, work, in people's favor I mean Richard Branson and virgins probably pretty darn happy that, he's maladaptive. When it comes to reading because, it certainly is otherwise worked out for him pretty well and so a lot of what we have to do is stop.
Thinking That these are people who are broken. And need to be fixed and that defines them but instead say can, we get them the tools or the accommodations. Or or, measure, creativity. And productivity in a different way other than taking the SAT without. My, spectacles, I would be blind and no. One talks to me like I'm a blind person because I have a tool that stops, me from being blind I think I think it's the same thing that we as tool makers just have to say just, make those differences, a characteristic. Like having, brown. Hair or a, ear piercing, as opposed, to this life defining, characteristic, where people just put you in a box and say you can't do X because, you, have this one characteristic. Which should not define your life. What. Do you hear from your students, I. Mean. I think one. Of the challenges the. V often face is. This. Idea of coming, from their point of view and growing, up sometimes. You meet somebody who's already been exposed to many of these they've been put in the box for a long while and, although. Of course we have to reinvent ourselves as, society, but then we also have to tackle what do we do at this moment and. One. Of the things that I at least find is. You. Know there. Are moments in which. The. Way we define success, for many individuals and, the fact that, essentially. There is this cascade, laid, out in our academic system, of you know this is a college. That you gotta go this is what you have to do. We. Miss out the opportunity, of letting, the know that, the purpose, of this is to really find, yourself, in the end and. We. Really have to build tools to. Provide, to the people who've been put in this box many times and you know I'm you. Mentioned, the context, of race and. The. Context, of blindness. I see, this many in times in terms of just remote communities, where. You. Know they've been living a lifestyle, forever, in this way and now a dramatic, change is coming, and, you. Have this option of, either. Figuring. Out how to get out of that situation or you, have the chance of tackling, that situation, right there and, most. Of the time the. Amount that we have done in beating the same mantra to. Them has been way. Over the top so, we need to figure out ways of solutions, in which we will be able to prepare, the people although, this is what they have faced so far there. Is the next future in which they are part of the solution and that's, starting to happen with democratization, of, tools, at least for science, very. Strongly, there is a movement of democratization, of, scientific, tools, democratization. Of, some of the knowledge already happened, so, they need to believe in this fact that this trend will continue and. Eventually. They should see themselves, as problem, solvers but. We are in a very tough. Situation here because many times if I'm out there I'm working, with somebody essentially. At the back of their head they're really thinking about okay I mean all this is good but what is my next career move and that.
Really Shatters, the whole thing because you know then, they're. Really looking for that one step, which. Is what you know we've propagated, along the way is like which college should I be going to I, think that we, could ask questions all, night long but unfortunately, we're getting, near the end of our program, we've. Heard, so. Much about, looking, at the world differently about, asking, fierce questions. About, asking a lot of questions and. About. Us changing our point of view and us changing. Our way, that we look at people, what. I'd like to ask, each of you now is. To. Give us some advice. Give. Us some advice when we walk out that door or, turn. Off the radio. How. Can we look at the world differently how, can we do something differently. That. Will make a difference. Bring. More people into the world of science and technology so. That they will be finding. And inventing, and, asking. All of the questions about the future what's, something, different, that. We can do. Lead. On. I. Tell. This story a lot I'm gonna tell it to you, and. I. Think this goes back to the person who asked what. Can I do as an educator but, it's all of us. About. A year, and a half ago I was in a room. At. Deloitte. With. The CEO, of the company Cathy, Engelbert. She's. A woman, CEO. Of, a fortune 500, company there. Are hardly any of those and, she. Was talking to 50. Posse, alumni, and. One. Woman. Raised her hand and she said you're, a woman, and you're a CEO how, did you get to be there and, Cathy. Said I'm gonna tell you you. Need to remember three. Things first, you, have to work really hard, and. I thought. Okay. That's not that interesting. She. Said second, you. Have to find a mentor, someone who could really guide you and be your mentor and I thought okay. That's good. But. Then she said the third thing. There. Has to be someone, who, will pound the, table for you and let, me tell you what I mean by that she said I worked. Really hard and I had mentors, at Deloitte and I was really doing well but. There was this one person at Deloitte he was an executive and when, he was in the room where the decisions, were being made and you sitting at the table and the door was closed he would pound the table he'd say have you thought about Cathy have you considered, Cathy Cathy, is great Cathy, is awesome, Kathy, Kathy, Kathy Kathy. And.
Little. By little he, made, his point and Cathy. Rose in the ranks and she attributes, a great part of her success to someone. Who pounded, the, table and, everybody. In this room can. Pound the table you. Can pound it for one person, and you will, make a difference. That's. What we can do. Excellent. Jim. So. You. Know I we're. Talking about STEM, education and. As. A, technologist, I'm excited. That we can, shift. Sort. Of education from one size fits all where kids have to adapt to education. As we present it to, where they get to actually learn. The things that they really want to do and we've we're. Still at the early stages of doing this people talk about it a lot and, the. Thing that I talked to designers. About and companies, about is. Your. Customer. Your, user, it's. Not you, we. Know this in Silicon Valley because, of the demographics, but but if we really take it seriously we. Should think really broadly, about who our customer, and user is and and in my, field that's called Universal Design we, should be designing for everyone. Senior. Citizens, and, people who don't speak English is the first language and everything else if, you do that you. Will make, more money and you're gonna give more opportunity, to all those folks and so it's. It, but it takes a mind shift because as, an engineer I'm often building, for myself, and it's a big shift to. Think about a product that maybe, it wasn't what I would get but would actually help you. Know a hundred times more people and I think that's the shift the mind shift that has to go on in, many of the companies and the publishers, that publish, educational, materials to just, give, that much bigger, range of opportunities and people can find the. Real kind of opportunity, that is gonna make them successful on their. Own terms. Yeah. Just to add to this I think we have to realize this in. The whole conversation I don't think we said this this. Is probably, the. Most. I mean, from my point of view the most exciting. Time to do science, just. The world exploded. I mean, a we, have, probably. The hardest, problems. Ahead. Of us you. Know climate. Change biodiversity, loss, the, lack of resources, we just don't this is not an infinitely abundant, planet just we should be frank about this and so, it's in your benefit, to. Bring science to people but. At that same time in that, abundance, of problems. And talent, we. Have this huge, problem of, access, and, often. Enough and you're thinking about this you're thinking about yourself is how I can. Apply. The, democratization, of tools that have now become available to the problems you care about Jim. And I when we think about this problem, we. Can make as many microscopes. Possibly, just even more than the number of kids on this planet I know we can solve that problem I cannot, manufacture mentors. There. Is no formula for manufacturing. Mentors if, somebody, hadn't, held my hand and said, that oh you broke your brother's glasses, it's ok keep, going I wouldn't. Have been here and, all. Of us have the capacity. To bring. True. Experience, of science to people not, just say hey you should be doing stem or here I bought this book for you go read it no show. Them the aha, moment. Do. That every, day science. Is such. A magnet, once you understand, what a true aha moment is is really. Lead somebody, through. Their, own question, and if, we can do that at mentors you become an amplifier, you. It's, an amplification, effect and this, is what we have seen in the smallest little effort that we have made in our community, is that, this amplification, has been, ringing, around the world like a resonator, and all, around the world this keeps going around and round and round and those, mentors that had helped somebody are now helping somebody who's now helping somebody so just make sure that you bring on. Aha moments and try to be a mentor and it'll, make a huge difference, to your own understanding of, science, so. It, goes both ways and, if, I was not a mentor, I would not have been a scientist, I, think. We've heard a wonderful collection. Of, ideas and, things that we can all do. Look. At the world differently pound. The, table for. Someone. Bring. The joy of science. Of. Asking. Questions, to. Other people, and think, broadly about, who, the people are because, the. Solutions, are going to come from everybody else, and the. Next time you have an opportunity to come to. A panel, with. An unusual. Group of people. Whether. They're. Geniuses. Whether. They're cab, drivers, whether. They're people from remote places whether. We think we'd put a label on them, come. And open. Your eyes because. That's what creativity, is all about I, hope. You have enjoyed this. Evenings panel brought, to you by the Commonwealth, Club of, Silicon, Valley again, we'd like to thank Debra Beal founder, and president of the posse foundation. Jim. Frick Terman founder and CEO of benetech manu, prakash physical, biologist, at stanford university I'd, like to thank all of you, for, coming here tonight and, all.
Of You who have joined us on the radio my. Name is Betsy Corcoran, of Edie, surge, thank. You very much, this. Meeting is adjourned. You.