Go ahead, think big

by Andrew Lee

Last summer I attended the NHSI Journalism Cherubs program at Northwestern University. One of my mentors was eBay cofounder Marylou Song. I collaborated with her on developing a website for the program which incorporated multimedia features.

Song inspired me to believe in the dream, and work hard for the reality. When she went to work full-time for eBay, it was nothing more than a risky dot-com start-up with three employees. But she believed in her idea, and her leap of faith is proof that risks can sometimes lead to success. I brought this inspiration back with me to school. Drawing on my experience working with her, I decided to enroll in the Studies in Scientific Research class.

The Studies in Scientific Research class with physics teacher Antonio Nassar has a different structure than any other course at school. Formal lectures are replaced by individual guidance. A large component of the learning process evolves from student to student interactions. The class has a relaxed playful atmosphere that is still very constructive. The motto for our class is Einstein’s quote, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

I hope my own excitement and creativity will inspire others to put ideas into development, and I’m also enthused to interact with other students who share a strong vision and passion like me. Students discuss and collaborate with one another, using teamwork and getting through difficulties, broadening their learning.

The emphasis of the class is on the value of collaboration and fostering respectful colleague relationships. Peer-to-peer interaction and brainstorming encourages a more imaginative and creative learning process, without the confines of academic pressure and competition. The research class is what I look forward to most throughout the day.

I have developed several iPhone and Facebook applications. I also recently formulated a vitamin and mineral-rich beverage to promote focus and memory retention. The class is playful and stress-free environment, and yet remains one of my most productive class periods.

The research class has made me realize how much leverage there is in science and technology. My iPhone applications, which generate about 20 to 30 sales daily at $.99, are small examples of that. We can have an impact on the world because of the knowledge of our peers, the power of distribution and the power of computers. There is so much that can be done with emerging technologies. Another example is Rory Handel ’09 and Maxx Bricklin ’09, who are developing a new hydrogen system that has proven to increase gas mileage efficiency. All of us are uniquely positioned coming to this school, and having great resources like the Studies in Scientific Research class. We should all be excited about that every day. We are surrounded by wonderful peers who are very hardworking and inspiring. We should really value our incredibly talented peer group.