My name is Nina, I’m 17 and am currently enrolled as a student at NuVu which is an innovative engineering program for middle and high school students. This year I am taking a gap year between junior and senior year of high school to go to NuVu. I decided to do that because NuVu is a really good fit for my interests. I’m interested in design, engineering, tech, and biology. I also intern at Planned Parenthood and teach sex Ed in middle and high schools around the Boston area. I’m also really into freestyle skiing and I compete in that in the winter and train throughout the year.
One example of youth advocacy that I find really inspiring is an organization called Camions of Care. Camions of Care is an organization that’s goal is to globally distribute menstrual products to people in need. They also work to destigmatize periods in general and celebrate menstrual hygiene and change the idea that periods are something to be ashamed of.
Hello, my name is Aveen, I have many hobbies such as building, coding, and assembling stuff in general. I am a 6th-grade student enrolled in Nuvu Studio School and cause and effect I am surrounded by many challenges that I love to take on. These four teenage girls organised a massive protest (and a silent one) against gun violence and police brutality in Chicago http://www.chicagomag.com/city-life/July-2016/Black-Lives-Matter-Chi-Youth-Sit-In-Rally
I’m Hairuo Guo, a senior in Course 6-3 (computer science) and Comparative Media Studies. My specific interests in these two fields were originally somewhat distinct – I’m involved in AI research for the former and have been focused on civic media/technology policy for the latter. What I find extremely exciting (and somewhat unsettling) is how rapidly those two areas are beginning to converge, forcing engineers and data scientists to confront problems ranging from those involving normative ethics (e.g., how should self-driving cars deal with the trolley problem?) to structural bias (e.g., with the spread of machine learning, how do we ensure that programs don’t learn to be prejudiced due to biased training data?). This semester I’ve been trying to become more involved with activist groups, something that a thoroughly enervating research project has prevented me from doing for the past couple years. I spend my spare time getting almost halfway through books, taking photographs, writing, having conversations with cats, and obsessing over my latest media artifact(s) of fascination (currently everything in the Buffyverse).
An example of youth activism that I find to be inspiring is the Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit organization driven by Harry Potter fans (many of whom are youth) that has tackled numerous issues ranging from mental health to LGBTQ+ rights to net neutrality. The effectiveness of HPA is amazing considering that it was founded on a fandom – I think that there are many lessons to be learned from how it has harnessed this (literal) collective interest and used it for civic engagement.
I’m Natalí, a current junior at Wellesley College. I am a cinema and media studies major with a concentration on production, so I really love movies and different forms of media! Homework keeps me pretty busy but outside of class I am heavily involved with Mezcla, Wellesley’s largest Latinx org, as Vice President. I also take violin lessons and like to play music in my free time. This is my first time taking a course at MIT and I am excited to get started and know everyone! I’m hoping this course will expose me to different forms of media that I am unfamiliar with and how to utilize them to make a positive change with everything going on around us.
As a queer Latina, I know how frustrating it can be to never find diverse representation of people like me in popular media. Mainstream storylines often feature predominantly white voices which can be discouraging for people of color who wish to identify with protagonists and see themselves on screen or on paper. One young activist that I find inspiring is Marley Dias who started the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign. Marley was tired of reading books that featured “white boys and dogs” so she started the campaign as a way to collect the titles of books that featured young black girls such as herself. With the help of her mom and attention from local news, Marley’s campaign took off and currently has a collection of over 7,000 titles.
You can learn more about the campaign here: http://grassrootscommunityfoundation.org/1000-black-girl-books-resource-guide/
I’m Lorraine Wong, an MIT senior in Women’s & Gender Studies and Brain & Cognitive Sciences. On campus, I’m involved with a few mental health organizations including Active Minds @ MIT and the MindHandHeart Initiative. I care about a lot of topics related to shaping a more equitable and supportive society, so I also do work in the reproductive justice, mentorship for underrepresented and under-resourced youth, mental health hotline, and LGBTQ legal issues spaces. The WGS thesis I’m currently working on is about the changing language used in regards to nonbinary gender identities.
Two years ago I took a class at the Harvard Kennedy School for Government called Philanthropy & Public Problem-Solving, in which groups researched local Greater Boston Area non-profits in their topic area in order to make donations to support the change we believed in and wished to see. While it didn’t fit exactly with our topic area of combating poverty, True Colors: Out Youth Theater has stuck with me over the years. Using the power of theater and art, True Colors’ program components encourage confidence, story-telling, leadership, and provide a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ youth to be themselves and share their stories. Here are two articles about True Colors being awarded the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by First Lady Michelle Obama this past November.
Hello All! My Name is Madeline and I am attending NuVu for the winter term. I am a Sophomore at Beaver Country Day School. At Nuvu I have done many projects such as creating my own virtual reality video and creating an interactive installation about the Refugee Crisis. Currently, I am working on a fashion and design project that is creating wearables for disabled people who are in an exhibit in New York. I am apart for many things at Beaver such as Field Hockey, Softball, Model UN, and Girls Who Code. I am very excited for this course because as a younger person in this world, I feel like my opinions are often overlooked and can not be heard. I am hope to learn more about civic media and how to become a stronger activist.
A person that inspires me is Azure Antoinette. Azure is a poet, writer, and performer. I first discovered her when I watched one of her Ted Talks in history class. She talked about a broad range of topic from what you love to finding happiness in you life. The things she talked about were very inspirational and they are important topics to touch upon.
My name is Christina, and I’m a junior studio art and biology student at Wellesley College. Outside of class time, I research reproductive biology at Whitehead and organize social and educational events for the Chinese Student’s Association and (BC)^2, the biochemistry and biology club. I’m looking forward to learning about more inclusive and varied approaches to activism, especially those with an artistic spin, this semester in the co-design studio!
I was born and raised by my single, working mom in Montgomery County, Maryland – a county known for its wealth, diversity, and high quality of public education. Though MoCo is generally seen as a ‘progressive’ county, many microaggressions toward the growing PoC communities in the area fly under the radar. While being so close to the nation’s capitol made discussions of politics and race common both in and out of the classroom, issues of classism and ableism were often overlooked.
In the past I always felt that activism (as I knew it) took up too many spoons that I was already struggling to spend on being a good student. Though I am usually an active and enthusiastic organizer of events, when it comes to sensitive or personal topics, my confidence in my abilities plummets. I write my thoughts, revise, rewrite, but everything ends up in the bin! My tendency is toward privacy, and I generally err on the side of caution when it comes to social media interactions. However, I feel much more comfortable expressing myself through painting and other traditional fine arts – because of this, I am eager to learn more about ‘artivism’ and to explore what kind of contributions I can make to issues I care about, while remaining true to myself and my limitations.
WAAM/SLAM is a historically significant Wellesley asian & latinx movement I have become aware of recently. About ten years ago, students protested the college and made demands for multicultural resources for asian and latinx students. Eventually, the movement spread out to include latinx sibs, and they were able to move the administration to increase recruitment of minority students, appoint advisors specifically for asian and latinx students, and to expand asian and latinx studies. I am still experiencing the after-effects of WAAM/SLAM today – we just got a new multicultural center, where the asian and latinx advisor’s offices are located. The WAAM/SLAM movement continues to inspire many current on-campus advocacy groups, such as Pan-Asian Council and Raiz. https://waamslam.omeka.net/about
My name is Chris Kitchen. I am currently attending NuVu studio for eighth grade, and have been home schooled for most of my previous education.
Although I focus most on the sciences: engineering, design, and innovation from NuVu, as well as the more academic sciences, like physics, and Chemistry (personal favorites). My education has also been heavily influenced by the arts (mostly music). My parents are both professional musicians in the Borromeo string quartet (Dad: first violinist Mom: cellist) and I play violin myself. Due to that, music plays just as large a roll in my life as the sciences, and is inseparable from anything I do. I’m almost constantly listening to music while working at NuVu, but unfortunately am usually too busy to practice violin. At NuVu, I am currently working on an educational visualization of binary communication between computers. In the visualization, I have a two way, full duplex, serial communication between two computers, where I replace 0′s and 1′s travelling through wires with oil and purple water travelling through a clear tube (water: 1′s oil: 0′s). The visualization sends full ASCII binary, and follows standard ASCII protocols, essentially creating a large, extremely slow, and colorful wire. This will eventually be a temporary exhibit at the Boston Science Museum (hopefully).
An example of activism in the youth that I find inspiring is the Affordabili(T)/Mobili(T)/Youth way by the MBTA movement. This 8 year long youth movement was started to improve affordability and accessibility for youth on the MBTA. The main goals of the movement were to reduce restrictions on student passes on weekends, as well as adding what’s called a “youth pass” which would give free transit for youth, charging $10 a month, rather than the $27 that a normal student pass charges. Where I found the story: http://youthactivismproject.org/success-stories/ . Main sources: http://dailyfreepress.com/2014/03/16/activists-hold-rally-to-fight-for-reduced-fare-student-mbta-passes/ , http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/About_the_T/Board_Meetings/YouthPassPilotfinalpresentation.pdf . I also have to warn that my understanding of the movement is a bit jumbled, and is partially based upon assumption, but I am still trying to find more information on the movement, and the progress it has made.
Hello everyone! I am Sam Daitzman, a student currently enrolled at NuVu Studio and Harvard’s Extension School Program. I left high school in under a month because I wanted a more relevant, modern education. I’m in my fourth year at NuVu Studio now, and I’ve worked on projects from fashion to prosthetic design to filmmaking and programming. I’ve organized a local youth civil rights group and a protest with the ACLU of Massachusetts, along with StudentRND’s CodeDay Boston event (which I am an evangelist for). I love the idea that design (in all media) can be guided by a moral and ethical purpose, rather than profit margins alone. I’m currently working an a completely reimagined treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder at NuVu.
For my youth organization, I’m choosing Girls Who Code because I think it’s both an excellent example of effective youth activism with clear goals, but also because I see some excellent ways that the organization could be improved. They recently ran a series of campaigns that were overly focused on traditional notions of “biological sex” that detracted from the intersectional nature of sexism in the technology industry. They also tend to emphasize wage/career-centric benefits of programming over the experiential benefits or the empowerment of creation, which makes them less accessible to young women. Despite these issues, Girls Who Code has introduced programming to a generation of girls, many of whom have showed up to events like the one I organize in Boston.
Hi everyone! I’m Jade and I’m currently attending NuVu this winter term. I am a Junior in high school at Beaver Country Day School and am so excited to be apart of this Civic Media CoDesign class at a school as great as MIT. A little bit about me… I was born in Colombia but adopted at a young age and now live here (a little outside of Boston) My favorite sports to play are field hockey and softball. Although I do love frisbee, football and soccer to play for fun with friends. Music is my go to source for studying and just hanging out. I do not have a favorite type of music. As hard as it is to believe, every genre of music I have heard, I have liked. I want major in marine science or creative writing in college. Although, I have started to enjoy different types of design I’m doing at NuVu and in this class. I love young activists and empowering people in general so being in a class where we will all act as those people is amazing. It’s honestly pretty cool just being a high schooler and getting to join a college course.
This is Katherine Figueroa. She was 9 years old when she was pushed into a life of activism. Her parents were deported in a worksite raid leaving her on her own. She was on T.V trying to reach out the president at the time (Obama) … and asking for help immediately. She marched and rallied until her family was finally released.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/18/us/along-with-dolls-and-stuffed-animals-making-time-for-immigration-activism.html https://youtu.be/skzCc3DRQsk https://youtu.be/7dLzIVuCgD4