Multigenerational Group Tackles Challenges in Boston’s School System

General, Mini-Hack
The issue of equity is not low-hanging fruit... This month's mini-hack brought together community members of diverse backgrounds with a stake in the same mission— the betterment of the Boston public school system. It is no secret that with such expansive regional jurisdiction, issues of student allocation, school quality, and coordination of the two arise. The waitlisting system— albeit stressful— has gotten the job done for most Boston residents in the past, but for the few students who fall through the cracks every year, it has become imperative for school administrators to seek out a solution. Educators, BPS students, parents, and community members engaged in unrelenting dialogue, considering every step of the student and parents' journey and all possible bottlenecks from transportation to institutional transparency to perceptions of school quality.…
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March Mini-Hack Recap

March Mini-Hack Recap

Featured, Mini-Hack
Last week, McCall Middle School provided Youth CITIES with another rockstar student to present at the Youth CITIES Monthly Mini-Hack. Seventh-grader Vara Mathiyalakan shared his vision for Project N.E.A.H.R. (Nuerological Electro-chemical-controlled Artificial Humanoid Robot). Got all that?? Vara's project seeks to combine some cutting-edge technologies to allow an average person to control a humanoid robot using their thoughts alone. Inspired in part by this 60 Minutes video, he proposes to enhance augmented reality glasses (like Google Glass, for example) and incorporate developments in neuroscience to communicate with a robot. **To respect the intellectual property rights of Vara and Project N.E.A.H.R., this blog cannot share images of the designs presented during the Mini-Hack.** This month's Mini-Hack featured small group discussions, which were lively and generated great ideas for Project NEAHR to…
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February Mini-Hack Recap

February Mini-Hack Recap

Featured, Mini-Hack
This month, Allyson Allen visited the Mini-Hack and presented a problem relating to her work for the City of Cambridge. As Employment Planning and Development Director in the Office of Workforce Development, Allyson works with many nonprofit and community organizations to help young people (age 14 and up) find meaningful work and internship opportunities that will develop their skills and connect them with potential future employers. Allyson came to the Mini-Hack seeking to brainstorm ways for businesses to become more involved with young people through recruitment activities, building meaningful relationships, and going beyond “plans for outreach”. This month, the Mini-Hack tried to apply a problem-solving methodology adapted from IDEO’s human-centered approach to design thinking. We began by brainstorming wild ideas individually and, then, collaborating to build off of those ideas.…
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January Mini-Hack –Live Blog–

January Mini-Hack –Live Blog–

Featured, Mini-Hack
4:50 - Samantha Glassner is presenting the introductory PowerPoint for B.E.S.T. (Bicycle Energy Storage Technology)! 5:00 - And the discussion begins...in order to secure funding, what is our target problem? How do we sell this to funders? 5:05 - BEST was envisioned for areas (like India) where bicycle use is very heavy for transportation, industry, etc. This could be an accessory instead of a completely new bike! 5:08 - Kathy Huber is lending an experienced business voice, giving the BEST team tips for research to help flesh out a future business plan. 5:12 - After a comment about using renewable resources for manufacturing, we learned that the first lightbulb filament was made with bamboo. Thanks, Time Rowe (Founder of CIC)!! 5:18 - Steve Kurec asks if wind energy could be…
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December Mini-Hack Recap

December Mini-Hack Recap

Featured, Mini-Hack
The December Mini-Hack (held 12/13/2012) featured a venture idea centered in the international travel industry. Our presenter's idea is to feed on travelers' love of language and offer a unique lodging/accommodation experience. Think hostel-cum-language-school. The Mini-Hack set out to discuss how such a business could be structured - who is the target market?, what is the revenue model?, where in Boston?, etc. We vetted a number of ideas, discussed risks, and came up with a number of great ideas to help the venture progress. The team assembled generated a list of operational steps to guide our presenter in navigating legal issues (like zoning and commercial real estate options) and  building interest among the target market of international undergraduate students.
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Engagement with Enthusiasm

Engagement with Enthusiasm

Mini-Hack
For the November Mini-Hack held last week, Youth CITIES was visited by the Events & Logistics Coordinator of the Cambridge Science Festival, Sung Kim. The Cambridge Science Festival (CSF) is a multifaceted event that offers STEM-related lectures, exhibitions, concerts, workshops, and more over a ten-day period at a variety of locations. CSF seeks to make science accessible, interactive, and fun by highlighting the impact of STEM in all our lives. Sung Kim posed the following problem to the students, teachers, and entrepreneurs present:  How do we best engage the teenage (12-18) audience in STEM? Throughout the course of our brainstorming, one thing became quite evident – the teenagers who came to CIC to participate in the Mini-Hack needed no extra push or prodding from adults to be fully engaged in…
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