Stella Chen from the United States is OD Young Person of the Month for September 2020!
Welcome to September!
Our Young Person of the Month is Stella Chen from the United States! Stella is a high school senior from Dougherty Valley High School in the Bay Area. She is the Co-founder of creAItivity, a nonprofit organization that aims to spread awareness and provide guidance in the field of artificial intelligence. She is also the Founder of Codeveloping, an after-school free coding session for middle school students.
Stella Chen is passionate about the intersection between technology and sociology, and how technological advancement will shape the future. Presently, she is focused on empowering underrepresented groups to access resources in the STEM field.
Read her amazing story below and be inspired!
At 17, Stella Chen is a high school senior from Dougherty Valley High School in the Bay Area, USA. She is passionate about the intersection between technology and sociology, and how technological advancement will shape the future. Stella is currently focused on empowering underrepresented groups to access resources in the STEM field.
She founded Codeveloping, an after-school free coding session for middle school students. And co-founded creAItivity, a nonprofit organization that aims to spread awareness and provide guidance in the field of artificial intelligence.
Stella Chen comes from a first-gen, low-income immigrant household. Growing up, there wasn’t really anyone to guide her in exploring the STEM field. But after attending an AI4ALL camp at UC Berkeley the summer of her freshman year, she became interested in engineering, more specifically, deep learning robots. However, the deeper she dived into the world of AI, the more helpless and lost she felt. AI, she says, is depicted as a mysterious area that only those with tons of training and resources could excel in.
The lack of organizations that targets individuals who are beginners and want to see what AI field is about, motivated Stella to co-found creAItivity with the friends she met at the camp.
creAItivity is an organization that aims to spread awareness in AI to traditionally underrepresented communities. Their ultimate goal is to let everyone realize that AI could be used in daily-life, and that anyone could master it if they want to.
On Her Successes
Her organization, creAItivity, received a community outreach grant from AI4ALL. In April 2020, they used the money to host their COVID-19 challenge, which encourages teens to come up with solutions to societal issues caused by COVID-19 using technology/AI. The competition received many creative solutions, such as chromebooks matching with schools and personalized learning platforms using AI algorithms.
creAItivity now has 15+ team members from 6+ countries. And they are still expanding their team to reach more regions. They have been continuously updating blogs on their website on topics related to AI. They have also published their first issue of the tech zine, The creAItivity Review, featuring industry professionals and youth-led nonprofits.
Chen has been selected as one of the speakers (out of 350+ applicants) for the International Youth Foundation Summit, to share about her journey in AI and how it could shape the future.
In near future, creAItivity, Stella says, will launch webinars, mentorship projects, and conferences to help students gain understanding of AI. They also plan to launch scholarships awarded to those who are in special need and are also passionate about technology.
On Her Obstacles
The COVID-19 pandemic was one of their biggest obstacles. They had originally planned to have an in-person hackathon. Chen was initially super disappointed when she realized that hackathons, along with many traditional tech events that she was used to, will no longer be applicable.
However, she took the disadvantage and made it into something different. Virtual spaces allow for more flexibility and possibility. And she also believes it is very important that they empower underrepresented communities and pay attention to their needs during this difficult time.
Her Advice to the Youth
“Be passionate, be brave, be proud of who you are.
Always be passionate about what you do. If you aren’t passionate about it, find something else that will get you going for hours. Work hard and become an expert at it.
Always be brave and set a higher goal. Shoot for the star, and in that implausibility lies possibility or even success.
Lastly, be proud and confident. You are who you are, and you shouldn’t compare yourself with anyone else in the world, because you are the unique one. Take pride in what you do, even if you feel like it’s a very trivial thing, I’m sure it’s very very impressive.”
Who will be the Next Young Person of the Month?
You can be the next Opportunity Desk Young Person of the Month! All you have to do is get a friend to recommend your work or fill out the nomination form here. We want to use the platform to recognize and celebrate the efforts of amazing young people around the world. Oh! And you must be an active Opportunity Desk member, either as a fan, reader or subscriber!