Lately I’ve been intrigued by an interesting topic. I want to know what kids – young, teenage and undergraduates are doing, feeling, and hoping. I want to know what is on their minds. What is the dominant force in their environment? What are they most influenced by? And how hopeful are they?
My interest in this area is piqued by the fact that I am raising a tiny human. She is vivacious, lively, curious and full of energy and interest. And I want her to stay that way. Call it my social experiment if you want. But I want this child to be as full of life as she is now, forever. I don’t care what she becomes and what courses she takes and whether she goes to an Ivy or not. I wish for her to embrace life with the same thrill that she does today.
I am reaching out, in my own silly ways to girls, and some boys from all age groups and interacting with them to find one’s who are similar to my Tara (or for that matter similar to what I think a grown up Tara will be like, if she maintains her love for life). I want to meet the one’s that have managed to retain that sparkle in the eye that fades away after becoming an adult. And when I find them, I want to observe how they kept at it over the years. What role did their environment, education, friends and parents play in that?
I just want to know that there are enough of such girls, and boys to give Tara company as she grows up. I don’t want her to feel like a snowflake.
My social experiment is flawed at its inception. My subject will grow up, and change. I will not have much control over that. But I still want to pursue this experiment. Because even if the primary objective is not fulfilled, I will spend a lot of time with kids and almost adults, and I will be stimulated, by just being in that environment.
A month ago I attened a She’s so STEM event at Google where middle and high school students from public schools in San Jose came for a day of fun and activities to our campus. We had panel sessions, cool experiments, VR Demos and some silly but entertaining coding excercises planned for these kids.
I met and interacted with almost 20 students that day. Only one of them raised her hand to ask questions. None had a sparkle in their eye. None wanted to be an engineer (that’s OK). And one was smiling.
This weekend I am going to San Jose State University, Women in Leadership League Conference as a panelist. 80% of the student who have enrolled for this conference are undergraduates. I am very curious to learn from them, and share with them my tips on how to “Get a seat at the table”. But I am even more curious to observe their curiosity, optimism, and hope for the future.
Outside of Tara and work, this is my key focus in 2017 and I am so glad that I can avail tons of these opportunities through Google.
I am not hoping for success in this experiment. There is no impact per say. Just a lot of learning and some insights into the minds that will one day run this world.