We were lucky to have, Ed Biondini, Chief Revenue Officer, (+ Chief Happiness Officer & youth mentor) at Teens in AI, guest host our Friday FedTalk this week. (FedTalks – like TED talks, with a tasty twist. It’s a chance to get for us to get together, develop our skills, and share knowledge amongst the team). Ed spoke to the team about his incredible journey of resilience from serving as Officer Cadet in the British Army to entering the tech start-up world. With a decade of experience in youth development, working with at-risk youth, Ed knows first-hand how impactful mentoring can be for both young people and their mentors.
It is widely known that STEM (science, tech, engineering, maths) careers are male dominated. Some disheartening statistics include “just 15% of Engineering graduates are female.” and “the percentage of women in STEM for technology and mathematics are just 19% for Computer Studies.” There are many reasons why there is a lack of women in STEM from social bias affecting women’s progress and career choices, to sexism within the workplace. However, one of the crucial reasons women are not entering careers in STEM is because of the absence of female role models. Mentors can help inspire and guide identifiable routes to pursue careers in STEM.
A Kaspersky Lab study revealed that “the biggest reason behind the lack of female participation in cybersecurity was the lack of female role-models or influencers around them. While 31% of the people interviewed by Kaspersky Lab said that they met people from the cybersecurity industry, only 11% of them knew women working in the field." Without an increase in mentors, this could have a lasting impact on the next generation of STEM leaders. For statics to change and for the tech world to become more gender-balanced this issue needs to be addressed.
The Teens In AI initiative, launched at the AI for Good Global Summit at the UN in May 2018, is helping to address these issues and inspire the next generation of ethical AI researchers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. They aim to give young people early exposure to AI, machine learning, and data science through their hackathons, accelerators, and boot camps. This would not be possible without their amazing mentors.
“We are working with kids from all backgrounds across the globe. In our recent Global Hackathon we worked with children from Syria, Ghana to North America and Canada. We are not only helping them work on their hard skills such as building amazing products to help solve the United Nations sustainable development goals but their soft skills too. It vital for us to help get more girls into STEM and help build their confidence through preparing and teaching them how technology is impacting the world etc. “ - Chief Revenue Officer, Ed Biondini
So, whether you’re a design thinker, data scientist, business thinker, tech leader, or developer this is your chance to make a difference, provide motivation, and help impact the next generation of STEM leaders
“It has been a fascinating journey to see how Teens in AI have inspired so many teenagers particularly the girls. I’ve had young girls say to me, had it not been for the hackathons they wouldn’t have chosen Maths at A-Level. Our Hackathons show young people that Maths and Science can be fun.”- Founder of Teens in AI, Elena Sinel