Creativity and Innovation

The Real Teens of Silicon Valley

Written by Nellie Bowles earlier this year, “The Real Teens of Silicon Valley” examines the lives and motivations of entrepreneurial teenagers who have dropped out of high school or college and moved to the Silicon Valley to create or work for start-up companies. These young people are the technology industry’s newest recruits, sought after for their creativity, intellectual curiosity, and willingness to take risks. Some teenagers have designed alternative education programs to help their peers get jobs in the technology industry, teaching them software development and how to take care of themselves as independent young adults. This is opening new doors to successful careers. However, youth are facing problems as young workers in the Silicon Valley, including but not limited to: not being taken seriously, feeling isolated, and being unable to engage in adult activities such as open a bank account.

Bowles, Nellie. “The Real Teens of Silicon Valley.” The California Sunday Magazine. 7 June 2015. Web. 30 October 2015. <>.


Youth development or media innovation? The outcomes of youth media enterprise

Two researchers at the Swinburne Institute for Social Research in Australia studied the positive and negative outcomes of youth development and innovation by taking a critical look at two organizations that empower young people through media education. SYN Media, a youth-run community media organization, provides youth up to age 26 with opportunities to learn about the media industry and gain expertise in the field. Youth who participate in this program cite increased job opportunities as their biggest gain. Youthworx, a program that teaches disadvantaged youth about media, allows young people to express themselves through film and music while having access to counseling and mentoring. Along with creating increased job opportunities, young people who participated in Youthworx claim that this program provides them with a stable environment where they can express themselves creatively in a safe space. While these two organizations have different goals, they both show how youth can use technology in a creative manner in order to improve their lives as well as the lives of those around them.

Rennie, Ellie, and Aneta Podkalicka. “Youth development or media innovation? The outcomes of youth media enterprise.” Journal of Cultural Science. Vol. 7, No. 1. 2014. Web. 30 October 2015. <>.


This Flashlight Is Powered by the Touch of Your Hand

A high school sophomore, Ann Makosinski invented a flashlight powered purely by the heat emitted from a human hand. Her inspiration came from a friend living in the Philippines who was failing school due to her inability to study at night because her house did not have electricity. A young girl, driven by her concerns for the state of her friend’s education, was able to create a life changing invention. Makosinski’s determination exemplifies the power of youth, demonstrating that they are capable of great actions and can change the world through technology.

Nguyen, Tuan C. “This Flashlight Is Powered by the Touch of Your Hand.” 24 March 2014. Web. 27 October 2015. <>.


Could Chicago Teen’s App End Cyberbullying?

Thirteen-year-old Trisha Prabhu has taken a stand against cyberbullying. The Chicago teen invented the app Rethink, which is meant to give youth a chance to think twice before engaging in cyberbullying. This invention was designed after Prabhu learned of Rebecca Sedwick’s suicide following extensive cyberbullying (you can read Rebecca’s story here). Prabhu, a skilled programmer, created an algorithm that scans users’ posts and messages for hurtful words before sending them. If words such as “ugly” or “stupid” are found, the would-be bully is presented with a message alerting them that they are posting potentially harmful content. This tech savvy teen is combatting social media’s potential to be used for harm, subsequently creating a safer place for all users.

“Could Chicago Teen’s App End Cyberbullying?” Edudemic. 28 October 2014. Web. 27 October 2015. <>.


Teen Invents Sensor to Help Alzheimer’s Patients

Although technology is primarily the domain of the young, it has unlimited potential to help the elderly. Kenneth Shinozuka proved this point after inventing a device that would attend to the needs of his grandfather, who had advancing Alzheimer’s and would wander at night. At just 15 years old, Shinozuka invented a pressure sensor that attaches to a person’s sock in order to alert caregivers when patients with Alzheimer’s begin to wander. Shinokuza designed the product himself and is now beta testing it on patients in an assisted living facility. His story is a reminder as to how far youth’s technological innovations can reach.

Sottile, Chiara. “Teen Invents Sensor to Help Alzheimer’s Patients.” NBC News. 14 September 2014. Web. 27 October 2015. <>.


Could This Chicago Teen Cure Colon Cancer Someday?

At only 19 years old, Kevin Stonewall is working towards accomplishing his life-long goal of eradicating colon cancer. Stonewall’s fascination with biology began as early as the fifth grade, which led him to become a researcher while still in high school. He began to focus on a cure for colon cancer after a good friend’s uncle was diagnosed and eventually died from the disease. Stonewall is now a well-known researcher at his college, as well as in the greater medical community. Youth all over the world could create amazing initiatives, like Stonewall, if provided with the chance.

Breen, Justin. “Could This Chicago Teen Cure Colon Cancer Someday?” DNAinfo. 23 July 2014. Web. 27 October 2015. <>.

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