A Solution to Increase Kenyan Girls' Access to Digital Skills
A 2-min update from Jess, the 16 y/o on a journey to extent the human healthspan.
Hey, it’s Jessica! I’m fascinated by biotech and exploring new approaches to old age diseases. Each month, I send an update of my progress to people I look up to. Feel free to reply with anything—thoughts, feedback, questions, etc. I’d love to hear from you!
This Month’s Highlights
Consulting for the UN to Increase Kenyan Girls’ Access to Digital Skills
How can we enable more women and girls to access, create and influence technology by increasing digital skills and access to digital devices and the Internet by 2026?
This was the challenge statement given to us by the United Nations, which partnered with The Knowledge Society (a global teen accelerator) to give us the chance to consult for them.
For the past 5 weeks, my team (Dickson, Eason, Kristina, Naila) and I have been researching, iterating, and pivoting to create a solution. We focused on Nairobi, Kenya, and proposed an after-school mentorship program for girls at secondary boarding schools to learn about business and technology. You can view our full deck here!
We were fortunate enough to have our deck chosen and sent to the United Nations. The entire experience of consulting to solve a real-world problem was utterly eye-opening. The two most valuable lessons I learned (that can help you in the future as well!) were:
Fail hard, fail fast, fail often. When trying to ideate and implement plans, failure is often inevitable. But it can only come as a result of trying. Overthinking has never gotten us anywhere, so the most important action you can take is to experiment with an idea and see where it goes. Sometimes, a bad idea will be vetted out within seconds, and that’s a good thing. Start again, and fail often. Even if 80% of your ideas fall through, the remaining 20% could launch you to new heights.
Set aside your own set of eyes. By this, I mean seek perspective. The unique beliefs, struggles, and challenges faced by those in other countries are often strange or inconceivable to someone looking at them through a North American lens. The first step to solving a problem is understanding it, and in order to understand, perspective is key. I’ve found that simply talking to people who’ve lived through different experiences is immensely eye-opening, and will force a shift in perspective as you learn about all these different lives.
Other Things I’ve Been Up To
Joining the TKS iGEM team! Picture the Olympics, but instead of athletes, it’s undergrad students and high schoolers obsessed with synthetic bio. And instead of sports, the challenge is solving the world’s biggest problems through bioengineering. That’s iGEM. If you have experience with iGEM, drop me a line :) We’d be extremely grateful for any help through mentorships or funding!
Writing about how senolytics could treat Alzheimer’s disease. When I read that clinical trials for Alzheimer’s had a 99.6% failure rate (worse than that of cancer), my jaw dropped. With such an abysmal number, it felt that something was missing from our understanding of the disease’s pathology itself. In my article, I explain current approaches to Alzheimer’s, and why senolytics may finally be the answer.
You Might Find This Useful…
Untools.co has saved my life more times than I can count. It’s a collection of invaluable thinking tools and frameworks that can help you solve practically any problem. From decision-making to root cause analysis to prioritization, this site has been an incredible resource. My favourite has got to be Inversion — it helps me see the problem from a different perspective by thinking of the worst-case scenarios. I highly encourage you to play around with the tools and see how they can help you in your own life!
Thank you so much for glancing into my whirlwind of a month. I hope you were able to gain value from this newsletter!
Also, did you know you can reply directly to this email? It’s a pretty cool way to send over any feedback or thoughts. Every newsletter conversation always makes me smile. And of course, you can drop me a line through Twitter or LinkedIn too!
Till next month,