Why do you volunteer your time specifically with this organization?
The Ingenuity Project offers Baltimore city students an advanced STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education in a public school setting. As the prerequisite for eligibility is residency in Baltimore City, the program serves a diverse student body. The students are exceptional. One former student received a rare full scholarship to Harvard, including both his undergraduate and his post-graduate studies. Another memorable student received a full ride to Lehigh, both for academics and football. He was the first member of his family to go to college. It’s inspiring to see what many Ingenuity students have accomplished and what some have overcome to get to where they are today. Their future is bright.
Does this organization affect Baltimore as a whole?
Baltimore is a divided city, with the “haves” and the “have-nots.” In serving Baltimore City residents, the Ingenuity Project proportionally serves a large demographic who cannot afford advanced education. It offers incredible structure and opportunity to students of all backgrounds, including those from broken homes or those who don’t have at-home support or encouragement. In some instances, the program allows students to get out of complicated environments and into a place where they can thrive.
What is your favorite memory of working with this organization?
The Ingenuity Project holds a Symposium (known as the Idea Summit), where students present short TED talks on various topics of interest. A few years ago I served as a guest judge and offered feedback to the student presenters. One female student presented about her research internship at Hopkins through an Ingenuity-sponsored program. She spent months studying and treating rats infected with cancer. Through her research, she developed the novel idea to use a diabetes drug to treat and cure cancer. Her breakthrough resulted in a patent application, co-submitted with a Hopkins PhD student, to use this particular drug for this particular use. The most impressive part—she was only 16 or 17 years old.
If you could do one thing to change the organization for the better, what would it be?
The organization needs more financial support and more recognition from the Baltimore City Public School system. The Ingenuity Project and its students suffer as budgets are cut across the board for all public schools in Baltimore City.