MAGIC News from 2018

December 2018: MAGIC 2018-2019 Off to a Great Start

MAGIC 2018-19 has been off to a great start with sessions kicking off at several of our partners on the west and east coasts of the US, including the states of California, New York, and Virginia. These partners are:

About 60% of these mentees are middle schoolers and the remaining 40% are high school students. Our mentors are located in various parts of the US; about 50% of our mentees are being remotely mentored!

We are also in the process of kicking off spring mentoring in our other partner schools/centers in Massachusetts, Texas and the California Bay Area.

As we look forward to another fruitful year of MAGIC, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all our partners, mentors and volunteers for their strong support of the program!

September 2018: MAGIC End of Year Presentation at Ann Richards

Tuesday, the 25th. of September, marked the conclusion of the Spring MAGIC mentoring session (extended into Summer at the request of the school, to allow the mentees more time on their MAGIC projects) at the Ann Richard's School for Young Women Leaders in Austin, Texas. Two mentee-mentor pairs participated in this session: sixth grader Sarah E., mentored in person by Cher Shedd, and eighth grader Kate R., mentored remotely by Hosanna Fuller.

Sarah presented her project at the morning middle school assembly on the 25th. of September, while Kate presented earlier in August. Hundreds of students made up their audience! Sarah did a two part project as part of MAGIC — engineering a roller coaster, and building a basic HTML/CSS website about her roller coaster. Her presentation concluded with a Q&A session with a very interested audience. As part of her MAGIC project, Kate learned HTML/CSS/JavaScript to build a website to create drawings.

Congratulations to both the mentor-mentee pairs on an amazing job! MAGIC is excited to continue this partnership with the Ann Richards School.

September 2018: MAGIC Summer Session Comes to a Close!

The 2018 summer session of MAGIC came to a close with two final presentation events, one on the west coast and the other on the east coast.

The east coast final presentation event took place on Thursday, September 13th., and was hosted by Kayla Dorst, Director of Program and Innovation at the Leap for Education (Leap4Ed) organization in Salem, MA. Three mentees from three schools presented at this event. Special thanks to Kayla for integrating Jalyn M. from Southern California into the east coast presentation line up.

  • Jalyn M. from Thousand Oaks High School in Southern California; Jalyn was remotely mentored by Jen T. from USAA in San Antonio, TX.
  • Jessica V. from Saltonstall School in Salem, MA; Jessica was remotely mentored by Stephanie C. from MIT in Boston, MA.
  • Kyla B. from Salem High School in Salem, MA; Kyla was remotely mentored by Juhi B. from Rice University in Houston, TX.

The west coast final presentation event was hosted by the Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, CA, on Friday, the 14th. of September. Six mentees from four schools presented at this event:

  • Alexa T. from the Menlo School in Atherton, CA; Alexa was remotely mentored by Shruthi B. from the University of Chicago, IL.
  • Gabriella D. from Notre Dame High School in San Jose, CA; Gabriella was mentored by Melissa M. from Varian Medical Systems in San Jose, CA.
  • Mariana H. from Notre Dame High School in San Jose, CA; Mariana was mentored by Anne Z. from Honeycomb Data in Santa Clara, CA.
  • Priscilla V. from Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, CA; Priscilla was remotely mentored by Claire B. from the University of California in Santa Cruz, CA.
  • Shravya S. from the Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, VA; Shravya was remotely mentored by Naina T. from DNAnexus in Mountain View, CA.
  • Shreya B. from Notre Dame High School in San Jose, CA; Shreya was mentored by Smriti P. from MIT, MA, who was also a Google intern during the summer.

Many thanks to the MAGIC coordinators for a successful summer session: Ira Pramanick for Menlo and Independents, Jannie Wu for Eastside, Kim Fujikawa for Leap4Ed, and Shami Ahuja for Notre Dame.

Kudos to all the mentees for a very impressive set of presentations, demos and their projects, and to their mentors for guiding them in their MAGICal journey this summer!

July 2018: MAGIC Summer Mentoring Kicks Off

As in the past few summers, MAGIC has offered a limited number of mentoring slots this summer. Eight mentees have been accepted in the program this summer, three from the east coast and five from the west coast.

MAGIC is pleased to pilot a partnership this summer with Notre Dame High School in San Jose, with three high schoolers participating as mentees. The other two west coast mentees are from our existing partner schools, the Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, CA, and the Menlo School in Atherton, CA. From the east coast, two of the mentees are from MAGIC's existing partner organization, Leap for Education, based in Salem, MA, and the third mentee comes from an independent, non-partner school channel, and is located in Virginia.

Seven of the mentees are high schoolers, and one is from the sixth grade. Five of the mentees are being remotely mentored, and the remaining three have face-to-face mentoring meetings.

All the best to the summer mentee-mentor pairs for a fruitful mentoring session. We cannot wait to hear you present your projects at the end of the summer session!

June 2018: MAGIC End-of-Year Presentations Conclude

The last of the 2017-18 mentee presentations for MAGIC was held on Monday, June 18th., at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA. The mentees who presented were from non-partner schools, and had applied to the MAGIC program via the website. Many of these mentees are located in various parts of the US, as are many of the mentors, and traveled to the bay area for this presentation. Four of the mentees were middle schoolers and three were high schoolers. Here are the slides presented at the event.

The seven mentee-mentor pairs and their projects were as follows:

  • Svan L (mentee), Anouk S (mentor), Apps Using MIT AppInventor
  • Akshaya NR (mentee), Sandra H (mentor), Community Service Website
  • Madison S (mentee), Neelam K (mentor), Core Java Apps
  • Aishani M (mentee), Meera V (mentor), AWS Photo Recognition
  • Gracie M (mentee), Laney S (mentor), Grocery Store App for the Visually Impaired
  • Ishani S (mentee), Melissa M (mentor), Squarefinder: Creating QR Codes
  • Jalyn M (mentee), Jen T (mentor), Concussion Symptom Tracking Mobile App

These pairs were coordinated by Ira Pramanick and Kim Fujikawa from MAGIC.

A huge congratulations to all the mentees and their mentors for a job superbly done!

MAGIC is grateful to the Tech Museum for sponsoring this event, and is looking forward to a fruitful partnership in the future!

June 2018: MAGIC End-of-Year Presentations in Southern California

MAGIC’s end-of-year presentations continued in Southern California at the Yeshiva of Los Angeles Girls High School (YULA) on Friday June 8th. The presentations were held in the YULA STEAM Lab with an audience that included the YULA STEM Club, parents of the mentees, YULA administrative staff, and mentors (both in person and remote). Four mentees completed their MAGIC program: Jennifer P., Natalie S., Eliana S., and Elisheva G. Their mentors were Jessica W., Joan D., Iryna B., and Adele L. respectively. Each of the mentees presented their final projects, as outlined below. The presentation slides can be viewed here.

  • Jennifer’s interest in web application development led her to both defend and attack a website utilizing virtual machines to simulate offensive and defensive computers.
  • Natalie conceptualized and developed a website that examines the causes, effects and relievers of stress.
  • Eliana focused on research into factors that influence how well people remember words. She also explored many areas of science, including artificial intelligence and embryology.
  • Elisheva created an app that can detect traumatic impact from changes in temperature, atmospheric pressure, etc., and then send out a signal to call for help.

Special thanks to Jordana Wertheimer, Director of Student Life and Leadership, for hosting the presentation at YULA. This session at YULA was coordinated by Kim Fujikawa from MAGIC.

May 2018: MAGIC End-of-Year Presentations Continue

The week of May 20th. witnessed three final presentation events for MAGIC.

The first one was held on Monday, May 21st., at the offices of the Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD). The final event was for a pilot session of MAGIC at MUSD, in which six middle schoolers from Thomas Russell Middle School and Rancho Middle School were selected and paired with a MAGIC mentor each. Four of the mentors were located in the bay area, one in Santa Cruz, and the sixth one in New Orleans. The mentoring was therefore face to face or remote, depending on the location of the mentor. The six mentees were Aaryani V., Annabelle L., Anvesha T., Maria V., Meriam S. and Theonne M., and the mentors were Anurupa Rao, Jaelle Scheuerman, Katherine Dale, Madhura Limaye, Shami Ahuja and Soja Marie-Morgens. This MAGIC session was jointly coordinated by Robert Jung from MUSD and Linsday Rawitscher from MAGIC, with significant help from Shami Ahuja from MAGIC. Slides of the final presentation can be found here.

The second final event was held at The Girls' Middle School (GMS) on Tuesday, May 22nd. Five middle school girls from GMS were selected into the program: Anjali U., Ella T., Leslie S., Meghana I., and Mia T. All five of the mentors in this case were located in the bay area, and the mentoring was mostly face to face. The mentors were Dhana Shunmugasundram, Pi-chuan Chang, Priscilla Pham, Ranjitha Kulkarni, and Tasneem Dalal.

This event marked the completion of a ten-year partnership between GMS and MAGIC. GMS was the initial partner for MAGIC in its pilot year, the 2008-2009 session. Since then, MAGIC has been fortunate to have GMS as a partner each year. To date, MAGIC has mentored more than 60 girls from GMS, and looks forward to many more years of partnership in the future. This year's session was jointly coordinated by Tricia Kellison from GMS and Ira Pramanick from MAGIC. Slides of the presentation from this year can be found here.

The last final presentation event of the week was held on Thursday May 24th. at the Stella K Abraham High School (SKA) in New York. The partnership between MAGIC and SKA was formed in the fall of 2017, and SKA is the first partner of MAGIC in the state of New York! Five high schooler mentees were selected into this pilot session of MAGIC at SKA, and they are: Abigail R., Atara I., Kayla E., Meira S., and Priva H. All five mentees were remotely mentored by mentors located outside New York, from Boston all the way to New Orleans. The mentors are: Stephanie Chou, Elisheva Aeder, Mindy Levine, Sonali Pandhe, and Andrea Martin. This session was jointly coordinated by Chana Glatt from SKA and Lindsay Rawitcher from MAGIC, with significant guidance from Ben Lunzer of MAGIC. Here're the slides presented at this event.

The mentees worked on a wide range of extremely interesting projects, ranging from building websites, robots, drug development for breast cancer, and using technology for architectural designs, to mention a few. The final presentation events were attended by mentees' family members, mentors, school administrators and teachers and members of the MAGIC core team.

MAGIC is excited about expanding its partners into various parts of the US, and continuing its program with its oldest partner.

May 2018: More MAGIC End-of-Year Presentations

MAGIC mentoring session completed in two schools in Northern California in the week of May 13th. Castilleja School in Palo Alto had the final presentation event on May 14th., and Menlo School in Atherton had the final presentation event on May 18th. These events were attended by families of mentees, mentors, school administrators and teachers, and MAGIC staff.

The MAGIC program at Castilleja had four mentees in this session: Claire W., Ellie G., Isabelle C., and Julia C. These mentees are all in sixth grade. The four mentors are all located in the bay area and were able to be physically present at the event. The mentors were: Deepa Mohan, Falguni Jhaveri, Hema Hariharan, and Venmathi Gunasekaran.

The mentees presented about the projects that they worked on with their MAGIC mentors this session, spanning a diverse range of topics from a "Dungeons and Dragons"-inspired game, website creation, Python coding, machine learning, and wildfire data analysis. This session was jointly managed by Ann Greyson and Angelika Grossman from Castilleja and Ian Gulliver from MAGIC. The Castilleja presentation slides can be found here.

Three girls, two from sixth grade and the third from eighth grade, were MAGIC mentees at Menlo: Kaavya B., Lucinda S. and Amy W. Two of the mentors, Lakshmi KP and Smriti Pramanick, are remotely located, and conducted their mentoring using Google hangouts or Skype. The third mentor, Michelle Dion, is based in the bay area, and did both face to face and remote meetings with her mentee.

The mentee projects consisted of building a website to locate a lost dog, designing and building a magnetically levitating car, and an Arduino based laser tag game. This session was jointly managed by Nina Arnberg from Menlo and Ira Pramanick from MAGIC. The Menlo presentation slides can be found here.

May 2018: MAGIC End-of-Year Presentations Start

On May 1st., MAGIC mentee Anna Y. presented her work at LEAP for Education in Salem, Massachusetts. Anna’s MAGIC mentor, Julia Harper, joined the presentation in person and introduced Anna to the audience made up of young girls who were presenting from the Girls Who Code organization. Kayla Dorst, Director of Programs and Innovation at LEAP for Education, hosted the event.

For her project, Anna developed an online To-Do List application with enhanced features, using several languages including CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. Her software toolkit consisted of GitHub Webpage, GitHub Desktop, and the Atom Editor. LEAP for Education’s mission is to empower first-generation-to-college and under-served youth to succeed in college, careers, and life.

This mentoring session was coordinated by MAGIC Program Coordinator Kim Fujikawa. The slides from Anna's presentation can be viewed here.

Another MAGIC end-of-year presentation was held on May 9th. at the Deep Run High School, Virginia. This is a new partnership for MAGIC, and our very first pilot in Virginia!

School sponsor Ms. Lynn Norris, MAGIC board member Seema Shukla, and Deep Run Coordinator and MAGIC mentor Deepa Kalkunte attended the presentation in person. MAGIC founder Ira Pramanick and MAGIC mentor Sunanda Sridhar joined via Google hangout.

After a brief introduction to MAGIC and the benefits of this mentoring program to the students in Deep Run’s Girls of Center of Information Technology (GoCIT) club, mentees Mia L. and Allie Q. presented their MAGICal experiences and their projects:

  • Mia wrote a Python program, learned ALICE while adapting a published solution, and was introduced to Raspberry Pi programming and IOT.
  • Allie was introduced to data analytics, and created a word cloud, through Twitter analysis using transformation techniques in the R programming language.

Both mentees showed great commitment throughout the program, and were very grateful to have been given this opportunity. Their presentations slides can be viewed here.

March 2018: Second MAGIC session at the Ann Richards School

A MAGIC session was kicked off this month at Ann Richards School in Austin, Texas. This is the second session of MAGIC at Ann Richards, which had a pilot session in the spring of 2017. This session will continue through summer of 2018, culminating with a final presentation in early September.

Two mentees from Ann Richards have been selected to participate in MAGIC for this session, one a sixth-grader and the other an eighth-grader. The sixth grader has been paired with a local mentor and the eighth grader is being mentored remotely by a professional in the San Francisco bay area.

Here's wishing the two mentor-mentee pairs a magical experience as they together explore STEM topics over the next five months!

March 2018: MAGIC Mentee's Paper Published in the PLOS Biology Journal

One of our past MAGIC mentees, Ria S., co-authored the paper "Digital Health: Tracking Physiomes and Activity Using Wearable Biosensors Reveals Useful Health-Related Information", while working as an intern in the Bioinformatics Group in the Department of Genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The paper was published on Jan. 12, 2018. The Stanford Medicine News Center also ran an article about it.

Bravo, Ria, we are all very proud of you!

January 2018: MAGIC Kicks Off a Spring Mentoring Session at Menlo School

The Menlo School held its MAGIC mentoring kickoff event for the spring session on January 19th. This is the second session following a very successful MAGIC pilot in the summer of 2017.

The spring MAGIC session at Menlo consists of three middle school mentees, two in the sixth grade and the third in the eighth grade. Two of the mentors are professionals in the bay area, and the third one is an undergraduate student of Computer Science at MIT, who will be remotely mentoring her sixth grade mentee.

MAGIC is being offered at Menlo School under the umbrella of Menlo's Bridge to Engineering, Science, Math and Technology (M-BEST) program, which has the goal of providing young women with various opportunities to explore their interests in STEM. M-BEST and MAGIC are delighted to be partnering with each other, and are thankful to the volunteer mentors who make these experiences possible for the mentees.

Here's wishing the Menlo mentee-mentors pair a wonderful journey as each pair explores the magic of STEM over the next five months!

January 2018: MAGIC in its Fifth Year at Castilleja School

MAGIC launched its spring session at Castilleja School, Palo Alto, CA, on Wednesday, January 10, marking its fifth year of collaboration with Castilleja. Four sixth grade girls attended with their parents, and received personal letters of introduction from their new mentors, who span the range of software and hardware engineers to product managers at a variety of tech companies. The Castilleja session runs January through May, when the mentees will do a final presentation of their projects for their parents, peers, and school representatives.

Castilleja continues to be an outstanding partner, and we wish each of the new mentees a MAGICal year with their mentors!