Celebrating Vehicles for Inclusive Innovation at the White House

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The Millennial Trains Project repurposes trains platforms for inclusive innovation. (Photo: Millennial Trains Project)

Today, in Washington, DC, the White House is hosting its first-ever White House Demo Day to spotlight entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and platforms for inclusive innovation designed to help them move forward.

The Millennial Trains Project, which leads transcontinental train journeys for diverse groups of young innovators to explore America’s new frontiers, is one of those platforms, and I am pleased to announce that, thanks to generous support from NBCUniversal, we will be both doubling the size of our program in 2016 and doubling the amount of grant funding available to support the projects that our participants develop on these transformative journeys.

Our train is a vehicle and a symbol for people coming together to move their ideas and communities forward. It’s a simple idea, but one that has often felt like an uphill climb to communicate.

When I started MTP three years ago, not many people knew what the word “Millennial” meant, and the idea of orchestrating just one transcontinental train journey for a group of young innovators seemed almost impossibly difficult.

Now, having completed three journeys and engaged with 20 communities nationwide, we have established the foundation for what I hope will become a civic-entrepreneurial right of passage for future generations.

MTP participants engage in small group leadership development workshops called the “Pioneer’s Journey” (Photo: Millennial Trains Project)

Our journeys have reminded us that there is perhaps no better way to experience America than by train, in the company of other people that want to make the country better. And yet, the same could be said of any other country and any other vehicle that enables motivated groups of individuals to explore geographies of innovation and opportunity. The model works because journeys —> Read More

9 College Courses That Will Have You Geeking Out And Rethinking Your Major

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Colleges across the country are getting creative with their curriculum. Each year, universities are inspiring new generations of students to debate the meaning of symbolism in literature by reading the Harry Potter series and to learn about engineering and robotics by playing with Legos. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) departments in particular are turning over a new leaf and embracing unconventional methods to increase student interest.

We’re hitting the books with Emerson to bring you a list of dynamic and inspiring courses in STEM that will make you forget that you’re actually acquiring impressive skills and a top-rate education. In fact, they might even motivate you to go to class.

1. Street-Fighting Mathematics – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
While the students don’t actually get the chance to spar, they do learn “the art of guessing results and solving problems without doing a proof or an exact calculation.” It provides student with real-world mathematical applications to take on the world and their futures. Think of the streets as the many practical mathematical problems you face outside the classroom, and your weapons are the skills acquired in this class to overcome them.

2. Science from Superheroes to Global Warming – University of California, Irvine

Comic book fans, rejoice: The folks at UC Irvine have answered your pleas and offer a course that tackles important questions like how Superman flies and explains the workings of Wonder Woman’s invisible jet. According the course description, students examine case studies drawn from “superheroes, movies, and real world issues such as global warming.” It’s a classic bait and switch, pulling you in with Spider-Man but really giving you environmental science. But we’re not mad; at least there are movies.

3. The Joy of Garbage —> Read More

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