Meet Hannah Guan, a rising 10th grader at Basis San Antonio Shavano. She is an international math champion at the 2018 Primary Mathematics World Competition in Hong Kong. She devotes her time to provide greater access to STEM education to all students from different backgrounds, experiences, and cultural perspectives.
Your Ideas Matter
Now more than ever we want to hear your ideas of how we can advance our community. How do you think we grow our community socially or culturally? Growing up in San Antonio, where the majority population is made up of minorities, I have observed many consequences of social and income inequality. We don’t have the same access to educational resources as others. It was only ranked No. 90 among 102 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas in terms of collective brainpower in 2014 (bizjournals.com 2014). According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Service, in 2016, nearly one in six adults in San Antonio does not have a high school diploma. Low income and under-resourced communities are already being left behind by the technology revolution (Google 2016; Iridescent 2018). In a technology-dominant future, these communities are placed at an even greater risk of failure. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has been proven that it can improve the efficiencies of our workplaces and can augment the work humans can do. However, I see that AI will accelerate existing income and access gaps and put low-income and under-resourced communities at an even greater risk of failure in the future. In San Antonio, the poverty rate raises and tops the nation, according to the 2018 American Community Survey. On the other hand, for tech jobs, the rich cities are getting richer, based on a report by Wired in December 2019. The consequence is that the under-resourced communities will be further left behind by the technology revolution. There are many reasons for this.
First, there is a greater demand for AI technologies that require problem-solving, intuition, persuasion, and creativity, and there isn’t enough supply of these skills in low-income and under-resourced communities. Second, the interest to learn new skills required for higher-wage jobs isn’t enough. According to a survey of 1,500 parents of elementary and middle school students by Iridescent in 2018, more than 60% of low-income parents have no interest in learning about AI, and less than 25% of children from low-income families have access to technology programs. Third, there is a widespread fear of AI-fueled by media stories around errant self-driving cars and “robots taking over jobs”. Fear dampens curiosity and the willingness to learn. Workforce readiness requires education and education needs to immediately reach all students in under-resourced communities. In 2018, I founded San Antonio Math Include (mathinclude.org) and, in two years, led it to one of the nation’s largest non-profit organizations that offer free access and equity in math education to all students from different backgrounds, experiences, and cultural perspectives. I started SaMi from ground zero. Now we have 2739 students from 163 schools, 122 peer tutors, 206 online classes, 300-page curriculum, 8 National Chapters, and $44,018.2 raised funds. SaMi offers math, computer science, and AI courses focusing on supports the development of skills, such as problem identification, problem-solving, collaboration, and lifelong learning, for all students in K-12 in San Antonio and the nation.
This summer, I will participate in the Stanford AI4All program and work closely with Stanford AI Lab mentors on human-centered AI research projects. I want to utilize the AI4All Open Learning Platform and introduce AI over K-12 curricula in high schools at San Antonio. Many high schools are still struggling to offer computer science, much less instruction in cutting-edge systems that are designed to take in massive amounts of data and mimics the human brain by making predictions, finding patterns, and more. I will continue to collaborate with my mentors at Stanford University, computer science professors at Trinity University and industry leaders who are in the advisory board of SaMi, to define an AI course for all high schools and provide training to high school teachers. The course will well prepare youth to be citizens in a society where AI reshapes the decisions we face, the meaning we make, and the challenges we must confront. As a member of my community, I am ready for the AI renovation and commit to helping all young members for it!
Beyond The Stage is important to the youth in San Antonio, to empower and inspire us to become the best versions of ourselves. This will effectively change society’s view of immature youth. It provides a platform for us to explore our leadership potentials and exercise our voices in the community. It also provides access for high students like myself who don’t have driver licenses but want to participate in TEDx events.