Acorn Big Ideas Proposal

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Big Ideas Final Proposal Ankita Joshi, Aubrey Larson, and Michelle Nie

PROBLEM STATEMENT Many of the highest-paying occupations are in STEM fields. Unfortunately, youth from low-income and minority backgrounds are systematically put at a disadvantage because of their lack of access to high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education compared to their higher-income counterparts. People from low income backgrounds, who need higher paying STEM jobs, are underrepresented in the field because they cannot afford to continue higher education. Not only are people from minority and low-income backgrounds less likely to graduate high school and pursue college degrees, they are also less likely to enter and stay in STEM majors. In 2003-2004, nearly 30% of all college STEM majors whose income level was in the lowest 25 percent left their postsecondary institution without a degree (Chen and Soldner). In addition to being unable to continue education, the youth struggle to envision any of the STEM fields as a potential career because they have never been introduced to STEM-related resources. This is largely because students who attend public schools in low-income neighborhoods often are taught by teachers that have little to no experience in technological fields. Due to the lack of STEM resources and expense of education, youth from minority and low-income backgrounds are underrepresented in the STEM fields – fields that could connect them to higher paying jobs. Māk seeks to promote financial inclusion by not only introducing low-income youth to technical skills, 3D design and modeling, but also giving them an opportunity to work handson with design projects, earn a decent income, and connect with industry professionals. We focus on STEAM (STEM plus art) because it is important for our target demographic to be able to use design as a creative outlet and to create innovative solutions to issues facing their communities. Māk focuses on 3D design and modeling because the industry is estimated to grow to $21.3 billion in revenue by 2020. However, no organization has introduced these skills to low-income high school students so far, although they are highly interested in it.

3D Design and modeling is a new technology offering potential for numerous job opportunities. The 3D design and printing industry is estimated to grow to $21.3 billion in revenue by 2020, indicating that there will be more jobs and opportunities for people with these skills. A diverse set of industries require these skills: engineering, architecture, and animation and entertainment. The entry level salaries of jobs using 3D design skills are shown below. While there exist a number of organizations aiming to bridge the gap between STEM and low-income youth, there is a lack of programs targeting the growing field of 3D design and modeling. Māk seeks to train students in skills that introduce them to the increasing 3D job market and hope that the exposure to creative fields will equip students with the design skills and opportunities to design and create solutions for the issues within their own communities.

EXISTING SOLUTIONS There are a number of existing organizations aiming to bridge the gap between STEAM education and lowincome youth. Year Up, BAYCAT, Hack the Hood, and Samaschool are all social enterprises that operate in the Bay Area and aim to tackle the challenges of social inequity through STEAM skills and resources. Māk hopes to become a leader in providing 3D design skills and experience to students. Although Māk aims to adopt key aspects from existing models and apply them to the training program, it has some key features that the other organizations lack. The chart below compares Māk to existing solutions for the same target audience. The categories for comparison are:

1.  2.  3.  4.  5.

Competitive Skills: Does the program provide unique and marketable STEAM skills? Income Source: Does the program provide an income source, such as a stipend? Industry Experience: Does the program connect students to industry internships or jobs? Personal Development: Does the program provide career, personal, and financial mentorship to students? Transferrable Skills: Does the program provide STEAM skills that are applicable to a variety of industries?

Year Up targets students ages 18-24 and aims to develop their IT and professional skills through a one-year program. It offers college units, a 6-month corporate internship with a respected company, and an educational stipend. The program provides technical skills which include basic computer operating skills, customer service skills, and accounting skills. Although these skills provide youth with entry-level work, the skills do not directly lead to the STEAM fields. 3D design and modeling are unique skills that will set Māk students apart from others competing for work opportunities and connect them to higher salary jobs in the STEAM industries. Although Year Up does not provide competitive and marketable STEAM skills, it provides great personal development workshops and seminars that Māk hopes to adopt throughout its training and internship session. BAYCAT is a social enterprise that teaches digital media at BAYCAT Academy, an internationally-acclaimed media school for underserved kids ages 11-17, and young adults ages 18-24. BAYCAT also has its own studios where graduates partner with media professionals to create marketing materials for socially-minded organizations. They also produce short films so kids can share their stories and positively transform their communities. BAYCAT’s model is very similar to ours in terms of teaching young adults unique technical skills and providing work opportunities within the program, However, BAYCAT does not connect students to long-term internships. Moreover, it provides media skills limiting the student to one industry, whereas Māk provides unique skills of 3D modeling and design which can be applied to various industries. The 3D printing technology is new and has high growth potential. Therefore, the skill obtained through Māk will provide students with a higher number and wider range of opportunities in the future.

Hack the Hood targets low-income youth of color to careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for real small businesses in their own communities. During workshops and 6-week "Boot Camps," young people gain valuable hands-on experience building mobile-friendly websites, executing search engine optimization, and helping businesses get listed in local online directories. In addition to relevant technical skills, youth also learn critical leadership, entrepreneurship, and life skills under the guidance of staff members and volunteer mentors who are professionals working in the field. Hack the Hood provides a great model for Māk to learn from and apply to the newer field of 3D modeling and design. SamaSchool prepares low-income people for success in the digital economy. Its learning programs provide students with in-demand skills, resources and the support they need to be successful in online work and their careers. First of all, SamaSchool does not focus on low-income youth. Moreover, the program focuses on enhancing existing skills by providing basic digital and soft skills, improving resumes, creating an online LinkedIn profile, and providing job related networking opportunities. It does not focus on providing students with internships or connecting them to careers. Although Māk hopes to provide necessary career mentorship to its students to further grow their career, its primary focus is teaching them 3D design software and provide them with lasting work opportunities within and beyond Māk. Although Māk and Samaschool have a different focus, Māk hopes to follow Samaschool’s strategy of implementing the program through already existing community organizations that understand the background of the students going through the program.

PROPOSED INNOVATION Māk hopes to address financial inclusion by introducing youth from low-income and minority backgrounds to the STEAM fields. Māk not only trains low income youth with competitive 3D design skills, but also provides them with hands-on design experience through paid internships, and connects them to industry jobs in the 3D design market so that students can make income as they seek higher education.

The main goals for the Māk program are to:

•  •  •  •  •

Become the industry leader in providing 3D design skills and experience for students. Increase the representation of minority and low income youth in the STEAM fields. Provide them with valuable skills and experience required for entry-level jobs in the STEAM fields. Introduce them to the various industries that can benefit from their skills. Encourage them to see themselves as designers who can use their skills to design for and solve issues faced by their communities and beyond.

In order to achieve these goals, Māk will connect low-income youth to UC Berkeley engineering and architecture students through a 3-month long 3D design training program. UC Berkeley students, who have experience working with great professors and industry professionals, will teach these students professional-level 3D design skills such that the student can pass the Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate (CSWA) exam, a certification qualifying individuals for competitive industry jobs. In addition to providing skill mentorship, UC Berkeley students will introduce Māk students to various applications of 3D design skills in academia and other projectwork. Casey Rodgers, the President of the 3D Modeling Club (3DMC) at UC Berkeley, is excited to partner with Māk. He says that the club can provide 7-10 members as volunteers and 3D printing resources to help run Māk’s training program. Moreover, a survey sent to engineering students at Cal shows that 66.7% of 21 students trained in 3D design are willing to spend 2-3 hours per week teaching 3D design skills to Māk students. Māk will arrange for students to visit the UC Berkeley campus for this training program and provide 2 units worth of course credit to UC Berkeley volunteers. After the 3-month training program, the students will work on a 6-month paid design internship with Māk. During this internship, students will be working on real-world projects outsourced by design companies and firms, and earn income (breakdown of project fees for clients and income for students is shown in the budget section). The students will work in groups and be supervised by UC Berkeley volunteers who will serve as project managers. The logistics of group work and management are subject to change based on the type of projects Māk receives. Although companies have not shared information about specific projects they could outsource, they have demonstrated interest in supporting and contributing to the outsourcing design-work model. Some of the companies and design firms that have demonstrated this interest include: Techsoup, the Autodesk Foundation, and Noisebridge. Working on these projects with industry partners will set our students apart by allowing them to gain real experience. This experience will encourage these students to look at themselves as designers and seek higher education in any of the STEAM fields. Moreover, the connections with these industry professionals will provide them with career mentorship and possible long-term internships and part-time job opportunities as they pursue further education.


We foresee three main challenges in implementing our program: (1) inability to successfully sell projects to clients, (2) the need to change our model again, and (3) inability to implement a longitudinal study of our students.

Our current model relies on our ability to develop relationships with startups and recruit them as our clients. However, potential clients may be unwilling to outsource their work to us for a variety of reasons, including limited capacity or personnel, limited funding, unwillingness to take on the risk involved with working with high school students, or indifference to a social mission. In such a case, we will ask researchers and students on campus to share their project-work with our students. The internship salary of the MÄ k students will be funded through grants (our current model depends on grants as well, hence this challenge should not lead to a major financial issue).

In addition, MÄ k may need to change its model again because we are still in the process of learning the needs of our students and other stakeholders. However, we have proved that we are resilient to change: we have already changed our internship program from designing products to be sold on an ecommerce store to working on projects for clients. We decided to change our model after having conversations with our advisory team and stakeholders. We are confident in our ability to change our model again in order to best serve our stakeholders’ needs. Finally, to measure the success of recruiting low-income and minority students into the STEAM fields requires a longitudinal study. We need to design mechanisms that will allow us to maintain relationships with our program alumni such they are comfortable sharing their successes and situations with us. We will explore these mechanisms more as our organizational capacity and our class sizes increase.

MEASURING SUCCESS What are we trying to measure? Why?

How will we measure it? What number will we consider successful?

Student satisfaction • To assess whether students are engaged in our program • To understand we need to improve in the program

• Student retention •  90% retention throughout the whole program • Monitoring attendance •  Each student attends 80% of training classes •  Each student attends 75% of internship program • Interviews with students •  100% of students qualitatively feel the overall program was worthwhile for them •  90% of students felt that their income helped them or their family

Program effectiveness: increased STEAM skills and interests • To assess whether we are achieving our goal of getting more students interested in STEAM fields

• Successful completion of SolidWorks Certification Exam •  100% of students complete exam • Pre- and post-training program surveys asking about confidence in CAD skills •  Students rate their CAD knowledge at 80% or higher • Pre- and post-internship program surveys asking about academic interests & career goals •  Students are 50% more interested in at least one field: science, math, engineering, technology, art, architecture, or design •  90% of students are likely to pursue a career in a STEAM field •  90% of students are interested in pursuing a higher education program (2-year college, 4-year college, vocational college, etc.) in a STEAM field • Interviews with students •  Students qualitatively are more excited about STEAM •  Students qualitatively feel they have gained useful skills

What are we trying to measure? Why?

How will we measure it? What number will we consider successful?

Program effectiveness: student • Pre-survey about demographics demographics •  90% of our students fall within our target • To assess if we are making an impact on audience – high school seniors who live marginalized communities in Oakland and Richmond who either: • To understand which demographics we 1) qualify for California’s free or need to tailor our program to reduced price meal (FRPM) program • To understand which demographics we 2) attend a school where 50% or need to spend more effort recruiting more students are eligible for FRPM 
 • Student retention & seeing which students from demographics stay in the program Program effectiveness: financial literacy • To assess whether students are equipped with basic knowledge they will need to make educated decisions about what to do with income • To assess the effectiveness of our partnership with UFA

• Pre- and post-program surveys about student knowledge with basic financial concepts: budgeting, managing bank accounts, managing credit cards •  80% of students are confident in their knowledge of these basic financial concepts •  75% of students are confident that they know how to manage their money • Interviews with Undergraduate Finance Association workshop teachers •  Teachers qualitatively demonstrate that they feel they have made an impact on one or more students’ financial literacy skills.

Client satisfaction • Pre- and post-program surveys • To see if students are doing quality work •  80% of clients are satisfied with the for clients quality of work given students’ skill levels • To see if clients feel that they have •  75% of clients felt satisfied with students’ made an impact professionalism and communication skills •  90% of clients are likely to stay involved with Māk by outsourcing other projects, assigning mentors to our students, or donating • Interviews with clients •  Clients qualitatively feel that they have made a social impact on one or more students •  Clients qualitatively feel that they have made a social impact on society •  Clients qualitatively feel satisfied in working with the Māk team

What are we trying to measure? Why?

How will we measure it? What number will we consider successful?

Volunteer satisfaction • Pre- and post-program surveys • To see if UC Berkeley students find •  Volunteers are 50% more likely to volunteering for us worthwhile participate in another social impact • To see if our model of recruiting student activity in the future (volunteering, volunteers is sustainable in the future teaching, tutoring, etc.) • Monitoring attendance •  Volunteers attend 90% of all training sessions • Collecting 4-5 written reflections throughout the DeCal •  Volunteers qualitatively demonstrate that they feel like they made an impact Partnership effectiveness & satisfaction • To assess the effectiveness of our partnerships in helping us recruit students

• Pre- and post-program surveys of students asking how they heard of the program •  75% of students heard of us through one of our community partners • Interviews with partners •  Partners qualitatively demonstrate satisfaction with Māk program impact •  Partners qualitatively demonstrate satisfaction with Māk employees’ communication and professionalism •  90% of partners are likely to work with us again by: cross-promoting programs, teaching workshops for our programs, and/or directly recommending students to join our program



Contributions: •  We are asking Big Ideas for $10,000. •  We plan to apply to grants we have connections to, such as Autodesk Foundation and We are also applying to receive sponsorship from the ASUC. •  We plan to also participate in other competitions, such as The Resolution Project and the Global Social Venture Competition. Equipment and software expense: None, since we will receive free software from the Autodesk Foundation. Depreciation and amortization: None, since we do not pay for equipment or software. Utilities expense: None, since we will be using UC Berkeley facilities.

Earned revenue: •  We will sell 2 projects for $5,000 per project. •  The market rate for 3D modeling work is $80 per hour. Our projects will run for a total of 120 hours (5 hours a week for 24 weeks). Each project would normally cost $9,600, but we will charge $5,000 to factor in the risk that our clients take in working with high school students. SG&A expense: •  Includes travel reimbursements for Māk employees to visit clients. •  We will spend $40 per month per client. •  We will Māk project sales to clients every fall (September to December). Stipend expense: •  During the training program, we will pay Māk students a stipend to cover the cost of transportation to the UC Berkeley campus. •  Each student is paid a $5 stipend per class. There are 12 classes in the whole program from September to December. •  Our inaugural class will consist of 15 students in order to build a cohesive cohort and to have a high teacher to student ratio. There will be 7-10 UC Berkeley student teachers. Wage expense: •  During the internship, we will pay Māk students an hourly wage. •  All students from the training program will continue on to the internship. •  Interns are paid $15 an hour. Each intern works 5 hours a week for 24 weeks (from February to August). Rent expense: •  We plan on using UC Berkeley classrooms, which we can book for free if we are an ASUCsponsored organization. We also plan on partnering with 3DMC and other organizations to utilize their maker spaces on campus.


is the CEO of Māk and a third year Mechanical Engineering major at UC Berkeley focusing on mechanical product design. Ankita is currently the Lead Mechanical Designer at the NASA Ames Tensegrity Robot Research at BEST Labs. Ankita is also the Founder and Executive Director of Socially Engaged Engineers (SEE), an organization that builds the concept of designing for need by providing resources and encouraging engineers to take into account “context” and issues of social justice. Ankita also conducted research on the use of Human- Centered Design for Technical Social Impact Projects through the Berkeley Energy and Sustainable Technologies Lab.

•  Expertise: 3D design, human-centered design

Michelle Nie

is the CFO of Māk and a third-year Business Administration major focusing on finance and entrepreneurship. She is the Executive Director of 100 Strong, a Big Ideas-winning nonprofit that runs a mentorship and leadership development program for middle and high school girls from underserved communities in the Bay Area. In March 2015, she attended the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) conference to represent 100 Strong. She has previous work experience in nonprofit consulting as a Summer Fellow at New Sector Alliance and in marketing as a Marketing Intern at DreamHost.

•  Expertise: Finance, education, youth

Aubrey Larson is the COO of Māk and a fourth year Public Health

student at UC Berkeley focusing on community development and epidemiology. Aubrey is extremely passionate in the area of global health and wishes to pursue a degree in medicine. She is currently involved in a sustainable development project in Swaziland and works with community members on innovative ideas to generate income. Aubrey has a previous background working for nonprofits in South Africa and Swaziland and is ecstatic to bring her enthusiasm and passion for social justice into a new field. •  Expertise: Community development, global NGOs

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