2017 in Review...and a Look Forward to 2018!

by Allan Wang

Hey all,

Happy new year! Hope you all had a restful, wonderful time with friends and family during the holidays. We certainly did here at Kinet-X - we spent ours reflecting on 2017 and looking forward to what promises to be a huge year for us in 2018. We didn’t know reviewing old curriculum plans and testing pneumatic potato guns could be so fun (okay, that’s a lie).

Anyhow, in this blog post, we’ll look at Kinet-X’s 2017 in review, and offer a sneak peek into our plans for 2018. But before I get into that, some important news.

Net Neutrality

At this point, I’m sure all of you have heard of net neutrality and its potential implications on the future of technology, innovation, and your internet bill. For those who don’t, check out our blog post on this from last July. If you’re too busy to, here’s a brief summary: net neutrality is the guarantee that we have a free and open internet, and that large internet service providers (think Verizon, Comcast, Spectrum) shouldn’t control what we see or do online. Basically, without net neutrality, ISPs will be able to block/throttle any site, charge a user more per visit, take bribes from big sites to give them priority, and silence opposing opinions. This will hurt young innovators the most, since the cost of entry into the tech ecosystem from both an educational and career standpoint will be significantly higher.

The FCC and its chairman Ajit Pai (who, by the way, is a former Verizon lawyer) have voted to end net neutrality rules, but it’s not over yet. With a simple majority vote in both houses, Congress can overrule the FCC vote and keep the rules in place. So we’re asking you to join with us and reach out to your local member of Congress. You can do so easily through https://www.battleforthenet.com/ or find your local member of Congress at the House website - https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

Let’s make our voices heard to save a free and open internet, and secure the futures of our young innovators.

Looking back at 2017

KX in 2017 (1).png

Where do we start? 2017 was our second year as Kinet-X and first full year of operation. In it, we ran two programs (F/W 2016 and Summer 2017), were featured in the news, added some fantastic people to the team (hey Luke, Yvonne, Gilvir, and Sophia!) and met thousands of you through school visits, workshops, and, of course, our programs.

We were more astounded than ever by your work - seeing you code a script in JS with no CS knowledge in less than 40 minutes (robots don’t stop walking until you stop them), build your own solar powered cars from spare parts and Smuckers frozen sandwich boxes (yes, that happened. We still have one.), and, of course, blasting a rocket (my favorite memory). 

We haven't gotten a chance to say this yet, but thank you to all of you students, parents, teachers, administrators, and our friends at the Beam Center and Green Ivy for making 2017 amazing. We wouldn't have been able to make such huge strides towards our mission of opening up a future for all students in tech without your help. And while we're disappointed that the percentages to the left are not all 100, we're sure that when we're looking back at 2018 in December, they will be. 

So on!

… And forward to 2018.

To say the least, we’re hyped for this year. It’s going to be our last until we’re off to college (don’t worry, Kinet-X will definitely not end here), so we want to make the most of 2018. The team’s been hard at work doing research and development - refining old lesson plans, experimenting with new parts, and thinking up new projects. I recently saw Chauncey holding a dremel (but when is he not), so get hyped for likely another intense project (or Chauncey’s next hospital visit) this summer. Which leads to my next point.

We’ll be running at least 3 programs this summer, one for each skill level. GET HYPED!! Specific details will be out soon, but rest assured that all will feature Kinet-X’s trademark curriculum that includes both computer science and engineering. Mark your calendars for late July and August! (tentative)

MentorStudent

But as much as we’d like summer to come early (I can’t feel my toes. Or my hands. None of my limbs, to be honest), with the way it looks outside, we might not get out of freezing temperatures for a while. But have no fear! We hate not running a program just as much as you hate not being in one, which is why we’re going to be going on tour through the city, running workshops and events throughout this spring! We’ll be bringing our soldering irons, drills, and laptops to a school near you, so stay tuned for the first announcements. (P.S. These events are totally free, so contact us if you’d like us to run one at your school, and we’ll get in touch with your principal).

As much as we love our current mentors, new blood and fresh perspectives are always great. That's why we’re adding new people to our team - mentors, marketers, operations people - everyday. If you or somebody you know has a passion for tech and helping kids grow, shoot us an email at jobs@kinet-x.org! We’d love to talk to you.

Lastly, a personal note from me. I feel like I haven’t been interacting enough with everybody in the community, so I’m going to change that! Starting this month, I’ll be posting weekly updates on going-ons at Kinet-X, features of our alumni, and op-eds on STEM, personalized learning, careers in tech, the future, etc. on this blog (with occasional guest appearances). So definitely stay in touch and subscribe to our mailing list to stay in the know for all our news - programs, events, and our reactions to the world of STEM. And before I say goodbye, I want to remind you to feel free to reach out to us at info@kinet-x.org (or my own email at allan@kinet-x.org) and send suggestions, comments, ask for advice on tech/school-related stuff, or tell me just how much you loved this blog post. :) Commenting below is great too!

Have an excellent weekend and remember to stay warm!