We are inundated by bad news, bad statistics, bad ethics, bad manners and bad expectations for the future. Many of us yearn for a time when it seemed like things were more positive, more manageable, more ethical and most importantly more hopeful. Every so often we experience, even if for a few hours, a glimpse of something wholesome, positive and hopeful that reminds us of the days when these experiences were much more the norm and which gives us hope that they may be again.
The other day I had the opportunity to be a judge for Ohlone College Engineering Projects competition for social change. It was a 2 day competition, I judged students for day 2. Ohlone College is and excellent Community College in Schmartboard's home town of Fremont, CA. Many students go there to start their technical education that will take them right into our local Silicon Valley work-force or to another University such as Berkeley or Stanford for more advanced study.
They were to choose a problem that exists in a poor Central or South American country, design, prototype and test a solution and then make a presentation to their classmates, their Professor, Rose-Margaret Itua and the Judges. Part of the grading was based on how they answered questions and concerns afterwards. The student teams all chose valid and worthy problems to be solved, came up with a great solution, successfully fabricated a working prototype, gave good presentations using Power Point, Videos and other multi-media tools and then with poise, answered any concerns that the judges and audience queried.
Some of the solutions were for drinking water, energy, crop production and other such concerns. The students were a mixture of people born in the U.S. and others were immigrants from around the world. Based on this experience, I am hopeful and positive for the future. These Freshman and Sophomore students have given me faith that America is producing smart, ambitious, creative and industrious minds to resolve issues that previous generations could not, or would not face.
The top two teams will represent Ohlone College at the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference. Good luck to these students who made my day.