Archive for November, 2010

My Echoing Green App

Echoing Green is an awesome, but incredibly competitive fellowship that nurtures social enterprises by providing them with all sorts of supports.  Their application deadline was 11/12/10, and I gave it a shot.  Here are some tidbits from what I submitted.  Please note the strict character limits.

Describe your idea for social change in one single sentence. (150 characters including spaces)

To address the science achievement gap in the U.S., Schooba teaches students from low-income communities standards-based science through SCUBA diving.

Describe your idea for social change in one single paragraph. (500 characters including spaces)

Schooba is a science mentoring program with an engaging hook and 1:1 tutoring.  Scuba diving is used as a way of: 1) facilitating the relationship between the student and mentor, 2) presenting standards-based science in an engaging, relevant, and hands-on method, and 3) exposing the student to a new and significant experience.  Weekly student-mentor meetings alternate between tutoring sessions and the scuba training.  We will grow by expanding our network of partnering schools and dive shops.

What specific problem in the world are you trying to solve?  Where possible, use statistics and references to identify the size and scope of the problem. (500 characters including spaces)

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (2005), only 16% of 8th graders considered proficient in science were low-income students (compared to their 37% presence in the population).  This issue is concerning, as the National Science Foundation predicts that “eighty percent of jobs in the next decade will require some form of math and science”.  I intend to provide the benefits of an interest in science to a growing number of low-income students each year.

What, specifically, will be your programs or products? Who will you work with? (1000 characters including spaces)

We believe that a poor performance in science stems from a lack of engagement.

When a student joins Schooba, they are paired with a mentor.  Through the 9 week course, they learn to scuba dive together, meeting for at least one hour a week.  Every other week, these meetings are 1:1 tutoring sessions.  To facilitate the tutoring, the mentor uses the Schooba curriculum, which presents standards-based science in the context of scuba diving.  On opposite weeks, the student and mentor participate in a partnering dive shop’s introductory scuba course.  These meetings take place in a pool, where the pair scuba dive and participate in science activities underwater.  After completion of the course, an alumni program works to keep the student and mentor connected to the Schooba community.

We will work with low-income middle and high school students who have an interest in the program and an ability to meet its guidelines.  In a survey of 80 Title I students, 39% met these standards.

And now, take me to The Schooba Academy’s totally awesome fundraising page where I can help them raise the funds they need to make this happen!!!

Kill lionfish, save the world???

Check out this article from the WSJ.  Don’t forget to watch the video.

The Lionfish Creates an Uproar, Bringing Out the Hunters

And then check out The Schooba Academy’s totally awesome fundraising page where you can help kids learn about stuff like this!!!

The t-shirts are here!

And going like crazy.  Get ’em while they last.

best shirts ever

Take me to The Schooba Academy’s totally awesome fundraising page where I can get my very own Schooba Academy t-shirt with every $80 donation I make!!

Why is it called FUNdraising??

Because it’s FUN!

Give it a go.


Click Here to Donate!

Help make it a reality!

That’s right, folks.  We’re officially fundraising for our first pilot program set to launch in January, when we’ll teach 8 kids from inner-city Brooklyn how to scuba dive and the science that goes into it.  Running this pilot will cost $4,000.  Please help us raise the funds necessary to make this program a reality!  Take a look at our budget below to see exactly how the funds are allocated:

Transportation $200.00
Underwater video camera with memory $250.00
Insurance $600.00
PADI fees $500.00
Marketing, T-shirts $500.00
Legal expenses $350.00
Program instruction $700.00
Materials $260.00
Administrative expenses $500.00
CC, fiscal sponsor fees $140.00
Total $4,000.00

Click here to check out our fundraising page!

(Or you can click on that awesome ‘Donate!’ tab above!)

Please help us raise awareness by sharing our mission with the friends, family, and random strangers in your life!  … Seriously, send this to everyone you know.  …Seriously, it’s for the kids.


Schooba Academy T-shirts coming soon!

So UPS tells me.

Check out the store tab and pre-order yours today!


Columbia Pitchfest

Tomorrow evening I’ll be presenting Schooba at Columbia University’s Fall 2010 Pitchfest.  In their words, “The Columbia Pitchfest is an annual event designed to allow entrepreneurs to present their ideas to the Columbia entrepreneurial community, consisting of students, faculty, area business leaders, and venture capitalists.”

So I whipped together a presentation.  It consists consists of a 90 second pitch and, get this, … a 5 slide PowerPoint.  Those of you that know me might catch the humor in this incongruousness, i.e. I have never made a PowerPoint in my life.  Seriously.  This was my first.  Ever.  Check it out:

Columbia Pitchfest Presentation

Science proves Ozzy Osbourne is a Mutant

See all of the things it can do?

Read it here:

Genetic mutations let Ozzy Osbourne party hard

Pilot approaching

Our first pilot program is set to launch in January, 2011.  As the deadline nears, some details seem to be emerging.

It looks like we’ll be working with 8 students (grades 8 and 9) for a 6 week program and covering 5 NYS Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum Major Understandings:

– The Living Environment: 1.2d  During respiration, cells use oxygen to release the energy stored in food.  The respiratory system supplies oxygen and removes carbon dioxide (gas exchange).

– The Physical Environment: 2.1b  As altitude increases, air pressure decreases.

– The Physical Environment: 3.1 d  Gases have neither a determined shape nor a definite volume.  Gases assume the shape and volume of a closed container.

– The Physical environment: 3.1h  Density can be described as the amount of matter that is in a given amount of space.  If two objects have equal volume, but one has more mass, the one with more mass is denser.

– The Physical Environment: 3.1i  Buoyancy is determined by comparative densities.

We are working to foster the students’ sustained engagement in science.  In the spirit of Einstein (“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”), our short-term measures (weeks 0 – 6) of our success will compare to what degree students spend more time on, put more effort into, and engage in more challenging science problems after the program.


Very cool science site with some very interesting projects.

Brought to us by PopTech:


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