This Teen Scientist Will Make You Want to Retake Science Class
As I wandered around the Social Innovation Summit in Silicon Valley a few week ago, I heard from people like the founder of Bitty Foods (a company making baked goods out of cricket flour), Sal Khan of the Khan Academy and even the ladies behind ImprovHQ on how you can use improv techniques in the professional world. Among this sea of professional do-gooders was one innovator who was a little bit younger – 15 years young, to be exact. Her name is Hannah Herbst, and she’s probably about to make you regret those high school years you spent ditching class to hang out at the mall.
Hannah is from Boca Raton, Florida. She (and her dad Joel) came out to California to speak at the summit about her award-winning creation, BEACON. In short, BEACON is a turbine that has the capability to use the energy from ocean currents to provide a stable power source and fresh water to developing countries around the globe. Told you you’d regret those sneaky naps you took in science class.
“I was inspired when I received this newsletter in the mail describing the living conditions of my now 10-year-old pen pal Ruth in Ethiopia. I learned how she was living in energy poverty and how she doesn’t have access to electricity.” Hannah told me. “I did some more research and saw that over 70% of those in her area and over one-fifth of the people in the world are also living without electricity, so I wanted to create a feasible, sustainable solution to collect energy from moving bodies of water.”
She took her idea to her mechatronics teacher (because everyone has a mechatronics teacher, right?) who gave her access to the materials she needed. She then applied to the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge who supplied her with additional materials and a mentor. She went on to win that challenge along with $25,000 and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”
Hannah wasn’t always so eager to be an engineer though. “My dad forced me to go to this summer engineering camp and I was the only girl there. I didn’t want to be there at all,” Hannah explained. “But after a few days I was working with all the robotics sort of stuff there and I was really interested in it after just a few days of doing it and wanted to continue it. I joined robotics at my school and I’ve been working with them ever since.”
As a young woman at the forefront of a career in a primarily male-dominated industry (Hannah was offered jobs at Google, Apple and DEKA while at the summit BTW), I was curious to get her thoughts on why more girls aren’t super interested in engineering. She told me, “I think that sometimes girls are more of a minority, especially in other countries where some girls can’t get an education, or can’t do this, can’t do that… but we really can. We have the same brains as guys, we can do whatever we want.” She goes on to explain that a little bit of encouragement at a young age can do wonders (she’s sort of a testament to that). “Introduce them to great companies like GoldieBlox. It’s important to tell girls from a young age, ‘You can build this just like your brother can.’ Empowering them while they’re young can make a huge impact.”
When picturing what the future of the engineering world looks like, Hannah told me, “I hope that everybody can have access to being something that they want to be – especially girls. I hope that we’re at least at an equal percentage in engineering and that we can all do whatever we want. Because without FAU [Flordia Academic University, where Hannah is about to be a COLLEGE FRESHMAN] and without being at that camp I wouldn’t have had access to engineering activities.”
But before Hannah rules the world, she wants to keep working on and perfecting BEACON. For someone who has achieved so much success at such a young age, Hannah seems surprisingly open to the unavoidable failures that come with monumental projects like BEACON. When listing her role models, Hannah dropped Thomas Edison’s name. When I asked her why Mr. Edison, she told me, “Because he failed 10,000 times but always would say, ‘I didn’t fail, I just found different ways that didn’t work.’”
(Photos via Nikki Ritcher Photography/Landmark Ventures)
Pocket doors are so delightful in and of themselves. They appear when you need them, get tucked away when you don't, and make it easy to define rooms while keeping an open floor plan. Add to the pocket door a joyful patterned wallpaper surprise, and you will be sent right into fits of visual jubilation! Or something ;) Today we're sharing two simple and impactful pocket door makeovers that zhuzh up your space in a jiffy.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and proud owner of several pocket doors! When I moved into my first real grown-up house a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate wallpaper so reached out to our friends at Chasing Paper to see how we might collaborate. It felt like a total lightbulb moment when I realized I could create a surprise pop of pattern on a couple sets of pocket doors.
Not only is it a whimsical way to bring color into a space, but the doors double as picture-perfect backdrops for all your SFH (selfies from home, obvs).
A few pro tips about install:
- Removable wallpaper is miraculously forgiving! You can take it on and off multiple times without it losing integrity (or mucking up your surface).
- I ordered this adhesive wallpaper installation kit with a squeegee and xacto knife and it worked super well. I also recommend a sharp pair of scissors for cutting longer lines.
- This is a two-person job! Get a friend, put on a playlist, and get ready to bond.
- Wild, organic patterns like Tally are great because it's challenging to spot any imperfections in pattern alignment; keep pattern choice in mind if you've got a lot of corners to match up. More geometric patterns and larger shapes leave less room for error (but are awesome in their own right!).
BATHROOM POCKET DOORS
In our primary bathroom, we chose the wallpaper pattern Tally, designed by Kelly Ventura, in White and Navy. In our space, the navy reads as a soft black, which is perfect for the space. It's easy to combine an ever-rotating collection of linens with the Tally pattern.
I love how the white trim becomes the perfect frame around this pocket door piece of art.
My favorite moment in this space is the fact that you actually get a third pop of pattern thanks to our serendipitously placed mirror!
And yes, this one works pretty darn well as a backdrop too ;)
LIVING ROOM DOUBLE DOORS
This set of doors is definitely a focal point of our home. It separates our living room from our primary bedroom which opens onto our backyard. The doors are pretty much always open, but when they're closed we wanted to evoke a fun, nature-inspired vibe. With that in mind, we selected the Lines and Moons pattern by Thimblepress in Green and Brown.
Earth mama vibes up in here! I love how the shapes and colors echo the ferns you see through the windows and the acorn wood details throughout the house.
Love this pattern moment, and xacto-ing out the door handle is def on the oddly satisfying DIY list.
For a pattern lover like me, I love that now I have this instant photo backdrop!
Thanks to Chasing Paper for providing these rolls of pure pattern amazingness. Head to chasingpaper.com to find our own favorites and start adding patterns to your home!
(Wallpaper wingwoman: Kayla Haykin; Photography: Kurt Andre)