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Junior Academy Students Share Their Experiences Working on Challenges

Published September 08, 2017

Junior Academy Students Share Their Experiences Working on Challenges

Have you seen a problem in your community that you would love to solve but have no idea where to start? Sometimes, when issues seem insurmountable, the best way to tackle them is through collaboration. A number of programs in the Academy’s Global STEM Alliance are addressing global problems by assembling groups of students from all over the world, and you can be part of it, too! Read on to hear a couple of students in our Junior Academy program talk about their experiences working on teams dedicated to finding innovative solutions to global challenges.

One student, Patrick Pallagi, 19, from Budapest, Hungary, loved working with his team. His teammates were from India, the UAE, and the USA. They scheduled virtual meetings whenever they could.

“When they are having breakfast in Texas, it's dinner time here,” Patrick said. “So we often shared our meals together.”

Another student, Ananya Sharma, 18, from Delhi, India, had the chance to work with peers around the world through before, however, this was the first time he got to complete challenges with students in different time zones.

Patrick and Ananya also had slightly different experiences when forming their groups. Patrick said his Junior Academy team formed a Facebook group and had discussions that, over time, created a supportive community.

Ananya, on the other hand, reached out to his peers on Facebook and Twitter as soon as he was accepted into The Junior Academy. By the time the challenge topics were announced he reached out to the friends he made earlier. Because he wanted to join a team that was already half formed, he had to participate in an informal interview to discuss what he could contribute to the project.

Patrick and Ananya learned a lot from their experiences. Patrick now knows how to conduct a research project and how important is to ask the right questions rather than concentrating on the answers. “Whether it's formulating a hypothesis or devising your methods of testing, taking a step back and seeing things in perspective is what I learned to value,” Patrick said.

Ananya learned time management, team dynamics, and management skills. “Each member of the team brought a new skill to the table. We needed to learn to collaborate, communicate, and manage everything in order to get the greatest result out of all our efforts,” Ananya said.

Ananya really loved the sense of accomplishment he felt when he saw the project come together. His advice to his peers working on a challenge is to be persistent but also to have a lot of fun. He also stressed that participating students will learn from their teammates and their mentors.

“To someone who is just beginning their journey, I would suggest that you buckle up because you're going to have to put in a lot of hard work,” he said.

If you want to create your own experience, we are now recruiting students to participate in our Green Buildings Challenge. Find out more information and apply here.