A new kind of talent contest, part of a Google 1B effort by the former Google CEO, names the first winners

Leave it to technology billionaires to try to rediscover college scholarships.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife Wendy, who serves as president of the Family Foundation, announced last week the 100 winners of their Rise Talent contest, a new type of youth talent contest that promises lifelong financial support to the winners. Education and professional endeavors.

The basis of the effort is that traditional scholarships focus too little on academic metrics and do not do enough to provide long-term winners with a broad scaffold to ensure success. So Rise Contest helped create an app for applicants and invited participants to share video essays and participate in online mixers and video lessons. About 50,000 people between the ages of 15 and 17 applied, representing 170 countries.

“Many systems specialize in science and math geeks, and they’re the only ones that look brilliant,” Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, executive director of Rise, told AdSerge last week. “We’re unpacking the idea of ​​brilliance and looking for a sparkle that others won’t see.”

Last year, in Interview with BBC World NewsWendy Schmidt put it more bluntly: “While doing this, if you get a room full of supernatural intelligence, you won’t succeed.”

So, who won The first set of lifetime awards?

Well, some of them are really good at math and science. Adam Dhalla from Canada developed an algorithm to help classify proteins in cells; Aryan Sharma from India has created an AI-powered diagnostic app to scan X-rays for lesions; And Valentina Baron Garcia of Mexico invented the hydroponic system for growing fruits and vegetables to combat food insecurity.

The winners also include many young people who focus on humanity. Among them is Lydia Ruth Nottingham in the United Kingdom, who used poetry to persuade her school to turn to reusable masks to prevent covid-19 instead of disposable; Irfan Ayub from Afghanistan, who developed a teaching program in his rural community; And Jennifer Uche from the US, who create a fictional podcast to promote social justice and anti-apartheid.

The Rise Project also worked with small nonprofit organizations around the world to identify teenagers who may not have heard of scholarship opportunities. This led to a winner living in a refugee camp in Kenya, Christian Maboko from Burundi, who is leading a workshop to educate fellow refugees about sexual and reproductive health.

Jennifer Uche, the American winner of the podcast, realized that she had won in a very public way: Interview on Good Morning America.

“I thought I was there to promote Rise,” Uche said in an interview with Adsers. Sitting there during the interview, Uche admits that she was thinking about an exam coming up at school when she was suddenly told she had won.

Uche said the interview process was “fun” and included a series of interviews and group interviews where she debated with other finalists.

“They asked us questions about theoretical situations, like you have 100 coins [to give away,] And [a person named] Red is sick and green is healthy, how much will you give to red and how much will you give to green? “

Uche says she is excited about the huge amount of financial support she has received from the award – $ 500,000 in her lifetime. (She says she first read about the scholarship and when she saw how many zeros there were, she felt like typing.) But she’s also eager to take advantage of the guidance Rise is giving, including introductions to well-known producers. Help her improve her fantasy and podcasting.

Her podcast, which just launched on Halloween, is called EC: Monster Training, Which she says is about being a young hero. This is part of a larger effort called Project Lux, which aims to bring together art and advocacy to promote social justice.

“If someone hears my fiction and inspires a young person to act, it means I’m doing my job as a writer,” she said.

The project is being led by Schmidt Futures, a charity founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt who has pledged more than B 1B to find talented young people. (Disclosure: Schmidt Futures supports projects at AdSerge.)

Although emerging efforts use his brand new approach, he has partnered with some of the biggest names in student success. To create this app, Sal Khan’s non-profit organization Hello World and Rhodes Trust behind Rhodes Scholarship came together to manage the prize.

Emerging leaders say they will now create aspects of the event for the 100 winners in the first round. “We’re designing and repeating a custom program to meet them where they need to be,” Kamau-Rutenberg said. “We promise to walk with them.”

There is competition Already accepting applicants For his second round.

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