SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A high school senior who, as an 8th grader, created a device to sense heat stroke and dehydration is now introducing others to the joy of innovation.
Shruti Sridhar teaches an afterschool engineering program each week this fall at Sunrise Middle School in San Jose.
Sridhar came up with the idea for the program while volunteering among elementary students who didn’t know much at all about engineering.
“It really made me feel kind of confused and angry because I was going to a school where I was being taught programming in middle school itself,” Sridhar said.
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So the 17-year-old Notre Dame High School senior founded Makers of Tomorrow in 2016 to expose underserved students to engineering, her passion.
“Being that in Silicon Valley engineering is so critical to getting future jobs and careers, I really wanted to make an impact on these students by introducing them to engineering,” Sridhar explained.
In fact, the teenager did the research herself and developed her own curriculum, so it’s no accident that all the activities are hands-on.
That impresses Sunrise Middle School administrator Rusila Racinez.
“I think that’s amazing!” Racinez said. “It takes a long time to come up with lesson plans especially ones that are engaging as this.”
Sridhar and her high school volunteers have taught more than 150 students in about a dozen South Bay schools and libraries.
City council grants help pay for the materials.
The projects, from circuitry to coding, teach perseverance through trial and error.
To students like Samia McCauley, Sridhar is not only a teacher, but also a role model.
“She got it on, she’s got the smarts, she’s got the brains, that could become me, too,” McCauley said. “It opened my eyes for me to be a scientist, to be an inventor.”