This 10-year-old girl was just accepted to PhD level fellowship program
As parents, we want our kids to believe they can accomplish anything they set their minds to, and it looks like one Parisian girl really took that message to heart. A 10-year-old named Eva was just accepted to a prestigious, PhD-level fellowship program for her unique idea about building robots.
Kat Borlongan, a founding partner of the organization behind the Paris Summer Innovation Fellowship, wrote on Facebook this week that the program had decided to accept it’s first-ever child applicant. According to the program’s website, the fellowship brings together “bright young minds” and gives them two weeks of “funding, tools, space and mentorship to start prototyping the change they want to see in their city.”
Eva applied to the program “amidst mostly computer science Phds and seasoned urban designers,” Borlongan said, but they chose her because they were impressed by her honesty and passion. Here’s a summary of her pitch Borlongan shared on Facebook:
“The streets of Paris are sad. I want to build a robot that will make them happy again. I’ve already starting learning how to code on Thymio robots, but I have trouble making it work. I want to join the program so the mentors can help me.”
Borlongan went on to say that she and her partners had decided to accept Eva into the program, and she included a copy of the letter she sent the 10-year-old. “Dear Eva, the answer is yes,” she wrote in the acceptance letter. “You have been selected as one of Paris’ first-ever Summer Innovation Fellows among an impressive pool of candidates from all across the world.”
She continued, “I am writing to you personally because your application inspired me. There was nothing on the website that said the program was open to 10 year olds but–as you must have noticed–nothing that said that it was not. You’ve openly told us that you had trouble making the robot work on your own and needed help. That was a brave thing to admit, and ultimately what convinced us to take on your project.”
In addition to accepting Eva into the program, Borlongan said they also contacted Thymio, the robotics company whose tech Eva uses. The president of the company himself agreed to work with Eva during her fellowship, and the company will be providing Eva with their latest robot.
Since the acceptance letter went up, it’s been shared more than 36,000 times, and hundreds have left comments supporting Eva and telling her what a brave, brilliant kid she is. I mean, all I’ve done today is make coffee, and here’s this 10-year-old ready to change the damn world, with zero qualms about asking for help while she does it.
At the end of the day, Borlongan says that’s what made Eva such a special applicant and a shoe-in for the program. “Humility and the willingness to learn in order to go beyond our current limitations are at the heart and soul of innovation,” she wrote.” It is my hope that your work on robotics will encourage more young girls all over the world–not just to code, but to be as brave as you, in asking for help and actively looking for different ways to learn and grow.”
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