There’s a reason why Cal continually wins the title of “number-one public university” in the nation. One of those reasons is our diverse and innovative student body. This week, the Daily Clog had the opportunity to speak with fellow Golden Bear Lavanya Jawaharlal and her sister Melissa Jawaharlal about starting their own company, creating their own Kickstarter campaigns and their plans to publish a children’s book.
Lavanya, a current Cal student, and Melissa, a USC graduate, are passionate about educating the next generation in technology literacy. Early in 2012, the duo launched two robotics programs called Early STEM and Junior STEM. These programs introduced children to tech concepts, helped to exercise their motor skills and fostered creativity.
This past spring, the sisters launched their first Kickstarter campaign called “Pi-Bot.” A robotics program for high-school-level students, Pi-Bot would allow participants to build and program a basic robot. Proud of the idea as they were, however, it wasn’t enough for them.
“We loved the Pi-Bot, but we also work with students of all ages,” Lavanya told us. “Inspiring kids about robotics doesn’t start in high school — it starts at a younger age. Reading begins with learning and so should technology literacy.”
It was this realization that led them to create the “Technical Alphabet,” a children’s book that teaches basic technological words and concepts. They bring their motto, “Learning begins with the ABC’s and so should technical literacy,” to life with their book — now all they need is continued support. They are currently looking to raise the funds for illustration, publishing, printing and fulfillment costs toward producing the book.
As a freshman at USC working for Information Sciences Institute, Melissa was inspired to work in this field.
“Over the course of two years I worked there, we launched two satellites. Seventeen-year-old freshman Melissa was totally stoked and enraptured. This was the moment I decided I wanted to be a part of this world and explore the final frontier,” said Melissa.
Lavanya was just a freshman at Cal when she and her sister began this journey.
“The professors, classmates and advisors at Berkeley have been so supportive of everything I do. The advisors are always looking out to see how they can help me by giving me ways to network and reach out to other people,” Lavanya said.
You can read more about the “Technical Alphabet” here.