Apps for Good Fellow Caitlyn Taylor tells us about her recent experience with Outbox Incubator, a six week programme from the Stemettes for entrepreneurial girls who have ideas in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
45 girls, 6 weeks, 1 house. Sounds like chaos doesn’t it? Well I would be lying if I said it wasn’t but Outbox Incubator is the best chaos imaginable. From yoga mornings to coding games and from afternoon string theory discussions to altering the genome, Outbox Incubator has been a crazy, two week long adventure into a completely different reality.
I originally heard about Outbox Incubator through the Apps for Good Fellowship programme. I participated in the Apps for Good course in 2014 at Wick High School, winning the Productivity category along with two other girls and successfully launching our app, Chore Attack (available on the Apple app store). As Fellows we receive regular emails and being the social media newbie I am, said emails are usually my main way of finding out news from Apps for Good. Outbox Incubator was described as a summer residential for girls interested in STEM fields. After checking out their website and reading about the Stemettes (the organisation that run Outbox), I thought it would be great to take part in! Believe me, when I applied I was positive I wouldn’t get in. The applications for Outbox were open to the whole of Europe and only 45 girls from the ages of 11-22 would make the grade.
I applied because of my experience with Apps for Good and my passion for science in general. The Outbox Incubator programme is also open to young people with business ideas but my main goal of participating in the Incubator was to work out what I want to do with my life. I submitted my application and promptly forgot about it as I was busy concentrating on my exams. The sense of disbelief when I received my acceptance email was immense – I was going to London.
This brings us to the present. I am here in the Outbox House in London after spending two weeks soaking up as much knowledge and experience as is physically possible. What’s great about Outbox is that it is so varied. Last week we attended the Festival of Code in Birmingham, visited Goldman Sachs’ offices and were spoken to by a large number of industry experts on topics ranging from pitching to product design.
Meeting so many new people has been inspiring. We live in a culture today where some people see it as uncool to actually show interest in a specific subject or idea (geeks and nerds anyone?). In the house today are people who read dissertations, watch TED talks, follow politics and go to coding and tech festivals for (wait for it!) fun. Being at Outbox has made me realise that education doesn’t end at school, it is a lifelong journey of self-improvement. It isn’t idiotic to be passionate about something, everyone is, and the people who embrace their passions are much more likely to make an impact on the world.
With my personal goal to find a career path, Outbox has also been very beneficial. I have come to the conclusion that I really have no need to panic about what I want to do. We live in such a rapidly advancing world that I feel that to tie myself down to a particular career path would be silly. My plans for the future are to keep exploring the subjects I enjoy. I hope to continue teaching myself to code and plan to read a lot more non-fiction. Outbox has definitely confirmed my wish to pursue a career in STEM. I think it’s one of the most interesting and diverse areas and more people at all stages of education (especially girls) should consider it.
Outbox Incubator provides funding, mentorship and support to talented girls aged 22 and under who have innovative business and technology ideas. To keep up to date with everything happening at the Outbox Incubator, follow them Twitter.
Apps for Good students who have completed the course can join the Fellowship to get more opportunities in business and tech. If you’d like tell us about your experience of Apps for Good email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.