CDL Apprentices Show Budding Interest in Climate
In its inaugural year, CDL-Paris hosted an Apprentice Module on Climate, featuring up-and-coming high school pupils from across Canada. The topic was in keeping with this year’s Creative Destruction Lab program, CDL Climate, a nine-month certificate where HEC students work with ventures devoted to scalable solutions to climate change challenges. HEC Paris’ Equal Opportunity program participated as observers in the hope of more direct involvement next year.
Around 60 people followed this first-ever online Apprentice Module which works to address the gender gap by exposing female students to entrepreneurship and STEM. The two-hour program, hosted by HEC Paris, involved young women aged 15-18 showing a keen interest for how technology and science is transforming the world. The CDL co-site lead, Rachel Harris explains: “The module was launched several years ago to expose pupils to STEM and entrepreneurship to grow the pool of successful female entrepreneurs. This Climate session, hosted by CDL-Paris exposed pupils to experienced mentors and founders who helped them brainstorm how they could help reduce the impact of climate change.” As a result, could some of these bright young minds be part of the next generation of leaders involved in STEM-related topics, wondered the nine-strong team of mentors?
These seasoned professionals answered questions, whilst cajoling and encouraging the bright and fresh minds of the Toronto-based pupils. The queries were diverse: “Where do you think climate technology will be in the next 5-10 years?” asked Elly Yu. “I’m interested in wildlife and water conservation but also I’m interested in space. Do you think there are any career opportunities intergrading (sic) both?” wondered Alice Dineen. “If we have an idea/technology/venture in climate control domain, how do we approach it?” queried Shinjini Manchanda.
“Wow, these are impressive young minds,” said several mentors. Eugenia Rives advised the pupils: “Make choices you care about. Resist being put in a box. These careers demand a lot of investments, lots of hours, but this is the price you must accept. I feel a lot of positive energy amongst you, so pick a subject you really like and go for it!”
The pupils were further encouraged by a ‘face-to-face’ encounter with Shivani Shah, the ebullient founder of SAMP. This company leverages machine learning techniques to generate 3D models of large industrial facilities. Launching SAMP, Shah said, was her way of contributing to the digitalization of the energy industry and supporting its attempts to leave less carbon footprints in the environment. What significant event put her on the path to this career, asked the pupils? “I wouldn’t say there’s one specific event, but as you see more and more opportunities, you identify scientific problems. You find one that fascinates you in particular and you see how you can work your career towards it.”
After the module, Rachel Harris, who leads the program alongside HEC Professor Thomas Åstebro, applauded the enthusiasm shared by all participants: “We hope these pupils left with a better understanding on how science and technology are transforming the world; and how opportunities in the world of entrepreneurship are endless.”
Meanwhile, HEC’s CDL-Climate program resumes on April 27, exactly six months after its organizers invited 16 startups to share their scalable solutions to climate change challenges. This pioneering course reaches its climax in June – watch this space!