Meet Changemaker Edward Jiang, founder of StudentRND

This is the sec­ond post in the series intro­duc­ing the amaz­ing young peo­ple who are pro­filed in my upcom­ing book, BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS (Beyond Words/Simon Pulse, Sep­tem­ber 2014). Today I’m intro­duc­ing Edward Jiang, founder of Stu­den­tRND, and giv­ing some behind-the-scenes details about our in-per­son interview.

Edward Jiang
Edward Jiang

Edward loves tech­nol­o­gy, but he was frus­trat­ed by the struc­tured oppor­tu­ni­ties avail­able to him in high school. He want­ed to have the time and resources to just play with tech­nol­o­gy along­side oth­er enthu­si­asts and see what they could make out of it. So, right before grad­u­a­tion, he recruit­ed some of his friends to spend the sum­mer of 2009 hang­ing out with him at his house and build­ing cool tech­nol­o­gy projects togeth­er. He had such a great time that he decid­ed to build a per­ma­nent place in the com­mu­ni­ty where any inter­est­ed stu­dent could do the same. He called it Stu­den­tRND.
StudentRND logoBy 2013, Stu­den­tRND occu­pied a 3,500-square-foot office space in Belle­vue, WA, with an elec­tron­ics lab (fea­tur­ing sol­der­ing tools and oscil­lo­scopes), a fab­ri­ca­tion lab (with a 3‑D print­er and laser cut­ter), a com­put­er lab (loaded with soft­ware pack­ages), and an impres­sive tech­nol­o­gy library. When I vis­it­ed, Edward showed me how he used his Twit­ter account to unlock the door, and I got to see their cus­tom vend­ing machine and a set of the plas­ma speak­ers cre­at­ed at Stu­den­tRND by Mar­shall Meng. Impres­sive, to say the least!
Edward was one of the first peo­ple I inter­viewed for BE A CHANGEMAKER, and it was an expe­ri­ence I won’t soon for­get. To my sur­prise, he was skep­ti­cal about the book and made no attempt to hide his feel­ings. He polite­ly ques­tioned the need for a book like this specif­i­cal­ly for teens, who are per­fect­ly capa­ble of read­ing books for adults. I’m so grate­ful to him for rais­ing this issue ear­ly on! His doubts guid­ed me through­out the writ­ing process, remind­ing me to nev­er talk down to my audi­ence as I strug­gled to include the most use­ful con­tent in the most direct­ly rel­e­vant ways. I hope I’ve suc­ceed­ed in deliv­er­ing some­thing wor­thy of teen read­ers. If I have, I know I owe it in no small part to Edward and his unflinch­ing honesty.
Now a reg­is­tered nonprofit, Stu­den­tRND con­trols a six-figure annu­al bud­get and receives more than a third of its fund­ing from tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies like eBay, Splunk, Coin­star, Stratos, and Medtron­ic. Major online media out­lets like TechCrunch, Geek­Wire, and Mash­able as well as tra­di­tion­al media like news­pa­pers, radio, and tele­vi­sion have fea­tured Stu­den­tRND. And they recent­ly added three tech­nol­o­gy vet­er­ans from com­pa­nies includ­ing Splunk, Ama­zon, and Google to their board of direc­tors, join­ing Edward and Stu­den­tRND pro­gram direc­tor Tyler Menezes.
CodeDay logoLast week­end 24 cities across the coun­try host­ed Code­Day events for hun­dreds of youth. First launched in 2011, Stu­den­tRND’s Code­Day events are 24-hour stu­dent hackathons. Young tech­nol­o­gists pitch ideas, form teams, and build a cool app or game togeth­er in one day. What can a stu­dent do in one day? Moham­mad Adib cre­at­ed and pub­lished Side­bar, an Android app with more than 200,000 down­loads! And that’s just one of many Code­Day suc­cess stories.
Stu­den­tRND and its Code­Day pro­gram appear poised to con­tin­ue grow­ing, reach­ing more stu­dents, engag­ing them in tech­nol­o­gy, and mak­ing real prod­ucts. And Edward Jiang made that change happen.
Fol­low Stu­den­tRND on Face­book and on Twit­ter. Fol­low Code­Day on Face­book and on Twit­ter.

Be a Changemaker Front Cover-tiny
If you’d like to read more about Edward and oth­er young peo­ple like him who are putting their pas­sions into action to make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence in the world, please pre-order the book at Amazon.comBarnes & NobleIndieBoundPowell’s, or Beyond Words, or Secret Gar­den Books. Order­ing from Secret Gar­den Books can get you a signed copy if you allow an extra week or two for deliv­ery and indi­cate how you’d like it per­son­al­ized in the “oth­er notes about your order” field.

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