Growing up in a challenging environment where access to proper mentors and resources was scarce, and having acquired experience and a position from where I can now give back, I spend a good amount of time and energy mentoring passionate Bangladeshi students who aim to become researchers and technology leaders in the future.
Public Data Initiative
I founded a data-based storytelling platform in 2015 that trains Bangladeshi undergraduate and high school students to become data scientists through a constructionist, learn-by-doing approach. Students work in interdisciplinary teams that solve unique data challenges relevant to Bangladesh, with help from some mentors. Mentors and students come from a wide range of disciplines, including data science, machine learning, economics, law, journalism etc. Depending on the complexity of the project, mentoring duration can vary from a few months to more than a year. Students are chosen through applications and workshops of KolpoKoushol (read below).
I also founded the initiative KolpoKoushol (a playful Bangla version of the words Imagination Engineering) in 2015, which organizes regular workshops on a national level in Bangladesh, focusing on design thinking, making, and an antidisciplinary approach towards science and society.
Here are some example projects that were created by students in summer 2015 workshop. (Youtube playlist).
KolpoKoushol Lecture Series
In an effort to raise awareness about the power of data and AI, and antidisciplinary thinking, I have toured in different Bangladeshi universities during summers and winters and spoken about these topics. So far, I have spoken in eight universities in Dhaka and Chittagong, and I plan to travel to the more remote regions and universities in the future.
Makers’ Lab Workshop (Bangladesh)
In January 2015, I organized and conducted a workshop in Bangladesh solely on making hardware and Human-Computer interfaces. The topics taught were: embedded devices, augmented reality, and data visualization. In the context of Bangladesh, the topics were quite new, and my hope was to eventually spread a wave of new technology knowledge across the country (later realized through the above initiatives). It was a 6-day workshop with 21 participants from different universities and districts, selected from an applicant pool of 150 undergraduate students. Here’s a Facebook album showing a glimpse of what happened. And a documentary video showing all the final projects developed by my workshop students, and a short speech from me. The workshop was facilitated by Toru, an innovation organization in Bangladesh.