MAGIC News

May 2018: More MAGIC End-of-Year Presentations

MAGIC mentoring session completed in two schools in Northern California in the week of May 13th. Castilleja School in Palo Alto had the final presentation event on May 14th., and Menlo School in Atherton had the final presentation event on May 18th. These events were attended by families of mentees, mentors, school administrators and teachers, and MAGIC staff.

The MAGIC program at Castilleja had four mentees in this session: Claire W., Ellie G., Isabelle C., and Julia C. These mentees are all in sixth grade. The four mentors are all located in the bay area and were able to be physically present at the event. The mentors were: Deepa Mohan, Falguni Jhaveri, Hema Hariharan, and Venmathi Gunasekaran.

The mentees presented about the projects that they worked on with their MAGIC mentors this session, spanning a diverse range of topics from a "Dungeons and Dragons"-inspired game, website creation, Python coding, machine learning, and wildfire data analysis. This session was jointly managed by Ann Greyson and Angelika Grossman from Castilleja and Ian Gulliver from MAGIC. The Castilleja presentation slides can be found here.

Three girls, two from sixth grade and the third from eighth grade, were MAGIC mentees at Menlo: Kaavya B., Lucinda S. and Amy W. Two of the mentors, Lakshmi KP and Smriti Pramanick, are remotely located, and conducted their mentoring using Google hangouts or Skype. The third mentor, Michelle Dion, is based in the bay area, and did both face to face and remote meetings with her mentee.

The mentee projects consisted of building a website to locate a lost dog, designing and building a magnetically levitating car, and an Arduino based laser tag game. This session was jointly managed by Nina Arnberg from Menlo and Ira Pramanick from MAGIC. The Menlo presentation slides can be found here.

May 2018: MAGIC End-of-Year Presentations Start

On May 1st., MAGIC mentee Anna Y. presented her work at LEAP for Education in Salem, Massachusetts. Anna’s MAGIC mentor, Julia Harper, joined the presentation in person and introduced Anna to the audience made up of young girls who were presenting from the Girls Who Code organization. Kayla Dorst, Director of Programs and Innovation at LEAP for Education, hosted the event.

For her project, Anna developed an online To-Do List application with enhanced features, using several languages including CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. Her software toolkit consisted of GitHub Webpage, GitHub Desktop, and the Atom Editor. LEAP for Education’s mission is to empower first-generation-to-college and under-served youth to succeed in college, careers, and life.

This mentoring session was coordinated by MAGIC Program Coordinator Kim Fujikawa. The slides from Anna's presentation can be viewed here.


Another MAGIC end-of-year presentation was held on May 9th. at the Deep Run High School, Virginia. This is a new partnership for MAGIC, and our very first pilot in Virginia!

School sponsor Ms. Lynn Norris, MAGIC board member Seema Shukla, and Deep Run Coordinator and MAGIC mentor Deepa Kalkunte attended the presentation in person. MAGIC founder Ira Pramanick and MAGIC mentor Sunanda Sridhar joined via Google hangout.

After a brief introduction to MAGIC and the benefits of this mentoring program to the students in Deep Run’s Girls of Center of Information Technology (GoCIT) club, mentees Mia L. and Allie Q. presented their MAGICal experiences and their projects:

  • Mia wrote a Python program, learned ALICE while adapting a published solution, and was introduced to Raspberry Pi programming and IOT.

  • Allie was introduced to data analytics, and created a word cloud, through Twitter analysis using transformation techniques in the R programming language.

Both mentees showed great commitment throughout the program, and were very grateful to have been given this opportunity. Their presentations slides can be viewed here.

March 2018: Second MAGIC session at the Ann Richards School

A MAGIC session was kicked off this month at Ann Richards School in Austin, Texas. This is the second session of MAGIC at Ann Richards, which had a pilot session in the spring of 2017. This session will continue through summer of 2018, culminating with a final presentation in early September.

Two mentees from Ann Richards have been selected to participate in MAGIC for this session, one a sixth-grader and the other an eighth-grader. The sixth grader has been paired with a local mentor and the eighth grader is being mentored remotely by a professional in the San Francisco bay area.

Here's wishing the two mentor-mentee pairs a magical experience as they together explore STEM topics over the next five months!

March 2018: MAGIC Mentee's Paper Published in the PLOS Biology Journal

One of our past MAGIC mentees, Ria S., co-authored the paper "Digital Health: Tracking Physiomes and Activity Using Wearable Biosensors Reveals Useful Health-Related Information", while working as an intern in the Bioinformatics Group in the Department of Genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The paper was published on Jan. 12, 2018. The Stanford Medicine News Center also ran an article about it.

Bravo, Ria, we are all very proud of you!

January 2018: MAGIC Kicks Off a Spring Mentoring Session at Menlo School

The Menlo School held its MAGIC mentoring kickoff event for the spring session on January 19th. This is the second session following a very successful MAGIC pilot in the summer of 2017.

The spring MAGIC session at Menlo consists of three middle school mentees, two in the sixth grade and the third in the eighth grade. Two of the mentors are professionals in the bay area, and the third one is an undergraduate student of Computer Science at MIT, who will be remotely mentoring her sixth grade mentee.

MAGIC is being offered at Menlo School under the umbrella of Menlo's Bridge to Engineering, Science, Math and Technology (M-BEST) program, which has the goal of providing young women with various opportunities to explore their interests in STEM. M-BEST and MAGIC are delighted to be partnering with each other, and are thankful to the volunteer mentors who make these experiences possible for the mentees.

Here's wishing the Menlo mentee-mentors pair a wonderful journey as each pair explores the magic of STEM over the next five months!

January 2018: MAGIC in its Fifth Year at Castilleja School

MAGIC launched its spring session at Castilleja School, Palo Alto, CA, on Wednesday, January 10, marking its fifth year of collaboration with Castilleja. Four sixth grade girls attended with their parents, and received personal letters of introduction from their new mentors, who span the range of software and hardware engineers to product managers at a variety of tech companies. The Castilleja session runs January through May, when the mentees will do a final presentation of their projects for their parents, peers, and school representatives.

Castilleja continues to be an outstanding partner, and we wish each of the new mentees a MAGICal year with their mentors!