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My experiences as a student and TA at YIBI

My name is Serena Cai and I’m a freshmen in Mission San Jose High School. I was a TA at this year’s YIBI business camp.

The YIBI business camp gives students an opportunity to explore business, entrepreneurship, and leadership. Students at YIBI get a hands-on experience to explore a real-world simulation of what creating a startup would be like.

I attended the YIBI business camp in the summer of 2018. My team was called Lend n Rent. We designed an app for renting and lending items from your local neighborhood. Originally, our project was not well received in the semifinals, but we improvised and worked together very hard to improve our project as a group. Through my YIBI experience, I learned not only business and finance skills, but also the importance of working together as a group and persistence. In the end, my team placed second place in grand finals. As a TA, I hoped that I could provide a similar learning experience to the students.

The team that I helped as a TA was called SunTrack. The business of SunTrack is to attach a solar tracker to the existing solar panels to maximize solar panel efficiency. Reinforcement learning is a built-in AI software inside the solar tracker. It controls the solar tracker to move the angle of the solar panel to maximize efficiency. The solar tracker would increase solar panel efficiency by 20 percent. Reinforcement learning is an inexpensive and centralized software and is able to adapt to different environments easily. The business model that my team proposed is to sell the reinforcement learning software on a monthly subscription service. They planned on starting their business in Los Angeles because LA is the city with the most solar panels installed. My team’s idea has great potential since greener energy options are more popular and needed now. AI is also increasing in development and application in recent years. Their idea combined the newest technology and current trends. My team got first place at the semifinals. I think they can succeed in future competition.

As I involved myself in more business-related activities in YIBI, I gained more knowledge with business and finance. Helping the students at YIBI helped me develop my leadership skills, and refreshed my knowledge with business and entrepreneurship. It was interesting to see things from a teacher’s perspective and was a great learning experience for me. Guiding and teaching people my age about business was interesting and I had a lot of fun working with my group and guiding them throughout the project.

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