Hannah Guan, 15, of San Antonio, Texas, a sophomore at Basis San Antonio Shavano, started a nonprofit organization that provides free online math tutoring and academic camps for students from underserved communities. The child of a single immigrant mother, Hannah knows firsthand the day-to-day struggle that often keeps students from doing their best in school. “I grew up in the poorest metro area in the nation,” she said, an area with “very few educational resources.” But everything changed for Hannah when her mother signed her up for a math club in sixth grade. Suddenly, the girl who hated math discovered she had a real talent for the subject, and was winning math competitions around the country and even abroad. As her skills grew, she began to think about and research the way math is taught in the U.S., “with the emphasis on the very exams on which students underperform, disproportionately affecting students from underrepresented groups,” she said.
So three years ago, Hannah started “San Antonio Math Include” to provide greater access to STEM education for students from different backgrounds and cultures. She developed a model to teach live classes and summer camps online, which have now involved nearly 150 volunteers and more than 5,000 students in 322 schools in 28 states and four other countries. But online instruction is a problem for students who don’t have access to the internet, so Hannah wrote a report to raise awareness of this digital divide, and raised money for scholarships to help narrow it. In addition, as a member of the San Antonio Youth Commission, Hannah is working to introduce artificial intelligence curricula to local schools.