The Children Of Minerva
Questioz is a platform for teenage academics to posit, publish and challenge each other in a quest to keep to the path of those enlightened by scientific research. Its founder is 17 years old.
Photo Credit : http://www.questioz.com/, http://www.questioz.com/,
Saumya Malhotra wears lehengas, goes to parties, goes out with her friends, and loves Harry Potter. She is every bit the teenager living in Delhi and attending 12th Grade in Vasant Kunj.
But then she’ll say something like, “We want to ensure that tomorrow's conversations are amongst excellent critical thinkers who are willing to challenge themselves and their notions intellectually and systematically to find effective solutions to the world's most pressing problems. Admittedly, these are daunting goals, and we're a bunch of seventeen year olds.
However, I believe that if we only temper our (so called!) youthful idealism and passion with efficient processes, systemic effort, the advice of our expert review panel and the ever-so-frequent brainstorming session, we can not only have a positive impact, but also institutionalize it for the years to come."
It’ll leave you impressed, and jaw slightly hanging. But to put it in short, Saumya created Questioz, an online platform for high school research journals, to encourage teenagers just like her to improve and develop their thinking skills through research projects, so that one day these same youngsters will be ready to find solutions to global challenges that we need some serious answers to.
What is most commendable about her efforts is that she is providing a global platform going beyond the confines of a classroom for students aged 14 to 18 years to showcase their ideas and research projects.
Since its inception in December, 2015, Saumya has built Questioz to feature over 50 papers ranging from the sciences to the humanities. The writings have come from students from as many as 15 different countries across the world.
In her words, Questioz was borne out of a love for academic research. To her, going out into the world and investigating and learning for yourself what’s right and what’s wrong is the best way to learn. “I wrote a fifteen page paper analysing the role of music and poetry on political revolutions while attended a program at the Summer Humanities Institute, Stanford University last year.” And that was the harbinger to founding Questioz.
Her startup platform has become a haven for teenagers with a penchant for scientific research. Saumya has been diligent in getting other scholars she has met through her time attending summer research programs at Yale and Stanford on Questioz as regional coordinators. These coordinators come from diverse corners of the globe like Nigeria, USA, China and Malaysia, and help spread the word about the movement. Positive word of mouth and heavy promotion on social networks also helps according to Saumya.
The quality, validity and accuracy of the research papers submitted are vetted by an expert review committee of professors, graduate students and brilliant undergraduates from prestigious universities like Yale, Stanford among other educational institutions. “The experts also provide constructive criticism and feedback to our contributors,” says she.
But what’s the point?
It’s hard to see value when there’s no price tag to something, once you grow up and join a jaded world. Or maybe we just become more realistic. But according to Saumya, she does have a higher purpose in mind rather than just running a network for posting journals by teenagers.
Since Questioz’ work is by high schoolers, the chances of institutions or individuals paying to use these journals are rather low. But Saumya’s future plans to link up with education ministries is a smart one. “One way of deepening the impact that Questioz can have is to collaborate with education ministries and institutions around the world. This would be a very effective way to utilize formal channels and existing policy clout to further the cause of inquiry-based education.”
I do believe very strongly that both acknowledging and promoting the intellectual explorations and academic contributions of high school students is key to elevating our education system to even greater heights. Please do visit us at www.Questioz.com, and our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/questioz.”
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