On Sunday night, three Lawrenceville Fourth Formers shared their experiences launching initiatives outside Lawrenceville as part of the “Girls Rising Up” event hosted by Women in Business at Lawrenceville.
Emmy Apfel ’22 founded a nonprofit organization called Beyond the Book
(BTB) that provides free, one-on-one homework help and mentoring sessions to K-8 students.
“We match our high school ‘Study Buddies’ (tutors) with students to complete all sessions, fostering a love of learning through peer-to-peer mentoring,” Apfel said. “BTB doesn't emphasize a 4.0 GPA or a 1600 SAT score, rather a boost of engagement and curiosity. Thus far, we've completed 5000 sessions, have been featured in CNN
, and are currently working on getting all of our Study Buddies trained by the YMCA in early childhood behavior management.”
Apfel says the idea for Beyond the Book emerged when the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated a problem with the education space that she had never noticed before.
“Kids don't have many opportunities to learn, grow, and engage beyond the setting of their classroom and teacher. I observed my fifth grade brother's experience during the pandemic: when teachers suddenly had limited connection to him and his peers, the curiosity and motivation inside him (and younger students at large) had no outlet,” she said.
Apfel brainstormed ways she could help offer students support, and turned to what she knew - high school student mentors. She gathered her friends and within days they had launched the
Beyond the Book website.
“We built a hub in the Bay Area, where I'm from, but as the co-founder and director, I felt strongly that Beyond the Book's mission and product could be beneficial everywhere, even in a post-COVID world,” she said. “The power of a peer mentor is lasting and significant. Leveraging online tools, BTB connects kids from around the world to collaborate, engage, learn, and have fun. As we hit our one-year anniversary, I can proudly say we have a successful UK branch as well as students from 10 US states. And so much more coming!”
Apfel says that BTB is currently looking for new Study Buddies and K-8 students, as well as new partnerships with schools or youth organizations. Find more details on their website.
Quincy Leung ’21 founded the nonprofit Lynker
in an effort to connect young people to job and internship opportunities to help them gain real-world work experience.
“Our mission is to help prepare youth for future work and life endeavors and empower them to step beyond the boundaries of conventional education,” she said. “Our website has three main features: student profile postings, job and internship postings, and resources providing helpful tips and insights. We also host events such as guest speaker webinars and career workshops.”
Leung says she was inspired to start Lynker after experiencing Lawrenceville’s approach to a holistic education.
“Growing up in Hong Kong, where the education system and culture are very academic-oriented, I wanted to develop a way to bring the positive aspects of this western experiential learning back home,” she said. “Along with a team of 12 other students, I hope to use my unique position to help youth broaden their horizons and realize their full potential.
Last fall, Sofiya Belovich ’22 founded WhizPhys
, an international, youth-led organization dedicated to creating a community of passionate young scientists through virtual resources and opportunities
“When I was young and just was just starting to explore science, I found it hard to find resources online on topics outside of the standard school curriculum and often felt alone in my endeavors,” she said. “At WhizPhys we host discussions and live-science demonstrations, lead an active blog, provide math and science tutoring opportunities to our members and collaborate with other organizations such as The Knowledge Society. In addition, it is imperative to give opportunities for ambitious youth to hear from professionals, which is why we also host interviews and webinars with prominent modern physicists.”
Belovich says that after observing a lack of international STEM competitions open to young students, she launched the Gen Science Competition, an international STEM competition for students between the ages of 5 and 18, through WhizPhys.
“The deadline to submit your work is May 31st, and the submissions will be judged by professors and students in the appropriate scientific fields,” she says. “Through all of these initiatives with WhizPhys, I hope to help more children around the world explore the amazing field of science!”
For additional information, please contact Lisa M. Gillard Hanson, director of Public Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.