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Meet Selina Kim and Siddhi Shah of Neuronerdz in Bay Area

Today we’d like to introduce you to Selina Kim and Siddhi Shah.

Selina and Siddhi, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We were middle school classmates, but we went off to different high schools and lost touch. Without even knowing it, we ended up developing similar interests. Selina was thinking of writing a book about the brain geared towards kids and had a draft written up.

Meanwhile, Siddhi had been wanting to start a neuroscience education program at local schools and had attended a summer program from where she got the preliminary resources to do so. When we met again at the local Brain Bee (a neuroscience competition for high schoolers), we instantly realized that our two goals aligned and decided to work together on both of these projects.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It definitely wasn’t a smooth road for us- the same as it is for anyone trying to do something new. In terms of the lesson development, we faced a lot of rejection from school administration when we approached them for a chance to implement our neuroscience curriculum, with reasons like the lack of funding, lack of resources, or lack of time.

Many times our emails would go unanswered. We finally found one school willing to give us the opportunities we were seeking, Siddhi’s old elementary school, Garden Gate. While publishing our book, there were problems as well.

We spent months trying to figure out a good, fun concept. In fact, we didn’t get to the idea of “How to Become a NeuroNerd” until a few months before we actually published—and we published the book after a year-and-a-half.

Neuronerdz – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We focus on neuroscience education for kids: there’s been a surging interest in the brain, and we aim to introduce children to the field early on. Through our work, we hope to combat the stigma around mental health by presenting kids with the facts about the brain and keep students interested in STEM fields.

We’re most proud of being able to teach over 140 kids in our classes, and our kindle book was recently named the #1 new release in the children’s biology books list.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Siddhi- Personally, my proudest moment was when a parent of one of our students approached me and some of our teacher assistants and talked about how our teaching had positively impacted her daughter. She had become more involved in science and was truly interested in what she was learning.

To me, this translated as a moment of pride because it was an indication that our lessons had an impact past our classrooms. If students were going home and talking about what they had learned with joy, we were doing our jobs right.

Selina- I don’t have any one moment that I’ve been the most proud of. Every time the kids in our classes understand a concept and have fun whilst doing so, I feel a surge of satisfaction—that’s really just the joy of teaching for me.

Pricing:

  • How to Become a NeuroNerd is available on Amazon for $15 in print and $4.99 on Kindle (free on Kindle Unlimited).

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Bansi Patel

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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