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Shawn Z_edited.jpg

Shawn Zhu

Future of AI,
Youth Advocate

Shawn Zhu has dreamed of being an influencer to share his unique takes on problems, such as cybersecurity and education, which he finds intriguing. Whether it is YouTube, Scratch, Speech and Debate events, advocating for AAPI issues, or using AI to solve world problems, he is passionate to share his vision to build stronger communities.

 

Creativity is an amazingly unique trait that should be at its peak in younger years; but it was a thing Shawn initially lacked, not because he didn’t want creativity, but because those creative opportunities were invisible to him at that time. When a little engineering crate at his doorstep with the label “Tynkerbox” tinkered his brain with disc flingers, pneumatic robots, hydraulic claws, a catapult game, it truly became game changing for him. It led him to find the world of Scratch, a site where you can create anything you want with code and drawing. With true passion to recreate the games he played for years, he managed to gain over 65,000 views and nearly 700 followers alongside being chosen to be curated on the Scratch front page. His final game with over 1,200 likes and 10,000 views was his final project and final display of what he can truly do. 

 

At this stage of his life as a sophomore in high school, he pondered a lot on how robots ponder themselves, and that’s where he found out about Artificial Intelligence. The loop of creating research questions, programming a model, and having it solve problems is intriguing and unique to him. He finished an Inspirit AI MIT Scholars Program with a Facial Emotion Detection project, a tweet virality predictor project, alongside the Ambassador Program meant for advocating more people to learn about AI. As an ambassador, he implemented the lessons taught by co-founding an AI Club at his school.
 

Furthermore, his debate experience exposed him to many world issues, and one thing that struck him was AAPI history, and that is why he joined Make Us Visible PA, a national volunteer organization advocating to increase Asian American and Pacific Islander inclusion in K-12 schools. He helped spread awareness through being a co-leader of planning and creating social media content alongside organizing events that reached tens of thousands. Make Us Visible PA is currently advocating for House Bill 779 and he is also a member of the Make Us Visible National’s Student Leadership Network. He won the President’s Volunteer Service Award Gold Medal for his dedication to serve the community, alongside being a member of his school’s NHS (National Honor Society).
 

In addition to spreading messages through Original Oratory, he brings his stories global through YouTube. He loves to share self motivating messages and ideas with his viewers, gaining around 1,400 subscribers and 150,000+ views in 8 months. He captained his school’s Digital Video Production team for Technology Student Association (TSA), championing the regional competition and winning 7th place in the state competition.
 

Looking ahead, Shawn’s aspirations are to combine the skills he had in programming and advocacy to help solve world issues using Artificial Intelligence.

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