It’s often said that fortune favors the bold. So, too, does Forbes and TIME Magazine with their annual 30 Under 30 and 50 Best Inventions honors, respectively.
Each year Forbes publishes a list of the 30 most creative and ambitious people under 30 years old in 20 different industries around the world like education, healthcare, and consumer technology. Similarly, TIME Magazine publishes a list of the 50 best inventions of the past year, comprising both young innovators and seasoned entrepreneurs alike.
Honorees for both awards are chosen for a wide variety of accomplishments. Some are product marketers integrating cutting-edge machine learning into business at every level. Others are social entrepreneurs starting online professional networks for historically disadvantaged college graduates. One is developing alternative-meat products that taste good and are environmentally sustainable.
What they all share is a willingness to blaze unconventional career paths and dream big. Many of the honorees share another common experience: they either attended or worked at an EXPLO summer program.
The students who make the conscious decision to attend EXPLO are the type of people who will invent the next Facebook, put humans on Mars, or become the leader of their country. Not only are these people intellectually curious and motivated, they have the interpersonal skills to work with each other to accomplish most anything.
— Malik K., EXPLO Alum
This year, we’re very proud to announce that four of our alums have been named to the 2019 class of Forbes’ 30 Under 30, joining a fast-growing cohort of honorees with ties to EXPLO.
Additionally, two more alums have earned TIME 50 Best Inventions of 2018 honors.
“I’m both thrilled that members of the EXPLO family have made the Forbes and TIME lists, but at the same time not entirely surprised,” said EXPLO President and Executive Director Moira Kelly. “Since EXPLO's founding more than 40 years ago, the EXPLO culture has always been one of exploration and pioneering. These recent award winners are keeping that adventuring spirit alive. Congratulations, all!”
Forbes 30 Under 30 Winners
Co-Founder, Juni Learning
One of the fastest growing career fields is coding — programming jobs overall are growing 12% faster than the market average. Few students, however, are learning these crucial skills at a young age to set themselves ahead of the pack. That’s where Ruby Lee comes in. She’s aiming to change how coding education happens as the co-founder of Juni Learning, a start-up that provides a full computer science curriculum for students ages 5-18. Teachers work one-on-one or two-on-one with students online to developing their coding skills in several different languages, including Python and Java. Over half of Juni’s instructors are female, and it recently secured an investment from Arielle Zuckerberg (Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s younger sister).
Manufacturing + Industry
If you live in New York City in a building without a doorman, it can be difficult to make sure you’re home when a package is delivered. That’s why Jesse Kaplan founded Parcel — an e-commerce company that works with online retailers to offer a streamlined experience for customers who need last-minute deliveries to arrive correctly and on time. Parcel was recently acquired by Walmart, who praised the startup as “a proven leader in e-commerce package delivery, including taking fresh, frozen and perishable food the last mile — that is, the last step in the shipping process as products make their way from a fulfillment center to your door.”
Marketing + Advertising
Global Product Marketer, IBM Watson
Companies looking to grow in a 21st century economy need to be able to analyze massive quantities of customer data quickly and accurately. IBM Watson is a cutting-edge artificial intelligence system that understands natural human language. It can be used to create a responsive chatbot for a bank or analyze millions of football plays to assemble the best fantasy team. As a global product marketer for Watson, Jon Chang works on marketing strategy and messaging to expand its use all over the world. He’s also an adjunct programming instructor at New York University, teaches coding at General Assembly, and continues to provide curriculum support and marketing strategy to EXPLO.
Getting your first job out of college can be difficult for anyone, but it’s even harder if you belong to an underrepresented group with limited access to networking opportunities. Amina Yamusah co-founded BLOC just a few years after she graduated from Princeton to reduce the unemployment rate for college graduates of color. BLOC uses algorithmic technology and smart résumé analysis to help prepare black graduates for jobs in the innovation economy. It provides the template for workforce training organizations to launch their own career coaching portals so that job seekers can receive direct advice from career professionals — and then get connected with opportunities all over the country.
TIME 50 Best Inventions
For young professionals on the go, it can be difficult to schedule a workout experience that fits into your busy schedule and is appropriately challenging. Brynn Putnam, CEO of Mirror, has developed an interactive visual display that offers classes like pilates, yoga, and more all from the privacy of your own home — and then turns back into a mirror when your class is over.
Executive Chairman, Beyond Meat
More and more around the world people are reducing — or eliminating entirely — their meat consumption to reduce its impact on climate change. It used to be a given that they’d have to sacrifice good-tasting food to do so, but Seth Goldman of Beyond Meat is aiming to change that. The company was awarded a TIME Invention this year for its new product, Beyond Sausage, that is plant-based but tastes like pork. They’re aiming to expand their offerings to develop new tasty meat alternatives in the year to come. Goldman is also a co-founder of Honest Tea.