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Meet Our Founding Innovators

Founding Innovators will have a unique opportunity to inform NEIA's school community and share what inspired them most about joining our inaugural class.

Pin Points

  • Founding Innovators make up the inaugural class and have a direct impact on the school experience.

  • Students share in their own words what it means to them to join the NEIA community.

Join us in celebrating our Founding Innovators, who are members of NEIA’s inaugural class of students this September. As the fresh paint drys and the furniture arrives, we will be thinking of these students and the impact they will have on our school community.

To be a Founding Innovator is to co-create the school the world needs next. We celebrate and amplify the voices of our students as we work together to launch a new school. Our learning environment reflects their needs, provides a supportive community, and invites them to explore new ideas as they find their passion.

“We have the enormous benefit of the blank sheet of paper. What are the successes that we would like to repeat? What are the failures we should avoid? What do students need for the future that they aren’t getting right now?” — Jean Jones, Co-Founder and Trustee at NEIA.

Our students respond to Jean’s prompt with their vision of what a blank sheet of paper provides. They share in their own words what brought them to NEIA and how they intend to participate in our growing community.

Founding Innovators

“I am from a very small country in Africa called Uganda. I choose to enroll at NEIA because of the environment it is giving me to be more open-minded thanks to the human-centered design and to be a part of giving back to the community by being a catalyst for solving global issues.” — Paul, Grade 10, Uganda

“I can’t wait to join a community that wants to use kindness as the basis for our relationships to build and inform our thinking to better humanity and the world. We may struggle to see each other, but that struggle is worth it.” — Jimmy, Grade 6, Framingham, MA

“I chose NEIA because I want to help create a new school and love the collaborative learning style. But the main reason that I want to go to NEIA is that in my “uninterview,” they asked me to help design the hub/café. I know that I would be an important part of the community if they ask me questions like this. I felt very important when applying and felt all the faculty would help me be successful in anything I do.” — Charliese, Grade 7, Southborough, MA

“I like that at NEIA you are very hands-on. I love all sorts of projects, and mostly I like coding because it involves both math and language skills. Science is also a great subject when it comes to projects. All the chemical reactions are my favorite thing to see. I have ideas for the future, and at NEIA, I can innovate them. Learning may be a challenge, but as you said, I must not fear challenges. I can use my experience from challenges to overcome bigger challenges. This is why I want to go to your school, to forge my own way with my friends.” — Tim, Grade 6, Needham, MA

“Going to NEIA is exciting because I will be able to learn about what interests me most while also exploring new topics. I like that I have time to dive into projects, work on them over time, and not always feel rushed. I am excited to go to NEIA because I’m excited to meet other new students.” — Giselle, Grade 6, Dover, MA

“I am very excited about and grateful to be a member of the Founding Innovator class. NEIA is a great fit for me. I am always fascinated by the stories of how inventors and innovators have changed people’s lives and shaped the world. I hope to be one of them in the future. I love to make or build things since I was a little kid. I enjoyed playing LEGOs so much and often helped my older brother put together his sets. I’m currently taking “Inventions & Innovations/Set Design” as my 8th-grade elective. In this class, I enjoy learning the basics of innovation and design. I also enjoy using my creativity to build things. I hope to learn and become a next-generation innovator at NEIA.” — Kevin, Grade 9, New Jersey

Join the NEIA Community

We believe school should be a place of wonder and joy. Take the journey with us and explore what it means to be a Founding Innovator. Reach out to our team to learn how we might create a sense of belonging at school.

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After our first full week into summer, we want to look back on a year-long project that yielded impressive results for three of our amazing rising 12th graders.

This past fall, NEIA 11th graders pitched products that could add value to people’s lives by curing diseases or ailments. This is part of the BioTrek Program: a joint initiative by ARMI (Advanced Regenerative Medical Institute) and BioFabUSA. Students pitched their amazing ideas to Tim McCauley, their peers, and a panel of judges made up of NEIA staff members. 

Throughout these presentations, our students walked through all phases of the Biotrek journey. First, identifying a problem. Second, engineering a solution using bio-manufacturing techniques. In the third phase, they developed a business and financial model for their product. The final phase was this event: pitching to their peers and judges. They are trying to solve real medical issues, such as endometriosis, chronic lung disease, color blindness, and osteogenesis (just to name a few). 

The winners moved on to the Final Presentations judged by representatives from ARMI and Biofab, which decided
who would represent NEIA against other schools in the Biotrek Championship. The winning group chosen to go to the championship was Endopexy, created by Milena, Lila, and Max H.

Milena, Lila, and Max’s hard worked paid off as they were the winning team of the championships. We are so proud of these three innovators for working hard the whole year and being recognized in such a highly competitive program.

This project-based learning program continues to be a very valuable experience for our innovators. You can clearly see the intersection of subjects like science, math, entrepreneurship, and communications. It is the perfect example of how integrated academics lead to exciting projects and connections.

#NEIA #BioTrek #Innovation #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #integration
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This weekend, three of our 11th grade students: Vicki, Owen, and Langston, won first place at the Entrepreneurship for All - EforAll All Ideas Pitch Competition for their idea around the NEXTGEN Summit, a conference that Langston initiated this spring at NEIA.

Owen explains the idea to execution as follows, "My mother is an alum of the Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Business Accelerator Program. One night while scrolling Instagram, she found a post by EforAll about an All Ideas Pitch Competition happening. She sent me the post at 11:20 p.m. and we were signed up for the event by 12:15 a.m. A few weeks later we were selected to table at the event with the potential of being able to participate in the final pitch competition. We landed a spot in the pitch competition, and it was a huge success as we not only won the first place prize of $1000, but also won the Fan Favorite prize for an additional $500. We were by far the youngest attendees at the event and were pitching with people who were already well removed from college."

We are so proud of our innovators and commend them for their efforts to not only seek new opportunities each and every day but to thrive within them.

#NEIA #PitchCompetition #EForAll #NEXTGENSummit #NEXTGEN #FutureOfEducation #Innovation #Entrepreneurship
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That’s a wrap! We will see you soon, innovators. We miss you already.

#LastDayOfSchool #Summer #NEIA #innovators #summerbreak
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