Stanford Homegrown Social ventures

Four different organizations that started at Stanford came to talk. This talk seemed a little bit rushed and abbreviated. The organizations seemed cool, but I don't feel like I got to know a lot about the people's stories.

One organization made low cost ventilators.

SEE College Prep helps low income students and minorities study for the SATs.

TransFair USA: Paul Rice

TransFair USA is the main organization that does fair trade certification in the US. Seeing the person who started fair trade made me feel star-struck. Seeing Paul Rice in the flesh made it seem much more possible to do something as cool as create fair trade.


The Benetech speaker started out making open source software for international journalists and human rights organizations to use. Then, he started working on helping blind people read books. I think that he started out with text recognition and text to speech software. 

Kickstart: Dr Martin Fisher

Kickstart makes cheap hip-operated pumps so that poor people can irrigate their land, which increases their income by a lot.

Big Tent: Laney Whitcanak + Caroline Barlerin

Big Tent provides group tools for nonprofits.

World of Good: Priya Haji

Priya talked about her international travels. She saw that women often want to live in small villages rather than moving to big cities. This prevents them from easily selling their goods, but they could still be productive, and this is important because when a woman earns 4 dollars per day, it has a greater impact on the community as a whole than any other allocation of resources.

History 51: The History of American Slavery

I liked a lot of things about this class, but for some reason, I didn't like the class as a whole. 

I think that the class should have been taught as a seminar. It had few enough people to allow for discussion. 

I also think that the class should have moved faster. The professor spent a lot of time at the beginning of each class reviewing previous classes, and the teacher progressed fairly slowly with material in general, so it was hard to pay attention. I voiced this point -- that you can lose people if you go too slow -- in a previous letter, though.

Feminist Studies 138: Relationship Abuse and Prevention

FEMST138 was a very good class. The teacher, Nicole Baran, works at the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness, so she had a lot of practical knowledge about the subject.

CS103: Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science

CS103 is intended to get CS majors good at math as it relates to computer science. Some of the material in the class was moderately interesting, but because of previous math experience, Sophomore College (which taught most of the concepts that CS103 taught), and being fairly good with math in general, the class was too easy, and as a result the assignments felt like busywork. The proofs that we were assigned didn't feel difficult, but just time consuming.

In the first half of the term, we covered some general math:

CS107: Introduction to Computer Systems


CS107 was my fun class this term. It wasn't too much work (compared to CS221. More work than my other classes). The teacher, Julie Zelenski, was awesome. There were a lot of cool ideas. I got famous.


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