The Nerdy Blog



French Is NOT Spoken Here

Michael Leventhal, Chief Nerdy Development Officer

December 8, 2016

French Is NOT Spoken Here

Bamako, Mali French is the language that divides Malians. City and country. Cosmopolitan and traditional. Rich and poor. Social class can usually be instantly determined by the level of French of an interlocutor …

I see a lot of potential uses for artificial intelligence in Africa to advance development; promotion of African languages is one of them … What if AI were used to produce a Manding pedagogical system …

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The Africa You Don't Know

Michael Leventhal, Chief Nerdy Development Officer

November 28, 2016

TheAfricaYouDontKnow

Bamako, Mali I was scared the first time I came to Sub-Saharan Africa. The country where I now live, where, perhaps, my future lies, is very near the bottom of every ranking of human progess. Mali …

The thing that you have never imagined is that an African country can have 1/80 of your per capita income but be better than you in … preservation of the extended family … social solidarity … determination to work together to make that future bright.

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Running to Bamako

Michael Leventhal, Chief Nerdy Development Officer

Dec 6, 2015

CALIFORNIA “Well, you won’t be going back to Bamako now.” My father was so sure that I, or any sane person, would never consider traveling to an African country where a terrorist attack had just taken place that it didn’t even occur to him to ask if I planned to return to Bamako, Mali.

I’m running to Bamako, now, and iNERDE is here to stay, unafraid, in Mali.

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It Takes a Child to Empower a Community

Rakibou Ouru-Djobo, Chief Nerdy Operating Officer

August 12, 2015

Arlington, Massachusetts During this year’s STEM summer camps, we witnessed how the community, starting with students’ parents, and expanding to include partner schools, local teachers, and volunteers were critical to the success of our program.

We had come to inspire them but they inspired us and strengthened our belief in our partnership of shared values.

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Public School, Private School

Michael Leventhal, Chief Development Officer

July 28, 2015

BAMAKO, MALI The other day we were interviewed by a local television station. The reporter was asking some tough questions; actually, I quite admired the penetration of her questions and the diligence with which she dug into her story. She asked where our kids came from, we responded that they were selected by our partners school and proceeded to name them.
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Finding Sarah, NYC-Bamako Girl

Michael Leventhal, Chief Development Officer

July 27, 2015

BAMAKO, MALI My daughter, Sarah Brooks, is the Educational Coordinator for the Colonie de Vacances STEM in Mali this summer. As the teacher of Computer Science, I have had the extraordinary joy of working with my daughter professionally the last two weeks of the Colonie de Vacances.

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Eating the African Way

Michael Leventhal, Chief Development Officer

July 27, 2015

BAMAKO, MALI As a generality, it is quickly obvious to the visitor that extended family relations and community solidarity are a very central part of African culture. Eating from a common platter is one way in which this solidarity is expressed. It may be one of more unfamiliar things one will see in Africa but it also one of the most beautiful things one can experience here.
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Just Kids

Michael Leventhal, Chief Development Officer

July 26, 2015

BAMAKO, MALI My daughter arrived in Africa two weeks before me for the start of the Colonie de Vacances in Mali. I asked in a text what the kids were like. We both, somehow, had the idea that African education would be more formal than in the U.S., and the kids more polite. After a few days in Bamako my daughter texted back to me, “They’re kids, kids like anywhere.”

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Four Classes Make a Big School

Michael Leventhal, Chief Development Officer

July 25, 2015

BAMAKO, MALI It is amazing to me to see that iNERDE, in only our second year, has filled the Parlement des Enfants with eager students, learning DNA extraction, civil engineering, computer science, and many other STEM subjects. Beautiful boys and girls, eager to learn, supported by families completely dedicated to the education of their children.
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Green Bamako

Michael Leventhal, Chief Development Officer

July 23, 2015

BAMAKO, MALI The first thing I noticed about Bamako is that it is green. As the plane descended to the airport I saw expanses of green trees and fields. After the desert region of Dakar, it was incomprehensible. I hadn’t thought about the geography and didn’t realize that I would be descending south, out of the Sahel, and into a verdant zone.

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Teaching Ramadan

Michael Leventhal, Chief Development Officer

July 21, 2015

DAKAR, SENEGAL I participated directly in the life of the country, it gave me an understanding that will better inform my work for iNERDE and our efforts to make STEM education effective in an African culture context. I also learned about one source of the strength and determination of people in our two iNERDE countries, Mali and Senegal: the discipline that is practiced and the purpose that is demonstrated in Ramadan.
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Jeopardy and Probability

Michael Leventhal, Chief Development Officer

July 21, 2015

DAKAR, SENEGAL We start each week of the Colonie de Vacances with something we call “Teach Back”; a review of the previous week’s lessons. The students actively demonstrate their understanding of the material, reinforcing what they have learned. This week took the form of a game of Jeopardy where teams of students selected questions at augmenting values in iNERDE’s core STEM categories.

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Language

Michael Leventhal, Chief Development Officer

July 18, 2015

DAKAR, SENEGAL In Dakar, most people speak Wolof as their mother tongue. Dakar is a big city and there are people here from all over. Some Senegalese speak other languages as their mother tongue and there are Africans from other countries as well as people from countries outside Africa. But Wolof is one lingua franca in Dakar. The other, of course, is French.

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iNERDE has come to Senegal

Michael Leventhal, Chief Development Officer

July 16, 2015

DAKAR, SENEGAL iNERDE ran its first Colonie de Vacances STEM for thirty students just last year in Bamako, Mali. One year later, we have expanded our program to four schools in Bamako with 120 kids. It was a big step for us to organize and fund a program 4 times larger, but we felt we had a strong base to build on in Mali.

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Senegal Works

Michael Leventhal, Chief Development Officer

July 13, 2015

DAKAR, SENEGAL I have spent my first 24 hours in Dakar, surviving my “baptême par feu”, as Momo described our trip to market and excursion to a distant town, Tivaouane, north-east of Dakar.

It seems it has become a iNERDE tradition to think about food before anything else, inspired, probably, by Pusso’s insatiable appetite. I finally got to eat the famous West African yassa, I first heard of and wrote about this dish a year ago…
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Machine Learning on the way to Dakar

Michael Leventhal, Chief Development Officer

July 11, 2015

PARIS, FRANCE -I’m on my way to Dakar for the final week of iNERDE’s first STEM summer camp in Sénégal, held in cooperation with the Senegalese-American Bilingual School, SABS. I’ll be teaching the computer systems and computer science curriculum developed by iNERDE and helping to make our expansion to Senegal a success…
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Advocating for STEM Education at the YouthfulCities Summit

Oyindamola Johnson – iNERDE Guest Blogger

June 22, 2015

TORONTO, CANADA – Earlier this year, iNERDE guest blogger Oyindamola Johnson joined the YouthfulCities summit in Toronto, Canada as a YouthfulCities Urban Decoder and 2015 Global Summit Delegate.
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Challenges to Science Education: Developing Nations in Perspective

Oyindamola Johnson – iNERDE Guest Blogger

April 13, 2015

LAGOS, NIGERIA – There are several challenges to science education in developing nations: policy formulation, political will, funding, infrastructure…

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MOOCs: The New Way of Learning

Oyindamola Johnson – iNERDE Guest Blogger

January 25, 2015

LAGOS, NIGERIA – The future of education is gradually evolving beyond the four walls of the classroom and is making use of both conventional and unconventional means to educate millions around the world. The internet is playing a major role in achieving this.

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Rising to Our Best

Michael Leventhal – Chief Nerdy Development Officer

November 21, 2014

SILICON VALLEY, CA, USA – iNERDE’s African base of operations is in Mali, in West Africa, the region of the world which is the center of the ebola epidemic. The epidemic has brushed Mali; five people have died but all cases were quickly identified and extremely rigorous measures are in place to halt further spread of the virus.
We’re concerned at iNERDE, with the added weight that family, friends, and our Nerdy kids in West Africa will be coping with many hardships as Africans and the world fights this disease.

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The News is Good

Mohamed Kante – Visionary & Chief Nerd

September 11, 2014

BOSTON, USA – The first iNERDE STEM Summer Camp has passed into the history books. We did it! And we did it very, very well. Of course, it was difficult, to be perfectly honest, every single day presented some kind of challenge. We weren’t sufficiently prepared, we had and still have so much to learn, but no matter what difficulties we faced our “customers”, our Nerdy kids, their parents, and the community loved what we did.

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Inspiration

Joey Orlando – Director of Nerdy Marketing

July 16, 2014

BAMAKO, MALI – Mali has been an absolutely incredible experience so far and unfortunately my time is winding down as I will be leaving Bamako in only 3 days :(. My time teaching the students at iNERDE’s Colonie de Vacances STEM has been one that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life.

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Full of Energy

Joey Orlando – Director of Nerdy Marketing

July 9, 2014

BAMAKO, MALI – We have been chock-full of energy here in Bamako at the Colonie de Vacances STEM. Today marks my fourth full day in Mali and second full day with the students. So far this week at the camp we have focused on energy. We introduced the students to alternative energy methods such as hydropower, wind power, and solar power.

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Bamako, Je t'aime

Joey Orlando – Director of Nerdy Marketing

July 9, 2014

BAMAKO, MALI – Well it’s a shame that I only had 20 minutes to experience Canada, it seemed like a beautiful country (at least from my view in the airplane). An impending storm almost cancelled the first leg of my trip, luckily I made it just in time to Montreal with only fifteen minutes to sprint and catch my connecting flight to Paris. I may have broken my own personal record for the mile run, sprinting down the Montreal International terminals dodging luggage and travelers.

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Joey Takes Off

Joey Orlando – Director of Nerdy Marketing

July 3, 2014

BOSTON, USA – In less than 24 hours I’ll be headed to Boston Logan International Airport to board Air Canada Flight 7689 (speaking of that, I need to check in for my flight!). No, I’m not headed to Canada, Montreal is simply the first stop, among many, on my journey to Bamako, Mali. Mali will be my home away from home for the next few weeks as I volunteer at iNERDE’s Colonie de Vacances STEM, or STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) summer camp.

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Crazy Kids

Michael Leventhal – Chief Nerdy Development Officer

June 22, 2014

BOISE, USA – I have had a 30-year career in STEM and, by quite a bit, am the old man at iNERDE. Old, only, in experience, as competitive sports and yoga have kept me in shape and mentally supple. Thirty years is a lot of experience and after finally tiring of chasing that pot of gold in tech I decided it was time to start using my knowledge to give back.

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STEM and Soccer, An African Perspective

Rakibou Ouro-Djobo – Chief of Nerdy Operations

June 16, 2014

BOSTON, USA – OK, aside from the physics of a ball flying toward the goal and statistics about players, what does association football, aka, in the United States, soccer, and STEM in Africa have to do with each other?

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iNERDE Takes Off

Mohamed Kante – Visionary & Chief Nerd

June 4, 2014

BOSTON, USA – This is a proud day for me, the iNERDE staff, and our donors and supporters. The vision that we share of empowering African youth to create their own future through knowledge took a giant step forward with the launch of our first STEM summer camp in Bamako, Mali, scheduled to begin operation on June 9.

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