“Sometimes you think: How is this little thing going to cause big change? I learned to be confident in the project you are working on because even the smallest step can have the greatest results!”—Zhulia O., Digital Experimenter (Iraq)
In New York state, Asher K. is adding books to Little Free Library kiosks around his town to foster understanding between people with different identities, backgrounds, and cultures.
In Algiers, Asma C. and her peers are creating an app that connects women and families experiencing homelessness with community organizations.
In Irvine, California, Kristie M. has created a six-month virtual fellowship to empower a new generation of Latinx female leaders in politics, foreign policy, and other fields.
In these and many other ways, alumni of The Experiment Digital are working to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world.
Nicole Munoz says her experience with The Experiment Digital helped immerse her in the diverse cultures of the Middle East without leaving home during the global pandemic. She says her “homestay” experience in Egypt was lifechanging.
“Before this, it was easy to insert myself in a bubble, thinking that my small town was the extent of this wide world,” Nicole says in this online talk.
That changed last summer when one of her homestay siblings took Nicole on a video tour of their Egyptian neighborhood. Nicole met neighbors and watched how strangers greeted each other in the street. In the market her eyes were drawn to rows of brightly colored spices. “There were cultures and people I had never encountered; things I had never experienced before,” she says.
Through The Experiment Digital, peers from Iraq, Yemen, and Algeria shared stories of home that were nothing like what Nicole knew about these countries from the news or classes, information drawn from statistics, tragedy, and hardship. Now she knows names and faces, what people eat for breakfast, what they love about their homes.
Nicole is spreading her knowledge through an Instagram account and podcast series called Positive I that is “dedicated to examining and discussing the different facets that make up our identities in order to normalize differences and create a more understanding world.”
Another Digital Experimenter, Nayantara Arora, who is first-generation Indian American, is fostering cross-cultural connections and empathetic exchange through a podcast called Speak Up/Speak Out that tells the stories of immigrant and refugee students in Portland, Oregon. After her summer with The Experiment Digital, Nayantara, who describes herself as passionate about social justice, equity, and inclusion, received a small grant from World Learning and the Stevens Initiative to support the podcast.
Those are just some of the projects by Digital Experiment alumni supported this year by grants from the Stevens Initiative, which partners with World Learning on The Experiment Digital. Other projects include: