posted by Michael Manukian, Fordham College at Rose Hill.
Last April, I had the privilege of attaining an internship at a start-up company called The AAT Project, which stands for America’s Amazing Teens. In general terms, this company is an online competition that invites teens from the ages of 12 and a half to 19, who have a great interest in the STEM field and who have developed a project, to sign up on the website and compete against other teens throughout the course of a year.
However, The AAT Project is more than just another science contest, something that I soon found out during my first day. The AAT Project is the first and only online competition of its kind due to the fact that it is also a management company. This means that for all of the teens that make it past the vetting division, regardless if they even become finalists, they will still be paired with a manager that will guide them and choose the proper mentors for them. These mentors are the people who have the capacity to take the teens’ ideas to a marketable, and potentially profitable, level.
This company was founded by Nan Fisher, television producer and talent manager. She has produced television for many broadcast networks and cable channels, and is also responsible for discovering great talents such as Melissa McCarthy and Tobey Maguire. It is through her decades of experience in the management and entertainment fields, as well as her vast network of connections, that gives this company the edge and the potential to grow at an exponential rate.
As of now, there are about 40 ambassadors representing the company, young adults and teens who are geniuses in their own right and who have agreed to represent the company in their personal endeavors. Some of our ambassadors include Ann Makonsinski, who developed a flashlight that runs off human heat, Katherine Bomkamp, who developed a prosthetic joint that relieves phantom limb pain in amputees, and Jack Andraka, who developed an early detection method for pancreatic cancer.
We have an advisory board that is made up of educators from the top universities and colleges in America. Their role is to judge the teen’s projects, and in some cases, will serve as mentors for the finalists. In addition, we are also paired with a number of graduate students who are experts in their respective fields. They will be responsible for vetting the teens’ projects.
At the end of the twelve months of competition, the winner of The AAT Project will be crowned at a nationally televised rock concert produced by Ferro Productions. In addition, Academy Award Winning Documentary Filmmaker, Ross Kauffman, will produce a documentary of our twelve finalists that will celebrate the brilliance of these future leaders of tomorrow and will provide inspiration for our youth of today.
Today, I am happy to say that I am still working at The AAT Project. I serve as a writer and editor at the company, which means that I create a great deal of the content that goes on the website. I am either interviewing ambassadors, helping edit and revise documents that are to be sent out to investors, or composing emails to various board members. I am also the Editor-In-Chief of the monthly newsletters that are sent out to our teens on the waiting list, our advisory board, our graduate students, our investors, and our High School Committee. In addition, I keep in contact with our 40 ambassadors once a month in order to update our new blog on Tumblr, something that will help our social media presence grow.
As of today, we are still in beta to ensure that our teens’ work will be protected and our launch date is still to be determined. However, things are moving at a steady pace and we are all working tirelessly towards our goal: Discovering teens that will change the world!