General Intelligence(s) is working towards greater educational equality! Read more below.
Tell us all about you and your organization!
Hi everyone! My name is Magda Wojtara and I’m a rising junior in the LSA Honor’s College at the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor. I’m majoring in Neuroscience with minors in Astronomy and Science, Tech & Society. My future career aspirations are to pursue a MD degree perhaps with a later career in neurology, dermatology or plastics.
My organization is a student-led and student-run nonprofit which we hope will serve as a peer-to-peer platform for the mitigation of educational inequality. We emphasize our focus in the US, however, we have team members from several countries across the world including Canada, UAE and more. We place a huge emphasis on having student’s leading the initiative to help fellow students that either come from similar FLI backgrounds or just in general.
General Intelligence(s) is a nonprofit organization committed to providing high school and undergraduate students from disadvantaged communities and school districts with resources for success. General Intelligence(s) is one of the first peer-to-peer initiatives to help students gain crucial life skills and the social capital necessary for success which is taught as a “hidden curriculum” at well-funded schools. Students from First-generation and Low-Income communities, or who identify as members of these communities, often struggle with the transition to college and additional challenges upon matriculation. Our organization guides students with the transition and adjustment to post-secondary institutions- a crucial aspect left out of many college related organizations. At General Intelligence(s), we don’t believe that the “job is done” once someone is accepted to a post-secondary institution. Many components of the college experience and application process are not as intuitive or meritocratic as people may believe them to be and this disproportionately impacts students who have not had access to the same resources and information early in their academic careers. Furthermore, many student curriculums across the nation do not cover basic, yet crucial, skills such as introductory coding, cultural awareness (& appreciation), financial literacy and finding mentors in a field of intended study. This is the so-called “hidden curriculum” pervasive in schools today. Our goals are to raise awareness on the severity of the issue on campuses across the United States, and to help provide schools and students with resources to help bridge the gap. We provide daily content, partnerships with other organizations on specialized webinars, and mentorship and tutoring programs with high school seniors, undergraduates and career professionals. We believe that this knowledge should be free and not hiding behind a paywall or a school subscription.
Why do you think it’s important for your generation to let their voices be heard?
From the lens of educational inequality, which we focus on, it is crucial that we approach the issue from a student perspective. We are the best arbiters of what is effective and what needs work on a systemic level. From our experiences, and the experience of our audience we are able to gain a high-level of personal understanding on what the current situation is like. This helps us come up with thoughtful solutions that best cater to the needs of our peers. People always say that the best ways to learn are from personal experiences, yet I’ve noticed this philosophy doesn’t seem to be extrapolated to the creation of innovative solutions.
A lot of people get pushback on otherwise great ideas just because of their age. I personally have the belief, as an older member of Gen Z, that if someone shows that they have maturity and demonstrate a track record, then they should at least be considered even if they are younger than usual. Leaving and excluding people from conversations on prevalent societal issues is, in my opinion, really erroneous.
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
Absolutely optimistic. Think about it- - there’s nowhere to go but up after all we have been through so far. Our generation has been through quite a lot already. Not to mention we are constantly criticized for our unique and innovative approaches to tackling issues perceived by previous generations as “lost causes.” We are a generation of believers and hopefuls that work hard to achieve a more ideal world. We’ve had to deal with 9/11, economic depressions, stock market crashes, a housing crisis, expensive healthcare and debt crises, continuing issues with systemic racism, a pandemic and even more. Considering all that we have had to tackle and come to terms with so far, I think we have already demonstrated our resilience from such a young age.
I’m constantly in awe of the amazing things I see my peers doing to tackle issues that have been burdening society for decades. I think, if nothing else, we are changemakers. What the “change” looks like can vary from person to person, but the overarching idea is whether you are an activist, scientist, journalist or other profession, Gen Z will be making positive changes.
What are the most important issues facing our world right now? And in the future?
So many! I think at least personally I’m most focused on:
1. Healthcare: high costs, racial disparities, pharmaceutical costs, insurance issues, lack of access to universal and equitable healthcare
2.Educational Inequality: lack of funding for many public schools, technology barriers, unfair college admissions processes, unimaginably poor conditions in school districts like Detroit Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools and more.
3.Racism and Xenophobia: It’s a pervasive issue present still, and it has repercussions in a number of fields. I think as a generation we are far more tolerant than previous generations, but this is still a big issue of “othering” people in society.
4.Finanical Illiteracy: Many people don’t know how to avoid debt or to manage their money in a correct way.
5.Sexism: In STEM fields this is still a massive issue that I’ve come across in many courses. Womxn are still paid far less for the same work. Womxn leaders are often criticized for being too assertive or too bossy just for delegating tasks. We need to encourage more intersectionality in the feminist movement as well that focuses more on lifting up everyone’s voices.
What does your organization offer that helps the world be a better place?
We have articles written by our team in many key subjects we have determined that students struggle most with or may not have resources for. For us, we determined that was experience/campus climate, pre-professional help, financial literacy, and language/tech skills. Some of these skills are academically focused for success in certain courses or career paths, whereas others are broadly applicable skills and information that we believe should be more generally known. In transitioning to university, a lot of students experience academic and culture shocks because school’s don’t adequately prepare students for skills and ideas that aren’t intuitive.
We do not accept donations, nor do we make anyone pay for anything ever. We also do not monetize our site to respect privacy concerns of anyone visiting our website. We are selective about our partnerships with companies, non-profits and NGOs because we only partner with organizations that share our mission of helping students free of charge. We partner with organizations in countries like Turkey, the Philippines, Poland, Haiti and more to help various organizations with educational resources.
Will you be voting in the next election?
Yes! Absolutely. I’m really excited because this is going to be the first presidential election I can vote on.
Please tell us all about your current campaigns, projects and endeavors.
*Vitality Volunteers- Virtual Volunteering Webinar- May 30th – 150 attendees
*EmPolitics- Black Lives Matter Ally Workshop- June 19th – 30 attendees
*Global Guru- Effective Study Methods- June 27th- 45 attendees
*Codefy- Coding 101: How to Get Started- June 28th- 80 attendees
*Nice for What MVMT- How to Advocate For Yourself: Panel Discussion- June 28th – 30 attendees
*Women in STEM- Research Opportunities Webinar w/ Panelists – July 5th – 300 registered
*KNK- Financial Literacy Toolkits
*Launch Negotiation- How to Negotiate in a College Setting Workshop- July 18th
*College Pathways and KNOW- Scholarships & Financial Aid Workshop- July 19th
*InternNet- Job Seeking Skills Webinar- July 25th/ 26th
*NPO Core & Launch Tech LLC
And more pending
Tell everyone where to find you online and on social platforms.
Linkedin: General Intelligences