While most teenagers aren’t business owners, “today’s teenage inventors are part of a long tradition,” according to BBC Future. “In fact, many of the world’s most prolific brains started young—coming up with television, telephones and trampolines, as well as braille, calculators, popsicles, and ear muffs before they reached their 20th birthdays.” How can a college prep online school like Laurel Springs support young entrepreneurs?
Take Manasi Simhan, for example. Manasi is a senior at Laurel Springs School and has big plans for the future. “I am extremely interested in pursuing a career in science and innovation research,” she recently said. “I want to be able to further research the impact of our environment on human health and take a leadership role in promoting toxicology and microbiology through my career, specifically in the genre of environmental health.”
Paving a Path Towards the Future
Manasi didn’t have to wait for college to start working toward her goals. She’s part of the Business & Entrepreneurship curriculum pathway at Laurel Springs, which offers an industry-focused route for students who want to pursue their passions—before college. “The courses I am taking as part of this pathway include AP Calculus BC and AP Psychology. I hope that the lessons I learn through these classes can better help me understand the social and cultural patterns around me and further aid me in achieving my goals in a field related to entrepreneurship and research.”
Entrepreneurs have some traits in common, including making bold choices to turn their business ideas into reality. Manasi is branching out on her own in a few impressive ways, using her Laurel Springs coursework as a springboard.
“I currently have an invention in the process of being patented,” Manasi said. The new product she designed, an ergonomic muscle-release chair, incorporates her love of STEM topics like science and math to design. “It started out as an idea for a science experiment and led to the acceptance of the project by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which allowed me to start the process of patenting the invention. The research for the project was conducted through the biomedical engineering department at UW-Madison, and the subsequent work on the prototype was done through the engineering department and innovation center at UW-Milwaukee.”
Manasi, like many successful entrepreneurs, likes to find solutions for problems right in her own backyard. “I was the leader and organizer of the Amani Community Center Food Pantry, a non-profit project that works with homeless shelters within my city. The project focused on growing and donating a plethora of fresh vegetables to homeless shelters.” During the past three years, Manasi has “grown and donated upwards of 750 pounds of produce.” In addition, she said that “the project worked on teaching kids in grades 2 – 4 about environmental sustainability through growing their own gardens. The project helped me learn about leadership, as I was in charge of organizing and planning pickups of the produce each week, along with organizing approximately 40 volunteers that helped weed and water the gardens throughout the year.”
Leadership and Communication
Manasi has learned that people who are successful in business need to be effective communicators. She took a public speaking course as part of the Business & Entrepreneurship. “I would highly recommend the public speaking course to other students interested in this field, as it definitely helps build valuable skills needed for this pathway.”
Manasi finds opportunities to practice her leadership and communication skills as the president of Laurel Springs School’s environmental club. Our clubs help virtual school students connect with their peers, while collaborating on projects about their shared interests. Manasi said that her role in the environmental club “helped me work on public speaking, organizing, and leading meetings. I found that this experience assisted in helping me gain the skills I will need in university, and throughout the rest of my life.”
Laurel Springs School’s flexible schedule enables students in our college prep online program to contribute to their local community. “Laurel Springs School has given me the flexibility to pursue my specific interests in innovation and through leadership opportunities, as well as to take the courses I find most interesting,” Manasi said.
Future Plans for Manasi
When she looks ahead to the future, Manasi plans to go to college, favoring Northwestern University or McGill University, because “they both have amazing environmental research programs.”
“I feel prepared for the next step in my education,” Manasi said, reflecting on her time as a student in an online high school. “I am excited about [going to] university, and I hope that all the skills I have learned in high school can help me as I work towards my goals in the future.” We wish Manasi much success as she continues on the path she started as a Laurel Springs student.
Are you curious about Laurel Springs School’s career-oriented curriculum? Reach out to your Laurel Springs representative or our admissions team to find out how our unique, online high school provides a personalized approach for each student.