Originally from Canada, Coralie has been living in Germany for the past 7 years. Passionate about women’s issues, social equality, and human rights, she has been volunteering and interning internationally on related projects while finishing her sociology degree. Now having launched her online business and “Years of Change”, she has been working day and night to build herself an exciting future.
Isabella Grandic, a young Canadian, is the recipient of the 2019 7 Under Seventeen award for her work at The Knowledge Society, a program that empowers youth through education in tech: Blockchain, AI, and more.
MM: Isabella, it’s always great to hear from young leaders. We’re excited to learn about you and share your vision to inspire readers. How do you feel after winning the 2019 7 Under Seventeen award in Montreal?
IG: It was incredible. It was a very special conference and as I was walking down the halls, I was seeing all these incredible people each more intelligent than the other. It was amazing to be there because I went from a place of feeling worthless or feeling stuck, to being at that conference and receiving a prize, something I never would have thought would happen just seven months ago! Just this past week, I have been on the boards of a number of projects and I am so excited to keep going.
MM: Can you explain what the Knowledge Society is? What projects are you working on?
IG: The Knowledge Society is a 3-year program for 13- to 17-year-olds. We pretty much learn all about technology; in the first year, we learn about different fields. In the second, we start actively taking part in projects, and the final year, we go all out. We like to explain it as the place where young Elon Musks are created!
I am working on a project in agriculture, especially finding ways to create animal-based food without having to actually raise animals. Also, we are working on a super-cool project focused on women’s reproductive systems trying to find ways to solve issues in remote areas where women have little access to technology or physicians.
MM: What kind of challenges have you faced so far?
IG: I think developing new skills was definitely one of the biggest challenges. For example, getting over the little barriers, just paying attention to detail when coding, or learning about university-level stuff; these are all things that are super challenging to me but I have to get past them, and I love doing that!
MM: Sometimes, the STEM areas tend to male-dominated. Has being a woman in this field affected you?
IG: I would say yes and no. On the one hand, the guys tend to be rougher, and sometimes even downright rude. But, I think that’s just by accident. I think they base these reactions off their own bias but they are raised to think this way.
MM: You have experienced unconscious bias.
IG: Exactly. I think we are otherwise quite respectful of one another and I don’t feel like my generation is like this as much; we all earn each others’ respect based on what we achieve, not based on our gender.
MM: Finally, what advice would you give to an aspiring The Knowledge Society member to motivate them to also do great things?
IG: The first thing I would say is that you should surround yourself with like-minded people. This is what we do at The Knowledge Society. We all get along quite well and it’s because we have similar goals and ideas in mind. Second, I would say to take the chance. I found out about The Knowledge Society while I was on the subway and I was not going to apply at first! I have access to incredible information just because I took that chance.
Image Creator: FilmateriaDital