SDForum: Silicon Valley Teens talk green, tech

SDForum: Silicon Valley Teens talk green, tech

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

SDForum attendees got a glimpse of the future last Friday. Microsoft hosted the 4th Annual SDForum Teens Conference – an assembly of some of the most dynamic and creative young minds in Silicon Valley.

I had the pleasure of moderating a panel of high energy high school students who are using technology to pursue their dreams of, well, simply: changing the world. Why not indeed?

Katherine Nasol, a junior at Notre Dame High School, who aims to eradicate child trafficking in the Philippines through her Pagkabata Project, put it best:

“In a time where youth have a bad reputation of going on Facebook all day and spending most of our time playing video games, this conference challenges that notion. Youth have the power to do anything, whether it be building a global network or changing the world views to care for the environment.”

Her colleagues were equally impressive, from Emily Gran, who wants the world to take action in response to climate change (and has created a high school syllabus to trigger that change); to Daniel Brusilovsky who founded Teens in Tech Networks to help launch young entrepreneurs in business (and wants to replace Steve Jobs at Apple when he grows up – there will be no stopping this guy !); to Veronica Hume and Diana Chen who have created the GirlsForTech site to connect techie girls around the world; to Emily Munoz and Natalie Hon, Freestyle Academy students, who made a documentary about the importance of arts education in schools.

Here’s a good write up of the morning’s green agenda by Michal Lenchner of The Examiner and another by Mike Cassidy of the Mercury News; and there are many more photos at DJ Cline’s For Future Reference

Panelists include, from the left: Diana Chen (Mountain View) , Veronica Hume (St. Francis), Katherine Nasol (Notre Dame), Emily Gran (Menlo Atherton) and Daniel Brusilovski (Aragon) and not photographed: Emily Munoz (Mountain View) and Nathalie Hon (Los Altos). Moderator: Alison van Diggelen

Photo Credit: DJ Cline

From our archives: Audio from last year’s conference with Catherine Cook, founder of MyYearbook, a teen rival to the all mighty Facebook. In this interview, Catherine discusses how her site promotes a green planet and greener teens.

Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview


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For more Fresh Dialogues interviews with teens, click here and check out our full archive of interviews with Paul Krugman, Tom Friedman, Martin Sheen et al.


Excellent to note Microsoft’s green credentials – the campus is powered with a 480kW solar installation.