Before Solight Design, our founder, Alice Chun was a Professor of design and material Technology with a passion for empowering youth and especially young women to spread the values of empathy, integrity, and sustainability around the world. The first invention the SolarPuff was designed with the idea that it would help children stay in school in regions of poverty and reduce the harmful effects of kerosene lamps and other greenhouse gases. She later went on to invent the SEEUS95 mask to combat the pandemic with a realization that all N95 masks are made from polypropylene which is a toxic plastic in our landfills and oceans.
As a teenager growing up, Alice had always loved children and being around them. If there was a party with children she preferred chatting with them and teaching them origami, rather than speaking with grownups. As a young student she was pathologically shy and public speaking was as frightening to her as standing on the edge of a cliff. It took decades of practice and perseverance that helped her to find the confidence and strength to speak. This confidence eventually allowed Alice to stand on a stage to give a TEDx Talk. We believe children and educators around the world need to highlight the importance of sustainability and renewable energy. We want to empower entrepreneurs and youth to tap into their fierce grit, discipline, and imagination as a means to solving world problems to help mitigate climate change.
On February 24th, Alice zoomed with 5th grade students at Lake Highland Middle School in Orlando, Florida to talk about the importance of solar energy, invention, and the mission of Solight Design.
This semester, Ms. Cady Brewer’s science class has been focusing on the intersection of science, humanity, communication and progress. They learned about how science and innovation is often a force for good but has impacted those around the world differently. Ms. Brewer introduced the concept of Energy Poverty, highlighting the fact that 840 million people still live without access to electricity around the world. Over 55% of people in sub-Saharan Africa live without any electricity today. In their research, students realized that energy poverty affects regions differently but is widespread and a pressing issue. Ms. Brewer highlighted the story of Solight Design because we target these places experiencing energy poverty and distribute our lights so that people can safely and sustainability light their world at night.
Ms. Bewer reached out to Solight Design and let us know that she was sharing our mission to highlight the use of technology as a means to combat energy poverty. Alice knew she wanted to speak to the Lake Highland middle school students. In her talk, Alice aimed to do two things: educate the students on the power of solar and clean energy and inspire them to harness their passions to make a difference in the world.
Below is a summary of some of the key points of Alice’s presentation:
Innovation and Opportunity are centered around time. In Ancient Greece, Chronos and Kairos were said to be the two characters of time. Chronos was an old man; constant and predictable. Kairos, on the other hand, was young and unpredictable, flying away with the wings on his feet at any moment. While these two moved back and forth, it is when the two intersected, these were the moments of opportunity and invention. At Solight Design, our moments of opportunity have been at the intersection of predictability and extreme events. This is when the need for our products has become clear and allowed us to grow and connect with others around the world.
Outside of opportunity, Solight was born out of the idea that everything is interconnected. Every day, every single human around the world breathes in air to survive. This air and this need for oxygen is one of the most fundamental connections we have with people all around the world. Pollution caused by energy consumption has deeply threatened our basic access to clean air and has left populations on every single continent susceptible to the dangers of climate change. Human activity ranging from lighting kerosene lanterns to the energy it costs to charge our cell phones has had a direct impact on our access to clean air.
And yet, the sun is the most powerful source of energy we have. The Sun generates 970 trillion kWh of energy to the earth each day. It has enough power to give everyone on the planet a light that will shine bright for your entire lifetime. We believe that harnessing the power of the sun is one of the best ways we can reduce global pollution and climate change. Everything is interconnected, we all have the power to create change by adapting our energy consumption.
The mother of invention is necessity and the daughter of invention is curiosity. It’s odd because those are two female characters and yet, if you look at the research, only 8% of primary inventors are women. We believe this number is low. Despite this data, all female students, and all students generally should strive to learn something new each day, researching as much as possible about what’s happening in the world and consider that if you see a problem, you have the opportunity to do something about it. Women and girls have the power to thrive, harness their velocity, unleash their imagination, unleash their power and willingness to help others and make lives better all around the world.
At Solight Design, we believe one of the most important values to harness is empathy. At the root of invention is understanding people’s needs and looking for solutions, improving them, and creating a better world through harnessing imagination, discipline, perseverance, grit and passion.
As inventors, we always start with a set of values: values that deal with empathy, communication, integrity. These values are critical because they are the principles of why we end up starting any kind of endeavor. It is extremely difficult to develop a company and become an entrepreneur without values. If you don’t have those values, most people give up. As young leaders, one must find what it is that you love doing, asking yourself, what gives you passion, what gives you energy? We all have the power to heal the planet through individual and collective action.
This talk is just one of many that Alice has done around the world to inspire young men and women to harness the power of green energy and exercise their imagination. If you are an educator interested in setting up a presentation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
View the full conversation here: