A Hobby for Storytelling: Bethanie Gourley’s Story

A Hobby for Storytelling: Bethanie Gourley’s Story

This post was republished from Medium, where Noble Impact 201 scholar Bethanie Gourley blogs about her life, thoughts, and inspirations. Follow Bethanie on Twitter and check out her digital portfolio.

Five years of my life were spent as an only child. Imagination played a major role in sustaining my happiness as a child. I spent every moment either turning mud into soup or creating a storyline with my Polly Pockets. The majority of my first memories consisted of a VHS video camera pointed towards my chunky toddler face. However, this is not where I found my passion for film.

Around the age of 10, my little sister Erica received a barbie doll for her birthday. This wasn’t an everyday barbie doll; it had a built-in video camera. My experience with film began by chasing my sister around our house with a camera/child’s toy. This became more of a gift for me, instead of my sister. This became more of a gift for me, instead of my sister. My expertise at the time was compiling scenes of dialogue between different stuffed animals. Thus, I recorded with a video camera, inside of a barbie.

“My Story,” a short film about my life and passion for film.

However, it wasn’t until I received my first iPhone 4 in the 7th grade when I became intrigued by video. My friends and I would film music videos and funny sketches on my iPhone that I edited on any free editing app I could find. We would post these pointless short videos to Youtube and get excited when they reached a total of 5 views.

“You have never made it, with each success must come a never and more invictus goal.” — Casey Neistat

Recently, my spirit for video has been redefined. Producing short movies, allows me to express my feelings, stories, and experiences. I view it as a time capsule I am able to rewatch every day.

I have discovered a new form of filming that I am confident in, storytelling. Logistics and equipment do not fuel my passion for film. I am inspired by the format available to share stories and experiences. I love capturing the environment that surrounds me and my experiences through film. I don’t think most people realize how much video and film surrounds and affects our decisions every day.
I want to be a part of that influence.

Meet Our Noble 201 Scholars!

Meet Our Noble 201 Scholars!

This post is part of our Showcase Series, in which we introduce each cohort within our Noble Impact courses. In this post, you’ll learn about each scholar in a given cohort and his or her interests, passions, and ambitions, all while getting an overview of the group’s classroom experience.

Noble Impact 201 with Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key
Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key visits Noble 201.
It’s about time you meet our latest cohort of Noble 201 scholars! For the first time, we’ve pulled together a comprehensive list of our scholars and their interests, passions, and ambitions and are excited to share them with you! (Hat tip to the Clinton School of Public Service, which publishes an annual list of its students, for the inspiration!)

Noble 201 is the progression in Noble Impact curriculum that is offered to juniors at eStem High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is an application-only offering, and 28 students were selected this school year. Throughout the first semester, students attended class at The Venture Center and were exposed to a multitude of experiences, including guest speakers — such as philanthropist Chelsea Clinton, local entrepreneur Shiem Swift, and producer Ted Dintersmith — and visits to different businesses in the downtown area, including software development firm Apptegy.

The 2015-2016 year-long course of study began with students completing a personal inventory of their digital presence and challenged them to create new individual assets, including a professional LinkedIn profile. This process required them to think deeply about how they are perceived by the outside world based on their zero moment of truth (ZMOT), a term coined by Google. To close out the first semester this month, students shared their individual narratives through a startup-style pitch and pitch deck that further communicates who they are and what they value.

It’s been about a year and a half since we first welcomed these students as 10th graders through our initial high school offering, which is Noble 101. Since that time, we’ve had the opportunity to watch them grow through the different challenges we present to them. We believe these challenges are a healthy educational progression that results in building 21st century skillsets and mindsets. We’re excited to bear witness to their continual growth and equally excited to introduce you to them through this post. And if you don’t get enough here, follow their work through the #Noble201 hashtag on Twitter, where students are continually sharing what’s going on in the classroom and beyond through their projects and experiences!

Without further ado, meet our Noble 201 scholars!

Sophie AllwineSophie Allwine attends eStem High School in the 11th grade. She is currently participating in a Public Service/Entrepreneurship course called Noble Impact. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, bike riding, traveling, and spending time with her dog, Nala. Her aspirations include fulfilling a legacy at Ohio State University.

Interests: Environment/Outdoors, Aquarium, Business, Travel
Aspirations: Attending Ohio State University
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram


Austin AshleyAustin Ashley is currently a Junior at eStem High School. This summer, Austin interned at JoyNet Radio, which is a internet radio station. There, he learned communications and soundboard engineering. He has also appeared on various episodes of Teen Talk, a segment of Time to Consider with Melvin Moss.

Interests: Entertainment, Mass Communications, Music
Aspirations: To make a living off of doing what I love most, entertaining others
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Portfolio


Madi Grace CarterMadi Grace Carter began and continues her life in Little Rock, Arkansas. For a unique educational experience, she became a Noble 201 scholar. She has immense appreciation of various cultures. Additionally, her 13-year passion for soccer has taught her teamwork, responsibility, and humility. She hopes make the opportunity to travel and experience the world in her near future.

Interests: Traveling, Writing, Soccer, Photography, Education
Aspirations: Major in Sociocultural Anthropology with a minor in Religious Studies
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram


Katie ClevengerKatie Clevenger began dancing at the age of two, and developed a passion for ballet. Now she is a company member at Arkansas Academy of Dance,and a member of the Ballet Arkansas Preparatory Program. She is a Noble 201 scholar, and a junior at eStem High. Katie wants to major in Performing Arts and Nutrition, with a minor in Business. She wants to attend Indiana University, but is considering many other colleges.

Interests: Dance, Exploring, Cosmetology
Aspirations: Join a professional ballet company
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram


Jennifer DavisJennifer Davis will have reached success when she is able to travel the world, help developing countries, and learn different recipes as a muse for her love of cooking. Currently, she attends eStem High School where she is a part of the Noble 201 crew. She is also a member of Arkansas Commitment, LR Mayor’s Youth Council, and Big Role Models. Jennifer is known mostly for her love for food and sweet tea.

Interests: Cooking, Diversity, Event Planning, Volunteering
Aspirations: Study Abroad, Public Relations, Business
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Portfolio


Emily DoyneEmily Doyne was apart of the first official Noble class at eStem Public High School, and is currently a Noble 201 student. She was apart of an organization, Innovate 2 educate, in 2014 held at the clinton school. Now in 11th grade, she enjoys helping children, which inspired her to become a children’s lawyer. At this time Emily’s involved in Beta Club, National Honors Society, and Diversity Club.

Interests: Movies, Design, Camping, Skiing
Aspiration: To attend college in Houston, Texas
Connect: LinkedIn / Email


Madison DukeMadison Duke is currently a junior at eStem High Public Charter school where she is also a Noble 201 scholar. She is one of three 11th grade representatives in student council. Being a representative means that Madison plans to communicate all information effectively, be a voice and also create a fun and unforgettable experience for her peers. Her passion is music and the performing arts. She plans to attend the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Interests: Theater, vocal music, poetry, eating and many more.
Aspirations: Complete college, travel the world and achieve all my goals
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Portfolio / Instagram


Bethanie GourleyBethanie Gourley attends eStem High School in the 11th grade and is a Noble Impact 201 student. She has a strong passion for connecting storytelling through her hobby in film. Film has intrigued Bethanie throughout her life and has been a platform where she can express her creativity. Bethanie is also interested in playing competitive soccer for her high school and Arkansas United.

Interests: Film, Soccer, Blogging, Biking
Aspirations: Attend Hendrix College
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Portfolio / YouTube


Cole GwatneyCole Gwatney is an ambitious, intelligent Junior at eSTEM Public Charter High School. With his main values being creativity and open-mindedness, Cole stresses being yourself and is very passionate about putting your ideas out there and sharing your ideas with others in order to connect with people and create relationships based off of common passions or ideas.

Interests: Engineering, sports, photography, politics, hunting, education, cars, hunting, fishing
Aspirations: Major in mechanical or chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, while minoring in business
Connect: Twitter | LinkedIn


Grace HeflinGrace Heflin is a current Noble 201 scholar and a junior at eStem High School. She is a part of the founding team of Steering Arkansas formed during the first i2e event. In her spare time, Grace enjoys dancing and spending time with her friends and family.

Interests: Design, Art, Dance, Technology
Aspirations: To graduate college and own a graphic or interior design firm.
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Portfolio / Instagram


Jonathan JonesJonathan Jones is a Noble 201 Scholar at eStem High School in 11th grade. He hopes to become a cook and possibly a writer. He is a co-creator of a podcast directed at teenagers, The Shoe Crew, which he makes with his friends Julian Kresse, Bethanie Gourley, Sophie Bryant, and Anna McCrieght on SoundCloud.

Interests: Cooking, writing, ministry
Aspirations: Learn how to fly a plane
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram


Amanpreet KaurAmanpreet Kaur is a Junior student at eStem High School. She is currently participating in an entrepreneurship class, Noble 201. Amanpreet is really passionate about traveling and capturing wonderful shots during her travels. She is also interested in medicine and enjoys helping people. She plans to attend University of Arkansas to major in biology with a minor in business.

Interests: Photography, Travel, Medicine
Aspirations: Graduate college and attend Medical School.
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Email / Portfolio


Haley KirkHaley Kirk is an adventurous young women who would love to be Physical Therapist. She comes from a small town where not many people in her family have been successful but she would like to break that cycle.She would like to attend ASU and really wants to make a difference.

Interests: Running, tennis, the beach, taking care of kids, and helping
Aspirations: To make an impact on someone’s life
Connect: LinkedIn / Instagram / Google


Michael KozakMichael Kozak is a junior at eStem High School and was a part of the first official Noble 201 class. His group “Student Teachers of Tomorrow” was a part of the 2014 Innovate 2 Educate and has done a brand breakdown project of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. His passions include Video Editing/Recording and Business. He is hoping to pursue a degree in Business Management and Video Design at the University of Arkansas.

Interests: Video Editing, Business Management
Aspirations: Earn a degree in Business Management and gain further Video Editing experience
Connect: Instagram / Twitter / LinkedIn


Greta KresseGreta Kresse is a 16 year old Junior at eStem High School. She is a founder of Steering Arkansas which is a program started through Noble Impact, that is trying to get drivers education into schools. She is also very passionate about fitness, and does kickboxing and backpacks in her free time. In addition to this she paints and is very involved in the art community.

Interests: Backpacking, Kickboxing, Painting, Cosmetology, Business
Aspirations: To attend the Chicago institute of Art and travel the world
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram / Portfolio


Julian KresseJulian Kresse is a 16-year-old blacksmith and woodworker. He likes to hike and be in nature. When Julian graduates, he aspires to be a knifemaker and craftsman. Julian hopes to produce things to the highest quality he can.

Interests: Karate, Hiking, Drawing, and Knifemaking
Aspiration: To own my own shop and to hike the Appalachian Trail
Connect: LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram


Audra MaxwellAudra Maxwell is currently a junior at eStem High School and participating in the Noble 201 class. Her passion is volleyball, which she has played for 5 years. Since her school doesn’t have a volleyball team, she plays under the organization called Junior Olympics. Under that organization, she plays for a league called Little Rock Juniors. She is hoping to get a volleyball scholarship out of state. She wants to either major in Nursing or Business.

Interests: Volleyball and Traveling
Aspirations: Attend college out of state on a volleyball scholarship
Connect: Linkedln / Twitter / Portfolio / Instagram / Email


Jones McConnellJones McConnell aspires to become a youth pastor because, he wants to show the world how God’s grace exists in him. He is a junior at eStem High, as a noble 201 student, and interested in pursuing a degree in youth ministry. He participates in programs at Fellowship Bible Church called, “Riptide and 56″, as an action leader and a group leader. He has participated in the first High School Startup Weekend with a team called, ” Polish-to-Go “, which took third place.

Interests: Hiking, walking, running, anything related to being outside
Aspirations: To attend a college in Fayetteville, Arkansas
Connect: Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / LinkedIn


Chyna NicholsChyna Nichols is sixteen year old girl who attends eStem High School. She loves shopping and dressing up to create different styles and trends. She wants to pursue her dreams of fashion in college and major in Fashion Design with a minor of Business and Communications. She enjoys having a good time, hanging with her friends and family.

Interests: Softball, Singing, Debating and Traveling
Aspirations: Attending Hampton University or Baylor University and achieving all of her goals
Connect: LinkedIn / Instagram


Nate ReevesNate Reeves is a sixteen year old “Freelance” developer / graphic designer, having two years of experience in the development field. Currently co-owner/developer of abM Gaming. Strongest languages include Javascript, LUA, Python, and Ruby. His graphic design experience comes from Osu, a European created spin off of Osu! Tatakae! Ouenan. His inspiration for programming comes from Aaron Swartz, co-creator of reddit and the RSS.

Interests: Programming, Graphic Design, Networking,
Aspirations: To learn at least, another 15 programming languages.
Connect: Twitter / Google+ / Steam


Haley SpicerHaley Spicer was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas on April 7,1999. She currently attends eStem Public Charter High School and is a Junior and a Noble 201 student. She is involved in various clubs such as FBLA, Students for Christ,
and Beta Club. She is passionate about Flying and wants pursue her dream of becoming a pilot.

Interests: Basketball, Softball, Science
Aspiration: Attend Louisiana State University
Connect: Linkedin / Twitter / Instagram / Email / Portfolio


Breanna TylerBreanna Tyler is a Noble 201 Scholar at eStem High School. She enjoys taking pictures and painting anything that catches her interest. Breanna enjoys watching and learning new things about things of the past in her free time. She aspires to go to The Art Institutes in San Francisco and major in Fine Arts.

Interests: Photography, Art, Archeology
Aspirations: Attend The Art Institute in San Francisco.
Connect: Twitter / LinkedIn / Instagram / Portfolio


Kyla WebbKyla Webb is a Noble 201 Scholar at eStem High School. She enjoys taking pictures and editing them to create her unique style of photography. She wants to major in political science and get her law degree. She enjoys doing her research on the politicians running for presidency in 2016… #VOTE4BERNIESANDERS

Interests: Photography, Politics, Entrepreneurship, Law, and Blogging
Aspirations: Attend Harvard University or Columbia University
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram / Portfolio


Angel WilliamsAngel Williams is currently a junior at eStem Public Charter High. This is her second year as a student in the Noble Impact course. She is passionate in cheerleading and psychology. She currently a member of diversity club and the varsity cheer squad for 3 years now. Angel is known for giving advice and cheerleading.

Interests: Public Speaking, Psychology, Cheerleading, and Track
Aspirations: Psychologist and Counselor
Connect: Twitter / Instagram / Email


Kennedy YancyKennedy Yancy is a dedicated young woman who someday wants to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer and minoring in business. She is currently president of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) , a member of young ladies club, eStem students for Christ, Arkansas commitment, Mayor’s Youth Council, and is a Noble impact 201 student. She enjoys majorette dancing, and playing softball.

Interests: Majorette dancing, softball, law
Aspirations: Attend Yale University or Howard university then become a lawyer.
Connect: Email / Instagram / LinkedIn / Portfolio


Stasha YancyStasha Yancy is aiming to become a OB/GYN after attending college at Spelman University in Atlanta, GA. She is currently a Junior at eStem High School and is also a Noble 201 student. She enjoys anything that implies creativity and loves to be herself.

Interests: Cosmetology, Fashion, Traveling, and learning about anything in the Medical fields.
Aspirations: attending college at Spelman University in Atlanta, GA, to become a OB/GYN.
Connect: Email / LinkedIn


We’re extremely excited about the work our #Noble201 scholars have already achieved and look forward to seeing what they bring to the world in the coming semester. To keep up with the class, check out the hashtag #Noble201 on Twitter or read more about their work on our blog.

Featured image courtesy of Noble Impact 201 scholar and blog contributor Kyla Webb

A Noble Scholar On ‘Ten Things I Know To Be True’

A Noble Scholar On ‘Ten Things I Know To Be True’

When tech giant Google was just a few years old, its team created a philosophical list called “Ten Things We Know To Be True” to represent the company’s major values. It persists even today and includes points such as: Focus on the user and all else will follow; fast is better than slow; and you can make money without doing evil.

Noble Impact, inspired by this, encouraged my Noble 201 class to acknowledge and write down our own philosophical ideas, or things we know to be true.

To help visualize my thoughts, I created my own short movie titled, “Ten Things I Know To Be True.”

The ten things I personally know to be true include:

  1. I love my home in the Natural State.
  2. Change is not a bad thing.
  3. Jean Michel Basquiat is the most interesting artist.
  4. Expanding to new people will only help your social experience.
  5. My little sister is my best friend.
  6. Soccer is the most universal sport in the world.
  7. Everyone has their own daily struggles that I am not aware of.
  8. Spending time in nature plays a major role in my happiness.
  9. Design and creativity affect my life everyday.
  10. Positivity will always over power negativity.

My reasoning behind these specific statements follows my personal values. Recognizing them helps me pay attention to my goals and being aware of my everyday actions.

What do you know to be true?

A Student’s Perspective On ‘Most Likely To Succeed’ Film

A Student’s Perspective On ‘Most Likely To Succeed’ Film

This week, I was inspired to take action to speak up about the changes needed in our education system, all based on one film and one individual dedicated to spreading its message.

Education reformer Ted Dintersmith visits the Noble Impact 201 class.
Education reformer Ted Dintersmith visits the Noble Impact 201 class.
On November 17th, an email arrived in my inbox from my Noble Impact facilitator, Chad Williamson, explaining an opportunity to meet with former venture capitalist and education reformer Ted Dintersmith in my Noble 201 class and see his movie called, “Most Likely To Succeed.” Also attached to the email was a Washington Post article about Ted, who is the film’s executive director, entitled, “Not Bill Gates: Meet Ted Dintersmith, An Education Philanthropist With A Different Agenda.”

When I read the article, it gave me a sense of joy and happiness. Someone was bold enough to take a stand and say, as Ted did, “The U.S. education system should be re-imagined into cross-disciplinary programs that allow kids the freedom to develop core competencies through cross-disciplinary, project-based learning.” Ted wants these changes to become a reality for all schools in America, and it needs to start with us, students.

Our education system has been on an assembly line policy since I’ve been around. In fact, our education system hasn’t changed since 1893, for approximately 122 years ago. It worked before — why change it now, right? Well, there are many reasons, actually, the first of which is that students aren’t engaged, aren’t excelling, and aren’t prepare for life after school.

“Most Likely To Succeed” Executive Producer Ted Dintersmith speaks to the Noble Impact 201 class.
Ted visited my Noble 201 class before the “Most Likely To Succeed” film screening in Little Rock. His talk inspired me to want to learn more about him, because I believed in him. He also believed in me and has high hopes for the future. Ted’s talk also inspired me to write a letter to give to my school’s principal, dean of students, and all of the high school teachers at eStem High School — where I am a student — about how we can help change the education system.

Ted covered many of the common problems that occur in most high schools: The excuses of teachers saying “we can’t [do X, Y, or Z], because we don’t have enough time to cover the whole book;” the common disconnect with students and their schools; the disconnect of parental involvement; and also the mismatch of student skills and the emerging jobs of the future.

After school and Ted’s visit, the only thing in mind was watching his movie and understanding more about his creative school policy. I even went an hour early just to see what was happening before the screening started.

What the movie can offer is extremely important because it covers a variety of problems we see in traditional schools and even in charter schools. It begins with the director’s kid who feels that school is a waste of time and that there is no purpose. The director noted that prior to making the film, he often stressed that his children get good grades, so that they can get into better colleges and eventually land better jobs.

A young Little Rock screening attendee asks the panel a question about the future of jobs.
A young Little Rock screening attendee asks the panel a question about the future of jobs.
That sentiment, in fact, is heard everywhere we go, and even my parents feel the same way. But it’s getting harder to find a job that is sustainable and enables a person to be self-sufficient. The early jobs that we get in college — like a cashier or a Walmart greeter — are disappearing. Furthermore, the jobs that we’ll end up getting 5-10 years from now aren’t yet created — basing our education on the jobs that currently exist, then, is a bad strategy, since many of those jobs are dying.

Taking risks is what this world may need. Being bold instead of safe is needed to see a better future, because what happens when students are presented with these new-economy jobs? Will we greet them with confidence, or will we shutter in fear, because we aren’t prepared? How will we respond?

As for me, what I took from the movie is that observing, reflecting, documenting, and displaying are key skills that schools should strive to teach kids. Kids who are eager to observe their surroundings; kids who can reflect on their projects, their roles, their plans for their teams; kids who share their experiences and believe that anyone can do what they do; and lastly kids who are excited to exhibit what they’ve done and say to anyone “Yes, I accomplished something and I’m proud of it” — those are the kids who will succeed.

Overall, this movie isn’t meant to just be put in libraries or on your movie shelf. This movie was meant for communities of people who are eager to change the way they see education today, to collaborate with each other and come up with a solution to bring back to their school and implement.

Julian Kresse Talks Bladesmithing And Entrepreneurship

Julian Kresse Talks Bladesmithing And Entrepreneurship

This post is part of the Noble Impact Scholars Series, which highlights incredibly talented Noble Impact scholars and the work they’re pursuing.

We recently sat down with 16-year-old Julian Kresse from eStem Public Charter School. Julian has a very unique passion – bladesmithing. From a young age, he’s been involved in a martial arts practice that has exposed him to different techniques and approaches to the craft. Julian has taken initial interest and turned it in to a company through research, determination and skill.


NI: Hi Julian, tell us a little about yourself.

JK: I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and have lived here my whole life. From a young age,  I was putting together puzzles and building things. I love to draw and design. When I was about 9 or 10, I started Cuong Nhu, a martial arts style. This completely changed my life for the better. I lost a lot of weight and became  more confident in myself. When I was 11, I went to Italy for a year with my family. When I got back I continued Cuong Nhu. I was going everyday and then later started to take Kickboxing and Tai Chi. In Cuong Nhu, we started using weapons. I studied how these weapons were made, and fell in love with the craft.


NI: We heard you have significant side hustle called bladesmithing. How did that happen?

JK: I started studying bladesmithing because of Cuong Nhu and became interested in different techniques and approaches.

The idea for my business came from a life of always working with dull knives. I started thinking about a way to sharpen knives more effectively. I was familiar with the traditional Japanese methods of sharpening with a water stone, but I wanted to make sure my knives were precisely honed and sharpened. I looked around for a high quality sharpener. The best one I could find was something called an “Edge Pro”, but it $600 – $700. Then one fateful day, I found one for $5 at an estate sale.


NI: What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who has a passion, but doesn’t know what to do with it?

JK: One piece of advice that I’d give someone that has a passion but doesn’t know what to do with it, would be to study their passion as much as possible. Find other people that have the same passion and see what they are doing with theirs. The more people they meet with the same passion, the more friends and connections gained.


NI: What is the number one piece of advice you would give to other young entrepreneurs who want to start their own thing?

JK: You have to have the grit and self-control that comes with being your own boss. It’s up to you if you give up or not. It’s up to you to goof around or get down to business. Starting your own business is not easy there will be hard times that you think you will give up but you have to stay strong and see your idea through.

Students Rachel Caffey and Jonah Rudkin Lead Innovate 2 Educate Challenge

Students Rachel Caffey and Jonah Rudkin Lead Innovate 2 Educate Challenge

This post is part of the Noble Impact Scholars Series, which highlights incredibly talented Noble Impact scholars and the work they’re pursuing.

Innovate 2 Educate (i2e) is a Noble Impact program giving students a platform to share their ideas on how to make education better.

All across the country, community leaders and policy makers are debating the future of education. Oftentimes, students are missing from the table… We wanted to provide students an opportunity to let their opinion be heard.

Students in Noble 101 were split in to teams of four, and research began. They’ve considered best practices in education systems from around the world, how architecture and space can affect learning, researched their own statistics and gave it a personal twist.

So what’s different about this process than your average class? First, it’s student-run and student-led. The two in charge are Rachel Caffey and Jonah Rudkin.

Rachel and Jonah let us know what was different about i2e than traditional classes…  “With i2e, students are teaching themselves with a facilitator for guidance. There are multiple whiteboards set up around the room for student use. THEY have to be the ones to research and figure out whether or not something is already implemented. THEY have to find their statistics and formulate their plan. THEY create and expand their ideas.”

Rachel and Jonah, a junior and senior at eStem respectively, have embraced social media marketing roles, budgeting processes, and how the event will be structured and ran. They are inviting you  to join them in this community project on March 12. If you’d like, please follow along with us [@nobleimpact] on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and we will announce updated times & locations as the event approaches.

Happy Friday!

Lauren Bradley Launches Arkansas’s First Space Camp

Lauren Bradley Launches Arkansas’s First Space Camp

This post is part of the Noble Impact Scholars Series, which highlights incredibly talented Noble Impact scholars and the work they’re pursuing.

Lauren Bradley is a Noble Impact student, and a graduating senior at eStem Public Charter School. Lauren has a passion for space, which has led her to incredible internships with the Museum of Discovery as well as Innovation Hub’s Launch Pad. She is a Co-Founder of Arkansas’s first ever Space Camp, GASA, which will be offered through the Innovation Hub this summer.

Lauren will attend the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville this fall. She is intending to major in Astrophysics or Aerospace Engineering. When asked what she wanted to do with her future, she said “I’d love to get an internship at SpaceX or NASA and ultimately become a leading science communicator. Much like Bill Nye the Science Guy.”


NI: Hi Lauren, tell us a little about yourself.

LB: I am currently interning at the Museum of Discovery and Arkansas Innovation Hub where I get to explore my love of education. I am a member of the Planetary Society and plan on pursuing a career in space exploration, preferably dealing with the extremes of space (black holes and neutron stars).


NI:What sparked your interest in space?

LB: My dad used to wake me up to view solar eclipses and stargaze when I was little. We would always finish the night or morning off by watching Star Wars Episode IV. We’ve recently upgraded from using a pair of binoculars to a fifty pound Dobsonian based newtonian reflector telescope. I’ve been fuelling my passion ever since with books, podcasts, and lectures- mostly by Neil deGrasse Tyson.


NI: You’re starting a space camp in Arkansas. Can you tell us a little more about this?

LB: GASA (Greater Arkansas Space Adventure camp) is a camp that allows kids from ages 8 to 13 to explore their passion for space. We’ve partnered with the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society to demonstrate how fascinating our universe is. Our campers will get to explore topics from aerospace engineering to astronomy and it’s definitely going to be the coolest camp in Arkansas. Maybe even the Solar System. I’d love to grow GASA into a community of all ages!


NI: Where did the idea come from? 

LB: I attended space camp for the first time in 5th grade and it definitely helped give me a push in the right direction. Seven years later, I began wondering why there’s no outlet for kids in Arkansas with a passion for space. I joked with Joel Gordon about building (long time friend and boss) a model Curiosity Rover over twitter and the conversation turned into us trying to create our own NASA in central Arkansas. We reshaped our idea for a personal NASA into a space camp in central Arkansas.


NI: What has been the biggest challenge developing the space camp thus far?

LB: The biggest challenge has been trying to decide what to fit into our 5 day schedule. There are so many cool possibilities, but narrowing down has been very difficult.


NI: What’s your personal definition of success, and how are you relating that to Space Camp?

LB: I measure my success by how much I have learned from an experience. You can learn a lot from succeeding and failing. There will be a lot of both of those during GASA, and in turn, a multitude of learning experiences for our campers and staff.

Kennedy Smith Launches Fashion Line For Social Change

Kennedy Smith Launches Fashion Line For Social Change

This post is part of the Noble Impact Scholars Series, which highlights incredibly talented Noble Impact scholars and the work they’re pursuing.

17-year-old Noble Impact student Kennedy Smith had a vision to create a clothing line focused on changing the culture of diversity in her high school.  The idea? Everyone should be celebrated – not in spite of their differences, but because of them.

Fashion+Culture Kennedy SmithShe chose two unique trademarks for her line titled, Culture & Fashion. Uniquely, the trademarks are the hashtag #breakingthemold and the diamond. When asked why, she responded, “because no two diamonds are the same, and like diamonds, we are all unique… I chose #breakingthemold because we want to promote the differences between us all. We don’t have to be what people expect. You should be able to do what makes you happy with out fear of judgement from others.”

Monday, her vision became a reality when ten of her custom shirts dropped to her brand ambassadors. Kennedy isn’t just designing for fun, she’s building a business. She is a self – taught designer, marketer, logoist, promoter and stylist.. And one to watch.

Fashion+Culture Kennedy Smith

Noble Impact has played a large part in her inspiration, she says. However, not in the way you might initially think. The best thing Noble has given to Kennedy is the connection with peers who have also started or are in the process of developing start ups. When she was asked about how she made her vision a reality, she quickly credited a fellow Noble student and social media guru, Jase Burton, with playing a large part in helping her develop her digital presence. Kennedy is equipped with business strategy, brand voice, and start up support. She’ll soon invite you to join Little Rock’s most stylish social movement.

Taking pre-orders now, Kennedy is available at: culture.plusfashion@gmail.com.

An Interview With Innovate 2 Educate Team “Steering Arkansas”

An Interview With Innovate 2 Educate Team “Steering Arkansas”

This post is part of the Noble Impact Scholars Series, which highlights incredibly talented Noble Impact scholars and the work they’re pursuing.


We recently caught up with Greta Kresse, Austin Ashley, and Grace Heflin of Steering Arkansas to hear about their project, which was formed at Noble Impact civic innovation challenge, Innovate 2 Educate. The team is quite the inspiration.

NI: Tell me a little about Steering Arkansas.  

SA: Steering Arkansas is a method to inform and advocate the need for Drivers Education in Arkansas. We formed Steering Arkansas [SA] during the first i2e because we were all approaching driving age and we didn’t know how to drive safely and confidently. The problem we are attempting to address is the lack of Drivers Ed courses in high schools across the state of Arkansas. We know there were programs out there that were the solution to our problem, however they weren’t all-access. Drivers Ed can be very costly, in both time and money, so we wanted to offer high school students another option.


NI: What is the inspiration behind Steering Arkansas?

SA: Personally, Steering Arkansas came to be after one of us took the permit test and had very bad first-time driving experiences. It was different for all of us, though. Each of us also knows that in high school it can be very hard to study for your drivers exam, along with the mountain of schoolwork you have to do. So we all decided that we need a Drivers Ed class which students have the opportunity to take during the day, so when we get home we don’t have to worry about not being able to study for the drivers exam.


NI: How did Steering Arkansas get it’s start?

SA: We first thought of Steering Arkansas when our Noble 101 and our EAST class collaborated and we were asked to address a problem in our education system. Obviously, we felt that a big problem was the lack of Drivers Ed in our school, so we went with it. We eventually realized that we aren’t the only teens that felt this way. Through the collaboration of EAST and Noble, we were asked to present at the first i2e challenge, and we loved how we could present this issue to community leaders and not be brushed off as lazy kids who don’t know how to drive.


NI: What has been your proudest moment as a team member of SA?

SA: Austin: For me, our proudest moment would have to be receiving a grant from State Farm.

Greta: Personally it was when we came in third place at i2e. We had worked so hard forming the idea in a very short amount of time so it felt great to get that validation from the judges.

Grace: My proudest moment in Steering Arkansas was when Senator Files visited our school to have a meeting with us. I was amazed that an important person treated us like an equal, despite being teenagers. I’m also so proud that we are making these connections, and reaching out for partnerships, not just our two great facilitators, Chris Forster and Chad Williamson (who also deserve some major credit).

NI: What do you hope Steering Arkansas accomplishes in the long run?

SA: One thing that we hope to accomplish is to implement Drivers Ed into schools across Arkansas of course. We are also constructing a curriculum for Drivers Ed courses, which can be used in the classroom. We plan on piloting the program in eStem, along with the driving simulator. Lastly, in due time we plan on creating a mobile Drivers Ed unit, that holds a simulator, and has the ability to travel to schools around Arkansas to benefit students.


You can follow Steering Arkansas on Twitter at @SteeringAR or contact them at steeringar@gmail.com.

Videographer Jadon Barnes On Passion And Practice

Videographer Jadon Barnes On Passion And Practice

This post is part of the Noble Impact Scholars Series, which highlights incredibly talented Noble Impact scholars and the work they’re pursuing.

Jadon Barnes, 16, has discovered a passion and talent for videography. You might not know this upon initially meeting him at eStem, but he has spent almost his entire life studying, learning, and growing as a videographer.  No prompts from teachers, parents, or friends… It all stemmed from a passion. One thing that kept coming to our mind during Jadon’s interview, was another interview from famous radio personality, Ira Glass.  [If you aren’t familiar with Ira Glass’s Gap Speech, you should take a look at it.]

Jadon Barnes FilmingJadon understood what it was going to take to elevate his work as a creative – inspiration and lots of practice.  When he  was asked which filmmaker most inspired him, he said – “Julian Smith is one of the best in film.  I’ve learned a lot of techniques from his style of filmmaking. Occasionally I go back and look at his videos to make sure my production value is getting closer and closer to his quality standards.”

Noble Impact hopes to tap in to student’s individual passion and purpose, to equip and empower them to be successful in their various endeavors.  Jadon was approached by the Noble Impact team & asked if he would be interested in filming some behind the scenes footage of classroom activities for us. He agreed, & the quality of content he has brought us from only 24 hours of work is beyond what we had asked or hoped.  And what’s great about Jadon’s story, as an up and coming creative from Arkansas, is that he views film as a massive opportunity to engage with the public and highlight causes that are important to him as well as the community.

It’s great to welcome this type of talent to Arkansas.