A 10-year-old applied to a prestigious tech fellowship. This is the letter she got back.

When Five by Five, an "innovation agency," launched their summer fellowship program, a lot of qualified people applied.

The program, running from July 18-29 in Paris, promises 20 of the best and brightest minds "2 weeks of funding, tools, space and mentorship to start prototyping the change they want to see," in the city of Paris.


Photo via iStock.

As expected, a huge pool of applications came in from brilliant Ph.D.s, accomplished urban developers, data scientists, and specialists.

What they didn't expect was an application from a 10-year-old girl named Eva.

Eva's application to the prestigious program involved her pitch to build a robot that would make the streets of Paris "happy again" because, right now, she wrote, "the streets of Paris are sad."

A Thymio robot, which Eva based her design around. Image via thymio.org.

In her application, Eva wrote that, despite learning how to code, she had trouble making her robot work and wanted to join the fellowship to get help.

In the competitive world of science and tech — and the even more competitive world of applying for a prestigious fellowship in the field of science and tech — asking for help can be a rare thing.

Asking for help is something we all need to do, and Eva's application is notable for that reason in particular.

“There is a tendency to act as if [asking for help] is a deficiency,” Garret Keizer, author of "Help: The Original Human Dilemma" told The New York Times. “That is exacerbated if a business environment is highly competitive within as well as without. There is an understandable fear that if you let your guard down, you’ll get hurt, or that this information you don’t know how to do will be used against you.”

Image via iStock.

Whatever your goals are — writing a book, building a robot, or even just building some Ikea furniture — it's both brave and beneficial to ask for the help you need.

Kat Borlongan, a founding partner at Five by Five, was so inspired by Eva's application that she not only accepted her into the program, she published her acceptance letter publicly on Facebook.

(All emphasis mine.)

"Dear Eva, The answer is yes. You have been selected as one of Paris’ first-ever Summer Innovation Fellows among an impressive pool of candidates from all across the world: accomplished urban designers, data scientists and hardware specialists. I love your project and agree that more should be done — through robotics or otherwise — to improve Paris’ streets and make them smile again."

Borlongan goes on to describe what she thought was the most inspiring part of Eva's application — the simple ask for help:

"You’ve openly told us that you had trouble making the robot work on your own and needed help. That was a brave thing to admit, and ultimately what convinced us to take on your project. Humility and the willingness to learn in order to go beyond our current limitations are at the heart and soul of innovation.

It is my hope that your work on robotics will encourage more young girls all over the world — not just to code, but to be as brave as you, in asking for help and actively looking for different ways to learn and grow."

It's true, asking for help can be difficult, and at 10 years old, Eva is already truly inspiring.

Not just because she knows how to program robots (and wants to get even better at it) and not just because she wants to use that knowledge to make people smile ... but because she knows that no one succeeds on their own and asking for help isn't a sign of weakness.

Maybe one day you'll even get help from a robot! Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images.

So, congratulations, Eva. You're already making us smile, and you didn't even need a robot to do it.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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