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The Rockefeller Foundation

It takes guts to chase your dreams. But for Shaunelle Chester, it can take a whole lot more than that to reach them.

Her dreams took her from her home in London all the way to Newark, New Jersey, when she was just 19 years old to pursue a career in marketing. That leap of faith was only the beginning, though — to succeed, it would take hard work. To adapt to a different country and its educational system, Chester had to start at square one.

She had to enroll in a community college to prepare for the SATs, an American college admissions exam that was new to her because in the United Kingdom, the university application process is based on different exams. While she studied, she also had to work full-time to support herself and build up her resume.


All images via Upworthy.

Even after two years of working hard in to earn a scholarship to Rutgers University, she still had farther to go on the path to achieve her dreams. She wasn't like most of her peers at Rutgers — not only was she a few years older, but she was also completely new to being a student in the U.S.

So when she decided to apply for an internship at Unilever before her senior year, she worried that someone with a higher GPA would get it instead. But the application process turned out to be nothing like she expected.

That's because Unilever uses a unique tool — a pymetrics assessment — during their hiring process.

In the same way that something like Netflix uses data science to offer someone personalized recommendations, pymetrics uses neuroscience and data to help new recruits connect with jobs they're most likely to succeed in.

Rather than making a judgment call based on a resume, pymetrics uses games to assess a candidate’s inherent cognitive and emotional traits — like planning and risk-taking — allowing applicants to connect with their passions and demonstrate their strengths.

For someone like Chester, whose background isn't exactly traditional, this allows the applicant to get on equal footing with their peers.

Getting diverse applicants a foot in the door was actually the whole reason pymetrics was invented.

Dr. Frida Polli started out as a neuroscientist, but she decided to switch paths and attend business school. As a 38-year-old mom, she didn't fit the mold of the typical MBA student even though she knew she had something unique to bring to the table.

"My 30-page-plus academic resume told me nothing about what I could do in the business world, let alone that I could be a tech entrepreneur," she says on the website.

Using her neuroscience savvy and entrepreneurial spirit, she created pymetrics as a way of leveling the playing field. And with the help of The Rockefeller Foundation, pymetrics is continuing to expand its impact to include at-risk youth as well.

It's working, too. "Blind" hiring processes, like those being created by pymetrics, are creating new possibilities for applicants who might otherwise be overlooked. In fact, many of the companies that use these tools are more diverse than ever before.

It's also helping students looking to delve into new career paths expand their horizons. After her assessment, Chester was able to connect with a role at Unilever that was the perfect fit. It was a role focused on food solutions and meeting consumer needs — a job that she hadn't even considered, let alone heard of.

This tool would ultimately set Chester on the right path. Her enthusiasm and drive as an intern made a real impression; upon graduation, she secured a full-time job offer, finally embarking on the marketing career that she could only dream of years ago as a teenager in London.

Pymetrics is changing how we interview

What if a computer game could remove interviewer bias and uncover skills applicants didn't even know they had? Turns out, it can.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, September 4, 2018

No matter where you're from or who you are, we each have a unique set of talents to offer the world.

While a resume could tell you where Chester had been, no resume could capture where she was capable of going. A tool like this made all the difference, opening doors that might have otherwise remained closed.

For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot — or will not.

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

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The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

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via Pexels

If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

A lot of folks feel Americans have become a lot harsher to one another due to political divides, which seem to be widening by the day due to the power of the internet and partisan media.

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Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

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Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

A recent Twitter thread highlights life after turning 30.

There's something really scary about turning 30. Society places so much emphasis on reaching your fourth decade of life, giving it more importance than it actually needs. At 30, apparently, you're supposed to have figured out all the big things, including your career and your love life. It reminds me of the movie "13 Going on 30" when teenage Jenna is sitting in the closet repeating "30 and flirty and thriving" over to herself as some sort of mantra. I don't know about your experience, but the concept of "30 and flirty and thriving" for me ended up being a total myth. That's what people are trying to tell a Twitter user who needed reassurance that life "gets better" after 30.

Katherine Morgan, known as blktinabelcher on Twitter, is a writer and bookseller who asked a question of the Twitter hive mind to set her mind at ease.

"I’m 28, so I’m almost there, but can people in their 30s and older please (gently) tell me that it’s going to get better and I don’t need to have figured out my entire life in two years?" she wrote. The tweet took off, with more than 100,000 likes and thousands of replies. While everyone phrased their responses differently, the general consensus was you don't have to have anything figured out before you turn 30.

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Photo from Upworthy Library

A proud sloth dad was caught on camera.

Teddy the two-toed sloth has become a proud papa and thanks to a video posted by the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, we all get to witness the adorable reunion with his newborn son.

Mama sloth, aka Grizzly, gave birth to their healthy little one in Feb 2022, which delighted more than 3,000 people on Facebook.



The video, posted to the Florida zoo’s YouTube page, shows Grizzly slowly climbing toward her mate, who is at first blissfully unaware as he continues munching on leaves. Typical dad.

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