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Tim Talk: One contact leads to nonprofit serving more than 130 students

Tim Hunt
Tim Hunt.

When I wrote about Gatik Trevidi’s invention of a device during the Covid-19 pandemic that could monitor critical body systems and send them by wireless connection to medical personnel he was just starting to test it.

He touched bases by email this week and he updated me on the device and the STEM venture he launched out of it. He developed it because monitoring devices were expensive and did not give medical personnel an accurate gauge of whether a person is improving or declining.

He’s had it tested in both Zambia and India and has videos from physicians attesting to its viability. Because it’s designed to sell for a very low cost, it’s ideally suited for use in developing countries where data can be sent wirelessly to medical personnel. He’s in the process of applying for a patent and then will tweak the design for potential deployment.

When he was going to the International Science and Engineering Fair with his monitoring device, an Oakland high school student read about his project and reached out to him on Instagram. He wanted to know how he could pursue something similar, but he didn’t have the resources or connections. That led Gatik to found a non-profit, Inspire to Innovate, designed to target students in under-served communities and invite them into a summer program to guide them in the process. Incidentally, it’s open to any interested student.

Working with 10 colleagues, the Dougherty Valley High senior has served 150 students over the past two summers and has another group of 130 starting this week. They meet virtually for 90 minutes six times over the first two weeks.

These are lecture sessions to help students learn more about physics, chemistry, biology and core STEM subjects. The overview is designed to pique student’s interest so when they follow up one-on-one they can start with an area of interest and then work to develop a project.

They’re partnered with the Quest Science Center in Livermore as well as the Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership group so have tapped into many professionals in various fields. They bring those professionals in for class sessions as well.

“The main goal of Inspire to Innovate is to increase youth access to innovative research by guiding them through the research process from start to finish. And we also connect them to like student researchers and professionals like professors and such. I find it really, really amazing how having someone to reach out to and now I'm able to help more than 130 people signed up for this year,” he said on our Zoom conversation.

They plan to help the students develop their projects over the summer so they can be engaged—with student and potentially professional mentors—do the research and the project in the fall.

Gatik said if someone is interested, there’s still time to participate this summer. Contact him.

Editor's note: "Tim Talk" is a blog written by Tim Hunt, a native of Alameda County. Hunt spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in addition to writing editorials for more than 15 years.

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