Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Getting Smart Podcast

Mar 24, 2021

Today, Tom is sitting down with three outstanding learners who are passionate about difference-making, innovation, and making the world a better place. All three students — Sofia Sanchez, Naila Moloo, and Aaryan Harshith — are a part of The Knowledge Society (TKS); one of Getting Smart’s favorite afterschool programs!

Sofia Sanchez is passionate about synthetic biology, biotechnology, and innovation. Currently, she’s attending the Tecnológico de Monterrey high school in Mexico and focuses her studies on exponential technologies so that she can start a company that impacts the world in a positive way.

Naila Moloo attends the Elmwood high school in Ontario and is passionate about sustainable energy — specifically where it intersects with nanotechnology. Naila loves to learn about anything related to emerging technology, ranging from quantum physics to space exploration.

Aaryan Harshith attends the Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School in Ontario and is working to create a better, healthier world through the things he builds and the research he conducts. For the past two years, his primary focus has been on building a medical device to enhance cancer diagnosis during surgery — currently, he’s in the process of running human trials for it!

Listen in as Tom speaks with these learners to hear about their motivations to change the world, the emerging opportunities they see, and how they practice continuous learning. They share about their passion projects, hopes for the future, how they would change high school if they could, their visions for difference-making in this world, and how TKS has aided them in their learning journeys.

This is an episode that has left the entire Getting Smart team feeling incredibly inspired so be sure not to miss out!


Key Takeaways:

[:08] About today’s episode with three incredible students.

[1:38] Tom welcomes the three learners to the podcast!

[2:51] Sofia shares how she became so passionate about synthetic biology.

[3:31] How did Sofia discover TKS?

[4:21] How did Sofia turn her interest in gene editing and the gut microbiome into an incredible project?

[5:57] Was there any information on TKS about these topics or was Sofia’s learning self-directed through the internet?

[6:32] Was Sofia assisted by a coach at TKS on any of the projects that she worked on?

[7:21] Sofia speaks about her motivation for writing on Medium and hosting her own podcast, the 2045 Podcast.

[8:51] Naila speaks about her project for a science fair that led to her winning a scholarship for TKS.

[10:46] How did Naila become interested in sustainable energy, particularly superconductors?

[12:40] Does Naila study these interests at her school, Elmwood, or does she explore them outside of school?

[13:53] How did Aaryan find out about TKS? How long has he been in the program? And what kind of projects did he create for science fairs? What was his motivation?

[15:55] How is TKS different from traditional learning at Aaryan’s high school?

[17:10] What sparked Aaryan’s interest in a universal cancer vaccine?

[18:39] Sofia speaks about her evolving philosophy around difference-making.

[20:21] About Turnaround for Children’s Well-Being Index.

[21:13] How TKS has helped Naila think about where she wants to make a difference in the world.

[22:10] Aaryan shares what TKS has helped him with and inspired his vision for difference-making.

[22:57] Aaryan shares his thoughts on college vs. other post-secondary options.

[24:14] Sofia shares what is next for her after high school.

[26:00] Naila shares about the ways in which she thinks that high school could be more valuable.

[27:07] Sofia shares how she would change high school.

[27:49] Aaryan speaks about the opportunities that high schools should provide their learners with.

[28:22] Sofia shares her continuous learning tips for other young learners.

[29:38] Naila shares how she continually learns and gives advice to other students.

[30:34] Aaryan shares how he keeps learning and gives some advice to other learners as well.

[32:05] Tom thanks Sofia, Naila, and Aaryan for joining the Getting Smart Podcast!


Mentioned in This Episode:

The Knowledge Society (TKS)

Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 305: “Navid Nathoo on What Education Can Learn From the Real World and The Knowledge Society

Sofia Sanchezs LinkedIn

Sofia Sanchezs Website

Sofia Sanchezs Medium Profile

2045 Podcast by Sofia Sanchez

Naila Moloos LinkedIn

Naila Moloos Website

Chronicles Of Illusions: The Blue Wild, by Naila Moloo

Aaryan Harshiths LinkedIn

LightIR: Changing the Way We See (and Treat) Cancer Forever,” by Aaryan Harshith | Medium

Difference Making at the Heart of Learning: Students, Schools, and Communities Alive With Possibility, by Tom Vander Ark and Emily Liebtag

Well-Being Index | Turnaround for Children


Get Involved:

Check out the blog at

Find the Getting Smart Podcast on iTunes, leave a review, and subscribe.


Is There Somebody You’ve Been Wanting to Learn From or a Topic You’d Like Covered?

To get in contact: Email and include “Podcast” in the subject line.

The Getting Smart team will be sure to add them to their list!