Shifting Rhythms


Blues Guitar to Get Mod Makeover in Mobile Education Units Aug. 22, 2017
Olin/Babson/Wellesley Student Team Wins $25,000 Grant from Ford Motor Company Fund for Community Project Aug. 2, 2017

Student lead: Aditi Joshi, Engineering: design

Our project uses the theme of mobility in two ways: first, as a mobile education space, we are addressing the lack of transportation resources in a rural community that create barriers to success; second, our curriculum teaches 21st-century skills that we believe will allow youth to increase their educational and career opportunities and, thereby, increase their upward social mobility. Following a popular five-month pilot run from March-August 2018, students, parents, and organizational leaders are enthusiastic about continuing with Shifting Rhythms’ existing offering. Additional funding from Ford would allow us to continue to provide mobility via mobility in that we could continue to deliver our existing curriculum at two sites through the end of 2018 and simultaneously work towards upgrading and testing the next iteration of our curricula and assessment tools in Spring 2019. Specifically, the funds would enable us to fully restock and expand the current curriculum, tool and material offerings within Shifting Rhythms, grow the number of students we can engage at any given moment, employ more student workers, and continue to provide the integral service of travelling to students in a variety of afterschool settings.

Two years’ field work by six Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship students provided insights to meet local leaders’ goals to empower young people with necessary 21st century skills. Expanding and strengthening after-school programs, the grant will fund a pilot project for 6 months to test the business model and guitar-making curriculum for five after-school programs in Coahoma County, Mississippi.

Participants would experience design thinking, computer-based design, digital and traditional fabrication, rapid prototyping, product development and business planning. The school districts believe the elements of design, arts and entrepreneurship will broaden educational and career opportunities.

Mobility is key to sharing resources among community stakeholders, who lack public transportation as well as social mobility. The 12-week guitar-building program will rotate throughout the county, estimated to reach 100 students a year. Weekly pop-up activities in various public spaces will reach 1,200-1,500 youth per year. The overall annual forecast is to hire 8-10 students as peer mentors, developing 5-10 student entrepreneurs. Sustainability additionally exists in a hybrid model of after-school programs sustained by grants and selling products. Additionally, the Carnegie Public Library has committed to supporting the project, including hiring a local program director.