"Ms. Shanti Balaraman deserves high accolades for her work with students. I cannot praise her enough for her patience, commitment to understand, motivate and inspire the students in this innovative field of Biomimicry research. Although my son was brand new to this field of research, I was amazed at the transformation and innovative thinking she inspired in him with each session. She is extremely easy to build a rapport with and encourages children to develop project management skills and meet deadlines to achieve their goals. I have to admit that I was blown away by how she inspired my son to complete his research project which garnered him awards at the Science and Engineering State Research Competition. Not only did he work with Ms. Balaraman enthusiastically, the positive impact led him to form a team in his high school research club to participate in National Biomimicry Contest. As a parent I greatly appreciate, the sense of responsibility, confidence and increased self-esteem you are gifting these children. Ms. Balaraman, we feel so lucky to have found and worked with you. Thank you so much for going the extra mile to help students and for always being available." - Dr. Raman, Parent of 11th grader

"Kennesha has gone through a massive change ever since she started this Research Program. I have observed that she is becoming more cognizant, and her quality of work has drastically improved. Shanti provided her with opportunities such as participating in the Youth Design National Competition; her experiences from the competition and the program have been invaluable, since she has garnered genuine care for the environment while learning about interesting topics such as biomimicry, industrial designing, and green chemistry. I am very happy with her growth, and I would recommend this program for sure." - Manish, Parent of 9th grader

"Thank you for helping my daughter with her research paper. I see the increase in her confidence levels to research and pursue her ideas. It was very exciting and encouraging when a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur showed interest in her research paper and solution. This has hands down been one of the best experiences and guidance she has received during her high school years. The workshop gave her new perspective on science and how to look at nature and see useful aspects that can help our lives sustainability. Being environmentally conscious, she has found a new way to focus her thought processes." - Neeta, Parent of 11th grader

“I not just recommend but urge parents to consider enrolling their kids into Children’s Innovation Center. Ms Balaraman, softly coached  Arjun to find what inspires him and engaged him in dialogue to explore further. She  guided him on how to observe things in nature, ask relevant environmental questions related to higher cause of helping humanity and also find a sustainable solution for it . She listened reflectively, allowing Arjun to come up with solutions on his own while also advocating to find his written voice. She provided a simple structure that Arjun could follow to write the paper. She truly is a guru who has eagerness to invest in her students  and has the enthusiasm to share her passion for ‘Biomimicry’ with them. She exhibits subject matter expertise of high level. I am thrilled to see my child’s work published in the Emerging innovators journal. As a parent I found it hard to coach my own child and so am Very grateful for this guidance that Ms Balaraman provided.”-  Dr. Chandana, Parent of 9th Grader

"Overall I have had a wonderful time taking the Online Research Program at Children's Innovation Center. I am able to explore much more about the world around me, and how through multiple principles and new ways of problem-solving using Biomimicry, Green Chemistry, Industrial Designing, and more - we can make it better. Even though we communicate through online meetings and sessions, I could both communicate and discuss efficiently. Overall, I have had quite a good time taking this course. It was definitely a new experience unlike any other courses I have ever taken." - Arjun, Student 9th Grade

"This research program has been an adventure. The students I’ve worked with, the learning environment, and the overall atmosphere has given me a different perspective on what it means to learn. The hours spent working on our projects have never felt like work, and learning alongside other students has opened up new windows of thought. It’s the one place that I get to be wrong without consequence, where discussions are something I actively want to engage in. The concepts taught addressed so many different issues that are being glossed over in schools and businesses, but should now be common knowledge; sustainability, the usage of toxic chemicals, and how adapting to nature’s methods is safer not only for the human race, but also for the environment.' - Shrimayi, Student 11th Grade

"For much of Troy’s life, he has struggled to find his voice and purpose.  Behind his quiet smile, however, was a thoughtful, creative and tech-savvy young man just waiting to come out.  His love for technology (including, yes, video games) showed up early on in his life in such a way that soon Troy was able to navigate computers and technology in general with much more ease than his parents.  But, for all that he had learned, he needed inspiration and guidance to show the world what he could do.  Through the Children’s Innovation Center’s Emerging Innovator’s Program and Ms. Shanti Balaraman, our child not only became inspired to use technology to help the environment, but through his research paper, “Agricultural Land and Recovery Methods,” he has begun to find his true voice in the effort to save our planet and to make the world cleaner and safer place for the next generations.  Troy is taking part in an environmental documentary following young change makers, an opportunity only afforded to him from being a part of the Emerging Innovator’s Program." - Cherilyn, Parent of 10th grader

"Both my children have studied at Children’s Innovation Center. Shanti is an extremely dedicated and hardworking teacher. She dives deep into details and pays close attention on every student’s progress. My high schooler joined the innovator’s research program. This program encourages thought leadership. Student starts with an innovative idea and then digs deeper into design. I am glad that my child was a part of this program and I am sure he will continue to use the lessons in future. Children also learn how hardwork and perseverance can pave the path to success. We are grateful to Shanti Balaraman and all teachers at Children’s Innovation Center. We wish the very best for their future endeavors." - Chitra, Parent of 10th Grader and 6th Grader

"I believe this program has helped my child develop his research abilities, critical thinking, and knowledge. This is evident through the fact that he will be in a documentary due to his research paper. The teacher was skilled at teaching and helping her students, and she helped my son all the way to the very end. I am very happy that my son has gotten this opportunity in which he can demonstrate his research and critical thinking, and it is due to the teacher and this program." - Marshall, Parent of 9th grader

"For the past months, I have acquired various skills through this research program, such as developing and executing ideas, practicing whole system designs thinking, and learning the concept and importance of biomimicry, green chemistry, and industrial designing. Shanti mentored me throughout my solution formation process and has provided me with opportunities such as participating in the Biomimicry Institute Youth Design National Competition. Overall, I am very happy with the experience I have earned and the confidence I have gained to explore my ideas and apply them to the real world." - Kennesha, Student 9th Grade

"The Emerging Innovators program has been an amazing experience. I learned how to think in an innovative and resourceful way. One of the main topics taught in this class is biomimicry, imitating nature to implement efficient systems into our designs. This was extremely interesting to learn about as most of the solutions we need already exist in nature. I learned that you don't need to make compromises when developing ideas. It is possible to be both effective and resourceful. This program taught me so many useful concepts that are never mentioned in school. By the time I get a job, these ideas will be incredibly beneficial for everyone to know. Throughout the program, discussion is heavily encouraged as well. This has allowed me to get better at articulating and collaborating with others. The skills I learned from this program will definitely help me in the future." - Saniya, Student 11th grade

"The program really changed my perspectives on various aspects of my life. After attending, I am able to question the functions of every system. I rethink every design in our society and have the confidence to develop a solution for problems posed in my community. This program was truly inspirational and opened my eyes to a new view of the world." - Nitya, Student 11th Grade

"I read my son's research paper and it's awesome and great! It's so nice to see how all the kids were able to get their inner thoughts out into a research-able article. Thank you very much for helping my son throughout the camp until it is published. The program has definitely boosted his confidence and interest in science." - Usha, Parent of 10th grader

"The Children’s Innovation Center program has been a very enriching experience for me! It has opened my mind to new perspectives of perceiving modern problems and solutions. Many things taught here are not taught in an ordinary science or writing class. One of my favorite things about this experience is that we apply what we learn with the real world, giving pre-college students a unique experience usually not found anywhere else. The idea of biomimicry is very important for the future of modern innovations, and this class gives a fantastic and most importantly engaging introduction to this realm!" - Hari S, Student 11th Grade

"This research program was a great experience for me. For the entirety of the program, I’ve learned many new and interesting things. My favorite part was the first half of the program, where Shanti taught me about a variety of problems I never heard of before and how technology and nature solved it. She taught me how you would identify a problem and then work to solve it. When I first learned that, I was genuinely surprised at all the creative ways people apply knowledge and technology. This program is good at opening your eyes to a new way of thinking and problem solving." - William, Student 9th Grade

“I wanted to inform you how much impact your course has on my daughter. She didn't see herself liking engineering related field until your program.  She enjoyed it so much and have learnt a great deal that she wrote her college application essay on the work she had done in your course.  Now, she finds herself wanting to learn more about the engineering and technology fields. Thank you so much for opening her eyes to this amazing world of technology!  Your programs are truly unique!  She is now getting ready for college, feeling confident, and wanting to major in engineering!” – Fallon, parent of 12th Grader

"The emerging innovators program is a great class that taught me to always question established views. The only way to make progress is to question current beliefs and try to make them better. If no one ever questioned what everyone assumed was true, there would never have been any progress to the modern world. Now we must question our current ways of life to find ways to save our planet. The Earth's progress in nature is the best example to take new technologies and incorporate them into our society. This program showed me the problems in our world that need to, and can be, addressed." -Rohan, Student 10th Grade

"The Emerging Innovators Program helped me become more communicable and understanding of my surroundings, and therefore enabled me to write and share my opinions about problems I see in my environment. Most importantly, this program explained how beneficial and important nature is to mankind, more than my schools ever did. Consequently, I became interested in the field of biomimicry, and now hope to someday incorporate it in my professional development. I enjoyed learning about different, nature inspired innovations, which peaked my interest in industrial design. Overall, I believe this program has helped me become a better, more conscious individual to the world I live in." - Ankit, Student 12th Grade

"I never expected to learn so much from just over a month! This program has deepened by curiosity for the unknown. I have also developed so many soft skills that will be really useful for my resume ; furthermore improved my interpersonal skills. I never thought i would be equipped to write a serious university level research paper but now i know the essential steps needed to write any successful paper. I couldn't be more happier to have participated in this program and will totally tell everyone i know about its benefits and its impact on my life." - Isabella, Student 12th Grade

"When I first applied for this program, I was unsure of what to expect. How could this writing project influence me in a way school or learning, in general, had not already? The first meeting I had, met and surpassed my expectations completely. I was challenged to think in a way not taught by my teachers. Instead of reading about scientists discovering and innovating, I was doing the discovery myself. The first few meetings helped me establish a firm foundation to stand on when I was to begin my research. I learned to not just look at nature, but to analyze the purposes for why an organism functions in its specific way. For instance, instead of just noticing that a clam has ridges, by looking deeper at the purpose of the shape I learned that the ridges make the shell more durable. The many lectures on nature’s innovations helped to widen my perspective on what I could discover. After I was educated on how to observe nature, I began work on my paper. The instructor was very thorough in her guidance, walking me through each section while also not controlling the whole paper. At times when I was unable to decide what method to choose, my instructor guided me towards the right path. For instance, she was the one who recommended me to use coconut fibers for the filter when I was unable to decide what material to use. Overall, this experience taught me many skill sets that I would not have gained from my school. The learning was made to be very interesting and the instructor always made sure I understood the material before proceeding. I believe that the use of online learning did not sacrifice the quality of this experience. While it was unfortunate that I was unable to work in person, I still believe I learned a lot from my time spent working on my paper and learning from my instructor. I would wholeheartedly recommend this experience to anyone who is interested." - Isaac, Student 11th Grade

"On the first day of the program, I was very worried and anxious about the program; I had no idea how I would proceed and create a whole research paper. But as the weeks passed by, the workload may have increased but so did my enjoyment. I always liked conducting research and this program really gave me a chance to do what I wanted. I would like to thank Ms. Shanti for everything that she taught us throughout the program. From biomimicry to simple designing tips, she made our paper significantly easier. I ended up picking a topic that I enjoyed learning about, and she greatly helped me throughout the entire process of creating a solution. I would definitely recommend others to take this program as it is not only useful for college applications but it starts to become very interesting and fun once topics are locked in. Thanks Ms. Shanti for everything that you have done during these four weeks and I hope to see you in the future!"- Nishanth. V - Grade 12 Student

"As a rising senior, I was very unsure about what to expect in terms of what the research would be on. However, I am glad that I did take the camp. I know that this course introduced me to many new views in the scientific field that I had not heard of before, i.e. biomimicry. This course not only taught me the definitions but also how to actually implement the research in real-world situations. Ms. Shanti Balaraman was amazing when it came to helping me determine the final aspects of my solution and creating the layout of the report. Overall, I really enjoyed this research camp and felt as if it helped introduce me to the up-and-coming field of biomimicry."- Aryan. S - Grade 12 Student.

“This research program has been such a valuable experience for me. Prior to this program, I never heard of biomimicry and green chemistry, but after Ms. Shanthi Balaraman’s mentorship, I am now able to see its significance in my daily life. This program taught me concepts that I had never learned in school, from types of analytical thinking to learning how to ask questions regarding the world around me. The process of creating a research paper not only helped me gain various skills, but it has also been very rewarding. I am very thankful to have been introduced to this wonderful program since I will now be able to utilize what I learned for the rest of my life.” Shreya. S – Grade 12 Student.

"Hi Ms. Shanti, Thank you very much for running this program. Initially, I was very scared and not confident to write a research paper, but days flew by so fast starting from the second week of this course. I haven't even noticed how fast this course went by. I learned how to think differently and I enjoyed the experience. I would like to thank you so much for your patience during the design process of my solution. I struggled at many places but you guided me very well. Overall, this was a challenging, vigorous, and fun experience for me as I learned how to think outside the box."- Nikhil. V - grade 10 Student.

"The Emerging Innovator Program was a great experience for me, and I learned a lot during the program. Ms. Balaraman taught us the fundamentals of biomimicry and green chemistry in an engaging and intuitive manner, and then guided us to use these principles to design solutions to issues in the world. It was very enriching to learn new ways to think about the world, and I thoroughly enjoyed articulating and designing a solution." - Pranav. A - Grade 11 Student.

"This class taught me more about our planet and society than any school I've been to. I learned to explore differently, to think disruptively, and to ask questions that I wouldn't have dreamed of before. It was gratifying to actually understand what I was doing rather than spend all my time on busywork. I am eternally grateful to this experience that has already begun to change my views of the world around me."- Jasmine. A - Grade 10 Student,

"This online research program taught me many things about how our society is evolving and how to write a research article that I can be proud of even in the future. I learnt how to look at things deeply and investigate, rather than just see them, and how to think outside the box. I was never taught these kinds of things at school, and since it’s starting to take a big part of our society, I am very happy that I got the chance to learn these things." - Erika, Student 9th Grade

“I attended the Online Research Program. The research class has taught me how to think differently and relate things to nature.  I enjoyed the class a lot and am glad I got to write such an intricate paper with so many aspects. I became more familiar with biomimicry and the program 3D paint, which will help me later in the future. Overall, the program taught me lots of things like how to explore the world around me and discover new scientific ideas, while helping me with my college application.” – Lieth, Student 11th Grade

"Throughout this course I have been able to learn and experience many things, even during COVID-19, with my three classmates. I was exposed to the problems that were created during past generations, and why they weren’t already solved. I was able to learn how to innovate and create solutions, not only from my own thinking, but also from nature. That process of learning from nature to create a solution is called biomimicry. I also learned about green chemistry, which is the process of reducing or eliminating the use of hazardous materials during the design stage of a product, so that we can cause less harm to our planet. This class also allowed me to think about a problem and design a solution for it, which was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had." - Pranav, Student 11th Grade

"I really enjoyed coming here and researching and writing both the blog and the research article. During the school year, there are not a lot of writing assignments, so it was actually really fun to write something long and get that good feeling you get after finishing something.  This "course" was actually really enjoyable, because school tends to be very easy and not very engaging. The different style of taking time to ask the right questions before you get the answers was definitely a change of pace and was for the better. The instruction was engaging and got me interested, especially the Fibonacci Sequence one. In school the teachers read off of the slide and you are supposed to take notes, which is no fun at all. I would definitely recommend this course to other people. I'm thinking of trying to write another article similar to the one in this course on a different subject to see if I can think of a product or a solution to see what that would be like. Thank you for these past four weeks!"- Evan, Student 10th Grade

"I learned a lot about Biomimicry! From how I can use it, to examples of it, and just how effective it can be. I also learned much about Human-Centric Design. as well as Green Chemistry and Sustainable Innovation. Learning how to write in a formal style was also helpful, and it'll help if I ever write scientific papers. I think this class taught me a lot that I can apply in the real world." - Troy, Student 10th Grade

"I attended the 2-Semester - Emerging Innovators Research Program at the Children's Innovation Center. I learned about many different subjects like biomimicry, green chemistry, industrial designing, and the three types of analysis. I also learned skills like investigation, problem solving, researching, creating detailed flow charts and drawings. My experience at the Children’s Innovation Center was enjoyable and enlightening." - Kushal, Student 11th Grade

"This program has helped me in a variety of ways and has helped me think like a scientist. This program teaches you how to research the world around you in order to get ideas for your solutions. In addition, you are taught how to write a scientific paper, and the mentor helps you in achieving that. I think that this program is a great way to learn how to think differently and how to think more efficiently and then apply it." - Taha, Student 9th Grade

"This program is a great program to invest in. It teaches you many different forms of research and you get to test those forms with doing an essay and a blog. Before I had joined this class, I didn’t really know how to research properly and my essays weren’t the best. But once I joined this class, I learned how to look for great articles and find useful information for my essays. One assignment that we had done was the research article and it was pretty fun. I got to pick out my own topic and research all about it. It was pretty cool and great to write. Ms. Shanti has helped me through the whole process and she has taught me so much. I really enjoyed this whole class and how collaborative it was." - Sydnie, Student 10th Grade

"I thoroughly enjoyed the five weeks I spent at this camp. I learned so much about biology as well as chemistry through this experience. With the help of this camp, I was also able to learn to write reports as well. Last but not least, I made quite a few friends and was able to learn so much from them as well." - Sadhana, Student 9th Grade

“I would love to thank Ms. Balaraman for introducing us to the world of Biomimicry. With her guidance, I was able to look at objects more closely and understand how much nature inspires our work. The class was amazing, and it motivated me to examine the world in a new way. ” – Saiganesya, Student 11th Grade

"I enjoyed the program, overall. It was very well-structured, and all the content was very well-taught. Prior to this experience, I was not very keen on looking at the news and the world around me. This has made me more aware of what is going around me. The biomimicry segment has helped me appreciate nature more than I used to. Earlier, I used to just look at a tree and walk past it, but this program has prompted me to start observing more about its features and functions. The number of facts you can learn from just surfing the internet for 15 minutes about nature is astounding. What I have also noticed is that I have become more curious about everything around me, and now am very determined to help save the Earth however I can. Overall, this was a wonderful experience." – Shaunak, Student 10th grade

"Although this research paper took four weeks, I had enough time to observe the world for issues to solve, ask my own questions, research, design, and create a research paper. I was guided step-by-step in all the different parts of the research paper, and my work has been constantly checked and proofread to make sure I produced quality content. For me, the most challenging part was to figure out what was realistically possible. Designing a solution takes time and research. It is important to make sure that the solution I design can at least theoretically be possible. Also, it was a bit challenging to find a topic that also goes with my field of choice. In the end, my topic was close to the field that I want. Otherwise, everything else went pretty well. I am very lucky to experience such an opportunity to create a research paper and design a solution as a teenager!" - Ananya, Student 12th Grade

"The five weeks here were fun. I made new friends and had fun socializing with them. The research projects were fun and interesting to say the least. I don't think that there was really anything to change about the course. My take-away from this course is that the world is not going to be perfect but with more responsible innovations we can get close to it." - Elton, Student 11th Grade

"I really liked learning about various concepts, like biomimicry and green chemistry. They were both concepts that I had never been introduced to before and it was interesting to see how they would be applicable in future real life design solutions. However, I think the program was mentally exhausting for me. We did have breaks, but it involves a lot of thinking. At the end I was very happy to see my completed research!" - Shobha, Student 12th Grade

"This class has taught me a lot about expanding my knowledge and social skills. It has taught me about how to write a college level research paper, as well as the essential tips for writing any successful essay. Ms. Shanti is an excellent teacher and I am very happy and grateful she gave me a scholarship for this course so thank you so much!" - Arianna, Student 9th Grade

"When I came at first I felt very nervous. Later in a couple of days I felt more comfortable and I had fun recording my voice and making a video. We then started to learn about biomimicry which I thought was very interesting. Overall I think I had fun and I learned about researching and writing an article." - Dev, Student 9th Grade

"I loved the course I took at Children’s Innovation Center which taught about sustainability and how we, as innovators, can move forward in society with our practices in the process of manufacturing goods that solve humanity’s problems. Throughout high school, I’ve never learned or heard of biomimicry which shows how unique this class is. My college counselor (who’s been doing her job for almost 20 years now) was also fascinated by my research during this program and said she had never read anything like it. I believe this program can provide an edge for all students to familiarize themselves with the concepts as our society is continually moving forward in technological advancements, but I definitely think it is more beneficial to start earlier on. For me, a high school senior, I wish I knew about Shanti and her program four years ago cause then I could’ve fully utilized her resources and expertise. However, I did enjoy her class still, and it actually shifted my career interests. I’m thankful for Shanti and her aid and availability with any of my questions in the course as well as during the college application process. I’m excited to possibly further my research from what I began at Children’s Innovation Center as I take my next steps into college. “  -  Evelyn, student 12th grade

"I had a great learning experience at Children's Innovation Center program. I really liked the first week when we learned how to create whiteboard animations, it was interesting and helped me understand how to use different types of software. In the second week, I enjoyed researching about issues and learning about different kinds of writing. The third week was probably the most beneficial for me, as I learned to open up with the help of a fellow classmate and my teacher and I gave a wonderful presentation. In the fourth week, I liked searching for a biomimicry-related research topic and I learned how to use the blueprints of nature to better establish our own society. In the final week, I felt satisfied as I wrapped up my research article and got it checked for errors often, I finished creating my biomimicry-inspired product and I finished writing my research article. Overall, the class was interesting, worth the time I spent there and also very beneficial in many ways. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give this class a 10 and would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about innovation and biomimicry. Thank you for helping me learn something new this summer!" - Vineel, Student 10th Grade

"Here at the Children’s Innovation center, I’ve grown so much as a person. I’ve received such personalized guidance and mentoring and have been able to learn so much! Shanti is such an amazing mentor as well as a wonderful teacher and helps me everyday, all while expanding my knowledge. Without CIC, I don’t know where I might have been and so I’m just so happy that I was able to enroll into this program because it changed me for the better! Thank you! " - Melina, Student 9th Grade