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How to Turn an Idea Into a Portfolio of Leadership Projects

FEB 09, 2021

When it comes to leadership endeavors, from your capstone project to your college extracurriculars, ideas that you’re excited to work on late into the nights are hard to come by  —  so when you find something that genuinely sparks your interest, it’s important to make the most of it.

Some of the most successful companies, nonprofits, events and enterprises were borne of passion projects whose creators had the right mix of ambition, dedication and resourcefulness. Take, for example, Facebook: the idea was notoriously conceived in Mark Zuckerberg’s college dorm room and in less than a decade grew into the social networking giant we all know, with several subsidiary companies, services and initiatives descending from it.

Ideas don’t always have a clear roadmap to take them from a concept to a tangible project; but when you approach them one step at a time, it can be easier to identify the next step on the path to growth. Whether that next step is to raise money, teach others or start an awareness campaign, taking your project to the next level requires a growth mindset — and you can’t stop there!

Curious how other high school students have built their passion into multiple projects? Here are two fantastic examples from students who were featured on Crimson’s Top of the Class podcast to discuss how their ideas have blossomed into a wide range of initiatives.

Stephanie Wang

When COVID-19 hit, so did mountains of misinformation. With a love of science and a particular interest in epidemiology (the study of how viruses spread), Stephanie saw an opportunity to make a difference.

Her primary idea was to write a book to introduce students to epidemiology. It’s a daunting task for any first time author, but the task was even more grueling alongside the ongoing demands of high school. However, Stephanie persevered and with the help of professors willing to review her content, she wrote Epidemiology Unmasked — which is now available in her local libraries.

But she didn’t stop there.

Stephanie saw an opportunity to raise money from the royalties of her book sales and thus far, she has been able to purchase 1,000 masks for frontline health workers with the proceeds. Further, fueled by the accomplishment of writing her book, Stephanie also wanted to teach students about the basics of public health. So, through the nonprofit she founded with friends (called Kid Teach Kid), Stephanie ran a free online workshop for hundreds of students.

Even then, she didn’t stop.

To incite a long-term change, Stephanie wanted to address the root of the problem that inspired her to write Epidemiology Unmasked, which was a lack of public health education in schools. She spoke to her biology teachers who helped turn her book into lesson plans and worksheets for the subject matter to be taught in schools.

Want to hear Stephanie’s tips for writing a book, self-publishing and creating lesson plans? Click here to listen to the full podcast episode from the Top of the Class.

Koki Mashita

Koki’s first experience with investing was when he put a few hundred dollars into Bitcoin at 12 years old. He caught the investing bug and was soon researching companies and mapping market trends. His dad lent him $1,000 to invest, which sparked a flame that turned into his ongoing enthusiasm for the stock market.

As Koki gained confidence in both market research and entrepreneurship, he took his love of investing to the next level and co-founded Lallic Partners, an investment firm run by high school students. Through trial and error, Lallic Partners won over a handful of clients and now manages more than a million dollars!

But he didn’t stop there.

With their combined knowledge, Koki and his team have set up a platform to teach other students about the basics of investing. Further, his experience in entrepreneurship has enabled Koki to pursue other business ideas like the imminent launch of a Kickstarter campaign for a new environmentally friendly product in women’s hygiene.

Want to learn more about how Koki started a million dollar investment company in high school? Read an interview with Koki about his investing journey on Crimson’s blog, or click here to listen to the full podcast episode from the Top of the Class.

Taking your passion projects to the next level is a matter of being diligent and utilizing your resources. Any idea can evolve into a well-rounded extracurricular and leadership profile when you’re committed to its growth — and with the support of people who want to see you succeed. Do you have an idea with potential, but aren’t sure how get it off the ground? Crimson’s vast network of expert mentors can help. To learn more about turning your project into an extracurricular portfolio that shines, click the link below to schedule a free consultation with one of our Academic Advisors.

Alex is the co-host of the Top of the Class Podcast

Written by

Alex C.

Alex Cork manages the Top of the Class podcast and has worked in the education sector for 10 years. He has interviewed more than 300 students and has a genuine curiosity in student achievement whether this be in sport, music, extracurriculars, academics, business or activism.