Certifying youth with high aspirations and exceptional talents as members
to be supported for a maximum of 5 years
Providing financial assistance to selected applicants
The Masason Foundation (“the Foundation,” President: Masayoshi Son) has chosen 42 people aged between 10 and 25 as members of the Foundation (Generation 3). They will be given support as associate members*.
The Foundation’s goal is to provide an environment that enables youth with high aspirations and exceptional talents to develop their skills, and to contribute to the future of humankind, in the coming age of Singularity. It offers facilities in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; Boston, Massachusetts; and Palo Alto, California (both in the United States) for interaction among members, research, development, etc. The Foundation also hosts lectures and networking events by specialists and experts in various fields, including the directors of the Foundation. In addition, among the members, those who apply for and pass the screening process will be given financial assistance. The details and amount of the assistance will be considered on an individual basis, as support for those who wish to gain experience in the future in research or study abroad, or have something they wish to accomplish.
The Foundation has chosen as members young people with high aspirations and who are making use of their exceptional talents in a range of fields, such as an elementary school student who passed 1st Kyu of Suken, a test for measuring practical skills in mathematics, at the youngest age. Others selected include an elementary school student who won a prize at a worldwide robotics competition and a junior high school student who has achieved outstanding results in programming contests from a young age. The associate members certified last year (Generation 2) who passed the screening process were certified as authorized members.
The Foundation provides support to youth with high aspirations and exceptional talents for expanding their potential and their growth to be people who will create the future through exposure to new values and the latest technologies, and interaction with members.
■About Members (As of July 1, 2019)
1. The number of members (from Generation 1 to Generation 3): 187
2. Age Distribution
Under 10 years old: 1 (1%) / 10 – 19 years old: 77 (41%)
20 – 29 years old: 109 (58%)
Youngest: 8 years old / Oldest: 28 years old
*The Foundation will certify talented persons as associate members for the initial year only, and it will make a decision as to whether they will be confirmed as authorized members based on their achievements during that year. Associate members will also receive support from the Foundation, such as financial assistance and the privileges of using the facilities free of charge and participating in events organized by the Foundation. It is possible to be enrolled as an authorized member for a maximum of five years, including the period of being confirmed as an associate member. Any desire to extend this may be confirmed once each year.
The Foundation asked six of the members for their thoughts. Their self-introductions will also be posted on the Foundation’s website (https://masason-foundation.org/scholars/).
・Samaira Mehta, 11 years old
Mehta invented a STEM coding board game, CoderBunnyz, at the age of 7 with the goal of teaching coding to kids and also helps bridge the gender gap in technology. She’s led more than 100 workshops with her board game in Silicon Valley, teaching thousands of kids how to code. Last summer, she invented the world’s first ever AI board game, CoderMindz. Her goal is to help one billion kids gain access to coding tools by the time she goes to college, and she’s very well on her way with her One Billion Kids Can Code initiative.
“With the help of the Masason foundation, I will be able to make a much bigger impact locally, nationally and internationally in the world. Getting one billion kids to coding is a big task and the resources the Foundation may provide could really help speed up the mission. A business, a mission coupled with good for a community is the best way to bring the goods in the space around you. Coding is the future. Together we can build a better world for next generation kids!”, says Ms. Mehta.
・Hiroto Takahashi, 11 years old
Takahashi is the youngest person to ever pass 1st Kyu of Suken. “Currently, I am researching the properties of super twin prime numbers under the guidance of Professor Emeritus Shigeru Iitaka at Gakushuin University. In the future, I would like to carry on my research, particularly in number theory, and study various areas of mathematics. I would like to contribute to advances in mathematics by creating new theorems and so forth,” says Mr. Takahashi.
・Tokitsugu Matsushita, 13 years old
Matsushita developed an interest in element while in kindergarten, became a certified mineral appraiser in the sixth grade. “I am truly grateful to have been selected this time and excited to be on the threshold of a new world. My primary field of research is geology. When I pursue some academic path, I can inevitably see things through that world and thus enjoy a perspective different from others, which can be said to be a privilege of the academic path. Furthermore, I believe that I can gain new insights by exchanging my perspective with those of people in other fields. I am so looking forward to the experience,” says Mr. Matsushita.
・Kanon Nakajima, 18 years old
Nakajima is a recipient of the Chairman’s Award, the most distinguished honor of the “FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)” an international high school robot competition, of the Iowa Regional and has taken part in its FIRST Championship. She is also engaged in activities to provide opportunities to expose more students to robots.
“Many people, especially those who have never been involved in engineering, tend to think the field is too hard even to give it a try. In order to get rid of the prejudice, first, I would like to provide all the students with opportunities to get a taste of engineering by popularizing FRC. My ultimate goal is to build an environment where everyone can always find and accomplish what they actually want, and I am so thrilled to collaborate with members of this foundation and expand my knowledge at college to achieve it,” says Ms. Nakajima.
・Kavya Kopparapu, 19 years old
Kopparapu invented an AI System to characterize and determine effective treatment of brain cancer during her high school years and she is currently studying computer science and biology at Harvard University. She was also chosen as “TIME’s 25 Most Influential Teens of 2018.
“For the past three years, I have been working on medical innovations using artificial intelligence, making diagnosis and treatment of aggressive diseases cheaper, more accessible, and more accurate. I hope to continue this work, and my work with my computer science education nonprofit, GirlsComputingLeague, with the support of the Masason Foundation. I look forward to meaningfully engaging with the other members and potentially collaborating on projects with them,” says Ms. Kopparapu.
・Ryo Kawamoto, 20 years old
Kawamoto is a medical student at the University of Tokyo. While studying to be a doctor, he also serves as the representative of a project to create a food recycling system using a Hermetia illucens, a type of fly. The University of Tokyo President’s Award and the Nippon Foundation Social Innovation Award in 2018 are some of the honors he has received for his achievements.
“I feel extremely honored and grateful to have been selected as an associate member of the Foundation. Since I have devoted myself to studying Hermetia illucens for as long as two years, I am deeply moved by the recognition, however small, given to the significance and value of my research topic. Going forward, I would like to combine my research on Hermetia illucens, my chosen field of study, with various knowledge that other foundation members have to create truly original, interesting technologies that will change society,” says Mr. Kawamoto.
The Foundation was established in December 2016 by SoftBank Group Representative Masayoshi Son to provide an environment that enables youth with high aspirations and exceptional talents to develop their skills, and to contribute to the future of humankind, in the coming age of Singularity. The Foundation provides support to youth with high aspirations and exceptional talents for expanding their potential and for their growth to be people who will create the future through exposure to new values and the latest technologies, and interaction with members.
For more details, please visit the Foundation’s website (https://masason-foundation.org).