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ABOUT SPOKES 2022

Spokes is an MIT-based, non-profit, student-run initiative as part of an effort to rethink STEM education. 

This summer, Spokes America is sending a team of 6 MIT students on a cross-country bike ride starting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and ending at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Over the course of 80 days, our team will bike over 3,800 miles and host Learning Festivals in small towns. Our team is current planning this year's route but you can take a look at the previous year's route in the meantime.

WHO WE ARE

We are a team of 7 students composed of 1 junior, 4 seniors and 2 graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. We all came to MIT to pursue our passions in math, science, and humanities, but more importantly, we believe in sharing our knowledge with others to inspire future generations. Check out our biographies below to learn more about each one of us!

WHAT WE DO

We create curriculums that complement each school's curriculum inspired by MIT's hands-on approach to education. We teach these workshops to schools, libraries, and summer camps all across the United States. We establish strong connections with communities, students, and host families along the way. We document our experiences. We sweat (a lot). We become a family.

 

Oh yeah...and we bike the whole 3,800 miles. 

WHY BIKE?

We want to show that yes, engineers and scientists can be athletic too. We're breaking stereotypes. We're also stepping out of our comfort zones, physically and mentally. And...how many people can say they've biked across the United States of America?

WE NEED YOUR HELP.

We'd love to do what we do for free, but with a trip this big, we need the support of dedicated individuals like yourself. We're looking to crowdsource $15,000 to make this trip happen, on top of large corporate sponsorships. If you are a cycling advocate or enthusiast, please consider supporting our journey. If you connect with our mission and want to help us reach out to kids across America, please consider supporting us.

 

MEET THE TEAM

FRANKLIN ZHANG

MIT ‘20 and '22 | Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Hi my name is Franklin and I graduated with a B.S. from MIT in 2020 and just graduated again with a M.Eng. in 2022, both in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Before I left MIT, I did research on wave energy converters and helped teach an introductory signal processing class. When I'm not working you can find me playing really long board games (Scythe is really fun) with my friends, baking sourdough bread, or running around outside chasing flat pieces of plastic or leather spheres. I can't wait to bike across the country and teach STEM!

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SOPHIA FANG

MIT ‘22 | Materials Science and Engineering

Hi there! My name is Sophia, and I'm a senior studying Materials Science and Engineering with a minor in Biology. I've lived in Iowa, Wisconsin, Connecticut, California (for one wonderful year), and currently, Amherst, Massachusetts. The coolest classes I've taken at MIT have been quantum physics, biochemistry and Japanese. I love to teach. I'll be a second-time TA for intro to solid-state chemistry this spring! At MIT, I've worked with various solar cell materials at the Organic and Nanostructured Electronics Lab. I've also worked on some small projects for a laser beamline at UC Berkeley. When I'm not working, you can find me running along the Charles River, running, or running. I also enjoy journaling, photography, playing cello in my piano quintet, and eating ice cream. I’m so excited to bike across America with my fellow teammates and get to know kids from all walks of life!

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SIMONE LASSAR

MIT ‘22.5 | Civil and Environmental Engineering 

Hellooo! I’m Simone Lassar, a senior (kind of) at MIT majoring in Environmental Engineering (1-ENV) with a minor in design (4B). I grew up in the famous Newton, MA (namesake of the Fig Newton), which is a ~45 minute bike ride from MIT’s campus. My favorite projects and classes at MIT have been the ones where I can combine design with sustainable engineering projects (a shout out to 1.006: Tools for Sustainable Design)! Currently, I am working on a project looking at how we can reduce sediment clogging in gravel streambeds (because spoiler alert: fish do not like clogged beds). Outside of school, I love making silly little pictures and posting them online (@whereisallmyserotonin), expressing my adoration for the MBTA, and playing cards at any spare moment. I'm so incredibly excited to bike across the country this summer and share STEAM education with this group of people! 

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MAXWELL YUN

MIT '22 | Electrical Engineering

I'm coincidentally named after Maxwell's Equations, a central physics equation. Hoping to live up to my name, I grew up tinkering with electronics in Silicon Valley, and am studying electrical engineering (6-1) at MIT. I'm also deeply interested in mechanical engineering and building silly projects with this knowledge, some of which include a high-speed LED photography rig, an automated room lighting controller, a homemade 23mph electric scooter, and a janky e-bike. When I'm not working my engineering muscles, I enjoy mountain biking, backpacking, and photography. I look forward to meeting and sharing my enthusiasm for engineering/the outdoors with people of all backgrounds!

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KEATEN CLARNO

MIT ‘23 | Philosophy

Hello! :) My name is Keaten, and I am a junior at MIT majoring in Philosophy (24-1) and minoring in Astrophysics! I am from a very small town in Southwest Oregon called Sutherlin (very agricultural and rural). Now that I am at MIT, I’ve finally gotten to pursue some of the biggest questions that have always nagged at my mind: How did the universe begin (thank you 8.286 – the Early Universe)? What even is real or what makes me exist (thank you 24.221 – Metaphysics)? And even… is our reality a simulation… IS THIS ALL FAKE (thank you 24.212 – Philosophy of Perception)? Besides ~thinking too much about abstractions~, I love reading, chilling with my dog and friends, experiencing new things (food, places, methods of living, Ben & Jerry’s flavors), and traveling in my camper van! Since I love experiencing new things so much, I am incredibly excited to bike across the US with my Spokes teammates while sharing our passions with new people!

MARIELA PEREZ-CABARCAS

MIT ‘22 | Computation and Cognition

Howdy :) My name is Mariela and I am a senior studying Computation and Cognition (6-9) and Russian Language at MIT. I have lived in North Carolina, Maryland, Florida, Hawaii, Texas, and now Massachusetts. At MIT, I love learning about brains, building circuits, and programming devices. I especially love taking classes where I can do all three at the same time! When I am not building a (janky) laser harp for my microcontroller project class, I am probably out on the Charles River, rowing under the Harvard Bridge with my team for our 6:30 am practice or running along the esplanade. The rest of my time is usually spent baking chocolate cookies, drawing, biking, watching Netflix, or, most likely of all, napping. I am thrilled to do some of these things with my Spokes teammates as we adventure together and share our knowledge and interests with people all across the country!

ROBERT HENNING

Hi everybody! My name is Rob and I graduated in 2020 studying EECS, Media Studies, and Music. I grew up in San Marcos, CA, a commuter town near San Diego, and had many, many trips to the beach as breaks between my music and electronics projects before college. Some mysterious force compelled me to leave the mild climate and legendary tacos behind for the brisk winters and global fare of Boston, but the learning-rich atmosphere and people have made it tough to leave. In my work and STEM education endeavors, I enjoy unraveling the connections between technology and the arts. In my free time, I enjoy exploring the outdoors, making art with friends, and playing board games. Generally, I’m down for anything that has a mindset of play for personal growth or having fun. As part of Spokes, I look forward to the conversations with new friends and curiosity shared, especially with such a diverse cross-section of America. Hopefully we get the chance to meet during our travels!

MIT ‘20 | Humanities and Engineering

Curious about last year's team? Check out the link below.