Top of the Class

#42 Designing Solar Cells, Writing Best Sellers and Having a Boss Mentality

April 10, 2021 Crimson Education Season 1 Episode 42
Top of the Class
#42 Designing Solar Cells, Writing Best Sellers and Having a Boss Mentality
Chapters
Top of the Class
#42 Designing Solar Cells, Writing Best Sellers and Having a Boss Mentality
Apr 10, 2021 Season 1 Episode 42
Crimson Education

15-year-old STEM researcher and best-selling author, Naila Moloo is working on everything from a design for an improved solar cell, a photon rocket, a start-up, the sequel to her best-selling book and a new series of books for children. We talk how she manages her time, the challenging first publishing experience and having a boss mentality.

Show Notes Transcript

15-year-old STEM researcher and best-selling author, Naila Moloo is working on everything from a design for an improved solar cell, a photon rocket, a start-up, the sequel to her best-selling book and a new series of books for children. We talk how she manages her time, the challenging first publishing experience and having a boss mentality.

Podcast Host  00:00

Hello, and welcome to the top of the class podcast. I'm your host Alex Cork. And today I chat with 15 year old stem researcher and best selling author Naila Moloo. Naila is working on everything from a design for an improved solar cell, a photon rocket, a startup, the sequel to a best selling book, and a new series of books for children. We talk about how she manages her time, the challenging first publishing experience and having a boss mentality. Let's chat with Naila Moloo. Hey Naila, welcome to the top of the class podcast. It's fantastic to have you on the show. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself?


Naila  00:53

Yeah. So Hi, everybody. Thank you so much for having me on your podcast. I'm Naila. I'm 15 years old. And I'm really passionate about the intersection between sustainable energy and nanotech. So I built some projects there like I recently designed a transparent and flexible solar cell leveraging nano materials. Right now I'm designing a solar cell fusion propelled rocket. So that's kind of been something I've been working with. And I also love to write. So I just got my debut novel published when I was 14 years old. And it was a bestseller and magical realism. And now I'm moving on to write a children's book series on emerging tech to kind of combine my passion for writing and stem.


Podcast Host  01:36

Wow, where should we even start with all of that I should start with a rocket because that sounds pretty cool. And talk to me about the the rocket and what made you decide to get into that particular field?


Naila  01:48

Yeah, so I'm really interested in sustainable energy I kind of always have been and something I became really passionate about this year was fusion energy. And I think it's something we hear and we're like, that's really far off. But I've been doing work in it for the entire year. And I truly think it is plausible, but I was looking at coming up with ideas in the field because I wanted to build a project in fusion. And so I was examining the quantum phenomena behind high temperature superconductivity. And I did a lot of work there. But it was more just like research papers. And then I pivoted to states, which is not what you expect. But spacecrafts can actually be propelled by fusion energy, which I didn't know. And I was pretty amazed by that. And so I was looking at these fusion propelled spacecraft, and asking myself, how can I make these better? And so I pulled in another sustainable energy, solar energy, and I looked at solar cells, and I was like, What if I could put solar cells on a fusion rocket that would be like, also propelled by photons, the sun's energy, and then just make it more faster and, you know, safer. So that's kind of something I've been designing right now. And I just wrote a paper on it, and I'm going to give a presentation on it in a few weeks. It's a long process with fusion, but it's definitely super fun and super enjoyable.


Podcast Host  03:07

Wow, that sounds really cool. Are you well researched? Or are you a genius? Or are you both? Because, you know, like, this sounds? You know, a lot of these words, excuse me, I'm not a scientist. They're kind of slightly going over my head. Like, I've heard the one science fiction movies and stuff which recall, I'm sure there's people out there listening who are like, Alex, you're an idiot, you know, these are very easy to follow terms. But for me, it's a little bit like, wow, this is intense. So I'm asking the question, are you seen as like Mensa level kind of switched on super smart student? Or are you super just interested in the science field? And just really love reading about this kind of stuff and learning about this kind of stuff? Or are you a bit of both, perhaps.


Naila  03:54

I mean, it definitely takes like a lot of research. I'm not just like born with this knowledge. But like, yeah, I've been like researching this for the entire year. And I've been trying to go beyond my scope of like, age level. So to understand the things I've been doing, I've been learning like advanced physics. And now I'm starting to learn calculus. So I can actually, like, be more legitimate in the field, but definitely, definitely takes research. I will not say it was like this crazy genius. Yeah, it definitely has, has taken a lot of time. I've been doing this for like, since September, I think, research into fusion,


Podcast Host  04:31

you got a lot of mentors helping you as well.


Naila  04:34

Yeah. Um, so within fusion, I've had like a mentor from Commonwealth fusion, who's kind of helped me like through my journey and like answered my questions. And she's like doing things in fusion like every single day. So it's been really awesome to have her and Commonwealth fusion is like a really big, awesome fusion company. So it might be somewhere like I may want to look out like interning or something in the future. So it's been super cool. And then I've also had a I mentor in nanotechnology and solar energy. So I would say mentors are very, very helpful because you're like, interacting with people who do these things for their entire life. And you'd be surprised by how many people are willing to help students. So yes,


Podcast Host  05:15

yeah, well, that's something that I've seen a few times on the podcast where students have reached out to professors or professionals, and have found that the, you know, most of the time people are more willing to help than they first thought. Talk to me about your journey in kind of expanding your network. So you can access these kinds of people. And you can learn from them, like how did you even start that in terms of opening up the field of vision to these kinds of people out there? How did you identify these people as potential Helpers? And then, you know, how did you go out setting up the relationship?


Naila  05:49

Yeah, so I guess my big tip would be like, set up a LinkedIn. And I never really knew, like, I don't know, I was like, how can I even reach these people, but you can go on LinkedIn, you can, like look up, fusion energy expert, or something like that. And they're just like, a ton of people will come up, and you can just message them and be like, would you be open to a 15 minute Google meet? And obviously not everybody's going to respond, but some people will respond. And then you just set up a Google meet with them. And you ask them some questions. And then some people that like I've really vibed with, and I really look up to, I asked them to be my mentor. And you know, like, some people like they might say, No, and sometimes it's scary to reach out to these experts here is like, oh, there's so much better than me, why would they want to like, talk to like a student like me, but really, people are willing to help. And it's really valuable to have like experts in the field helping you out. And networking is just so great. It could also open up like more opportunities down the line. That is definitely not the point of networking. But like, if you build a relationship and you get mentor, then you could get potential internships or job shadows or things down the line. So definitely building your network is a great idea. And you can start when you're young. And I think before this year, I just thought like, Oh, that's like for, you know, like, when I'm an adult, I'll do that in too young to do that right now. But you really can do it at any age. So start now.


Podcast Host  07:11

Yeah, you dominate LinkedIn. I mean, you post a lot of content, you put a lot of great articles on there. And like, that's one of the reasons why we got in touch. But yeah, I think it's interesting that you went from like the 15 minute Google mate to then having a mentor, do you just kind of straight out ask them, Hey, I'm looking for a mentor, and I think you're a good fit. Is that is that kind of like what you're doing on the call? Or how does that even happen?


Naila  07:35

Oh, I'll ask them and be like, I'm kind of looking for a mentor right now. Do you know anybody who would be willing to mentor me, they'll be like, Oh, I can mentor you. Or if they're not open to mentoring you. They'd be like, Oh, my gosh, I know, this really great person who would be willing to maybe mentor you, I can give you their contact information, then you're building out your network. So I see benefits either way. And honestly, like, the worst case scenario is that they're just like, no, like, you don't use anything. It might, it may not feel good. And that's why people might be scared to ask in the first place. But the benefits really outweigh the the downside. So I would just say go for it may be scary at first, that boss mentality. Yeah,


Podcast Host  08:14

yeah. Yeah. Well, I love the tactic of just kind of subtly asking, Hey, do you know anybody who would potentially be able to mentor Australia at ask could come across a little orcs. But, you know, the kind of sidewise that I think that was very clever. In terms of your learning journey. Right now? How far along? Do you feel like you are in these fields? Because some people would say, you know, mentally, they'll say, Well, how far could a 15 year old be in these kinds of fields? You've got these mentors who've been doing it most of their life? You've been doing it since September? How far do you think you are towards where they are in their journey?


Naila  08:51

Yeah, I mean, I'm definitely learning a lot. But there's still a lot more to learn. So I think kind of the key is, like, definitely, I realized fusion energy. So you would think of it as kind of a narrow sector, right? But then when you go into your like, there's so many different parts of this. So focus on a niche part of something and then learn as much as you can in it. But don't only do it in one field, because what have you learned something and then something else comes out and you're like, Oh, I never even needed needed to know that there's something that just solves that issue. I think it's all about building your T. So that's why like, I'm trying to do projects in many different fields. And then that also allows you to intersect these different things. So you can be not far long down as somebody who obviously is an expert in the field, I'm nowhere near as knowledgeable in fusion as my mentors. But if I have like, I'm like, some knowledge in fusion, I build products there and nanotechnology and like AI or something, and then you like intersect them, then you can come up with really neat ideas. So like, definitely don't let the fact that you're young prohibit you. They're done. Definitely is a lot to learn. I feel like when you learn about something, you realize there's so much you don't know. And that's a good thing. You know, like, it's good, there's, it's fun, you should be enjoying it. So I think that would kind of be my advice there. Just like building out your tea in different topics and not worrying about the fact that you may not be as progress, because that definitely comes with time.


Podcast Host  10:23

Yeah, now, I love the term building your team. And that's a, I guess, a college admissions term that I usually hear being at crimson. And you know, the understanding that a T shaped student is something that you know, some students should aspire to, I would love for you to kind of give an explanation in the context of your interests as to how you are building your T so our listeners can understand what exactly is that because it feels like for you, that kind of mental image of building out your T seems to give your learning a little bit more structure. And it's not necessarily haphazard running around trying to read as many things as you possibly can. But it's like, Okay, I'm building this out. This is what my table ended up looking like. So if you can explain what that T looks like for you, and for the benefit of our listeners,


Naila  11:09

yeah. So I don't think like building your ci is just about like, Oh, I read an article on carbon capture. I read an article on this, I watched a video on this, I have some surface level knowledge in these things. I think it's about like building deep knowledge in many different fields. So for me, like I gone deep into fusion, I've gone deep into nanotech, and I've gone deep into solar energy. And also I've done some stuff in writing. And then like, also like playing sports and things like that. So just being balanced. And I still have a lot more to do. But I think it's about building projects in many different fields, because you can have surface level knowledge, but where you really grow is by going deep into different fields. And by building your tea, just like the most innovative solutions of the future are where you intersect crazy things that no one's thought of, because you can have an expert in a specific field, but then someone comes in and they have expertise in this field, but also to others. And then they're intersecting them to create something just like absolutely groundbreaking. So I think that's what like building your ci is about, like finding a balance doing many different things, and building projects in many different things.


Podcast Host  12:19

Yeah, so the T shapes, but your pointy part of the t would be like sorry, if you visualize for the listeners benefit, this is how I'm thinking of it. Now please correct me if I'm wrong, because I often am a kind of an upside down T, you've got that T shaped with a big spike in the middle, right. And for you that's kind of nanotech sustainable energy, possibly some offering as well as like, it's a fat pointy part of the day for you, I guess you got a lot of strengths, right. But then outside of that you've got some other you know, strengths as well, or you've got some other things that you're interested in. But I really liked that idea of like, putting in the work to create a project in that space. Because it's hard to go deep when you've just said, Oh, you know, I've read an article and watched a video. I feel like I know, you know, enough, right? You're like, that's a part of my team now. No, no, you got to put in the work you got to put in that project. Which brings me to, I guess one of your first projects, which sounds like it was the solar cell side of things. Can you take me through? Like, how do you go about building that? Like, is it something that you go to your school science teacher and say, Hey, can I borrow the lab for a bit? Like, how does that even come about?


Naila  13:27

Yeah, so like going into this year, I kind of had this goal of building a better solar panel, I was like, I have no idea how I'm gonna do that. But I want to build a better solar panel. So Oh, by the way. So it started with a lot of research, definitely. And so I was like researching, and then also networking. And I had this amazing mentor in solar energy, who really helped me out there. And then from there, I was just like asking questions, and I wrote, like my first scientific paper on quantum dots, which is a really handy nano material used in solar cells. And then I was like, okay, so I wrote papers, I wrote a lot of articles, I watched a lot of videos. And I was like, Okay, I want to come up with an idea. I want to actually build a project so that I can become more knowledgeable in this field. And so I'm going to build a better solar panel. And I wanted to be transparent, and I wanted it to be flexible. So it took a lot of research and a lot of networking. And a lot of time, like I think, Well, I think I did it over like a timespan of two months. But like at every point I was talking to people about and I was like, does this part Make sense? Does this part makes sense? And if I hadn't network with these people throughout that then I would have just gone with like, my like instincts and stuff like that, which aren't like particularly going to work. So I think that was a really helpful part for me. And then I wrote a paper on it. And I actually designed a 3d model of it as well, because I haven't actually built it out yet. It's more just a design right now. But I'm trying to like submit it to competitions Do you have funding and things like that and I'm maybe building it out on a summer internship at cutie solar, but we will see. So hopefully I will get to actually build it. But right now it's just a design that mainly came from exposure, then research, then networking, and then like writing my own articles, and then building projects,


Podcast Host  15:15

that's really cool that you have this goal of building a better solar cell. And I would have thought that for a student your age, you would have probably thought that well, you know, this is a cool idea. But surely there's other people working on it as well. So what then makes you feel like you are able to enter that conversation and be part of that solution, as, you know, 1415 year old because I think a lot of people would say, there should be a better solar cell out there. I hope someone's working on it, and then just leave it to other people to solve, right? Whereas you were like, there's got to be something better out there. And then Okay, I'm going to start learning. So for you, what's that kind of mental jump, like to actually start thinking of yourself as being part of the solution?


Naila  15:59

Yeah, I've always wanted to make like impact in sustainable energy. And I've wanted to make a real difference in the field. And there are people who are going to notice things and not do anything about them. But I think we need people who are going to notice things and then do something about it. And maybe that comes from a fear of failure, where they're like, I don't I don't know how I'm going to do that. Like, why would I even try. And at first I was like, I don't know how I'm going to do that. But if you're actually passionate about it, then go deeper and realize that you are capable of you have a project that you want to build, even if it might fail, go for it, because you'll probably learn a ton in the in the process. And even if it doesn't end up working out, like that's completely okay, at least you tried and you probably gained a ton. So I think like, people are afraid of failure. And that's where a lot of people's downfalls are. But Don't make excuses. Don't let those things prohibit you just go for it and embrace that boss mentality. And they have said this already, but like boss mentality is really important and knowing that you are capable of doing something like this, but you do have to be able to put in the time. And if it's not something that interests you, then don't put in the time for it. But if it is something that you really want to make happen, like make it happen, or try to at least


Podcast Host  17:14

Yeah, well expand for us bust mentality a little bit, because it sounds like it's a pretty crucial part of your mental strength to get through some of these barriers and challenges. So yeah, what's what's boss mentality made to you? And how is there any like particular moment where it's like, No boss mentality kicks in and like you push forward and go on to the next challenge?


Naila  17:34

Yeah, I think you need boss mentality to be able to do really great things, because you might be like in this conference room, or about to build a project, but then there's that thing in your mind that's like, Oh, you might fail at this, oh, what if somebody judges you, and it's just getting past that, and being like, I don't, I don't really care. Like, I'm gonna own it. It's all about just like owning it. And you're just like, I have something like not being afraid to speak up. Don't be afraid to use your voice, you have a voice. So you that you can do incredible things. But first, you need to like accept yourself and accept that you do have, you do have this potential. But you need to get past these barriers of fear. Fear is a really prominent thing that like maybe fear of being judged or fear of failure. And that's what stops people from going out and doing things that they love, Boss mentality, you look at, like all these amazing people who are doing amazing, innovative things. And they have boss mentality, because they weren't afraid to speak up and use their voice. And obviously, it's easier said than done, like, put into practice. And you know, like, maybe it's when you're in a classroom and the teacher asks a question, raise your hand, if you have an idea. Even if you're scared to fail, we get a construct with little things. But boss mentality, I think is something that I really had to embrace this year. And, you know, for even for things like network game, you need that boss mentality to be able to reach out and be able to say, okay, they might not say yes, but they might say yes,


Podcast Host  19:03

yeah, yeah. Well, it's like that idea of character acting in a way. And when you take on the mentality of a boss, you're like, what would a boss do in this situation? They would do this, this this business, you know, they, they wouldn't just sit there and be passive, they would go out there and, you know, start networking, they would ask those questions, they'll use their voice. And it's like, using that boss mentality to kind of take on another character kind of outside of what you would usually be comfortable with is like, yeah, bodying the boss,


Naila  19:34

like not going to Sunday meeting like, I'm better than everybody else here. But being like, I know I have things to bring and I'm not worse than anybody here. It's kind of a misconception, like boss mentality isn't being arrogant. It's just being like confident in yourself are very different things. Yes.


Podcast Host  19:50

It's not arrogance, it's confidence. But one of the questions that I have for you at this stage is a you a full time or part time student and I don't mean By like, the literal sense of, you know, how many hours do you go to school a week. But I mean that from the sense of like your approach to your time management in general, because you've got a lot of other things going on. And I think some people say, Well, I'm at school 830, till three or 4pm. Every day, I've got extracurriculars as well, therefore, I am a full time student, and they don't really have much time for anything else outside of that. Whereas, you know, at the moment, we've been chatting about everything else, but school. So it makes me feel like for you, you must think of school is like your part time side hustle, and your full time stuff as like your, you know, sustainable energy and your passions and interests outside of school. But is that how you say it as well?


Naila  20:46

Yeah, for sure. I think before like, in the past years, I've been like putting so many hours into school and like doing these projects, I was out of school, I got a class I'm for, but I would just do it outside of school. And I would study obsessively for a test, you know, just to get like those amazing grades. But what I've realized is like, you can put a little less time, obviously, it's important to study, but when you're studying just for the sake of studying and you know, the material, you're not gaining anything, and you would be gaining so much more if you were building a project and something that interested you. And I realized that this year, and I was like, I have so much time, I'm just not using it to the best of my ability. So I can still do school. And I can still work on projects outside of school, it's just about the balance. And I found that like that works really well. It's just about like balancing your time. And making sure like you have the objectives that you want to hit in a day, like write it down the day before, like the night before. And then just hit them like time block, if that works for you just like make sure that you're not only doing things just for a grade, because that's not always what's going to make you grow the most. What's going to make you grow the most is doing things that put you outside of your comfort zone, and that are kind of like self LED. It's not for grade, it's not for affirmation. It's for your own joy and your own passions.


Podcast Host  22:11

I love that answer. I love that response. And I love that mindset shift that you underwent to realize how much time you had, and how much time you perhaps were spending studying something you already knew. And I think that, you know, goes back to exam anxiety or like that mindset that, you know, students, their job is to study and they should just, even if they know the content, they should just repeat it again, just in case, right? And it's an interesting moment where you're like, actually, no, I know this topic already. I need to move on and then focus my time elsewhere in the passions that I have. Is there any particular test or time or, you know, moment where you're like, I'm really passionate about sustainable energy. And yet here I am, you know, studying for something rather exam, like what am I doing with my time.


Naila  22:57

So I began really exposing myself to these emerging technologies is here. And so I was like looking at fusion energy. And I was looking at nanotech. And I was reading about all these things. And I was like, I can be doing so much with this, I can be writing papers on this and going deep into this stuff. And yet, I'm studying like 30 hours for a task, just repeating material over and over and over again, for something that's not even going to have like a long term effect then, and stuff like that, not to say don't study, but like study, like effectively, because you need to value your time and and make time for for things that that aren't just for school. So I think just at the beginning of the year, when I found out about all these really cool technologies that I hadn't even been looking into, I was like, wow, I need to be looking into these I need to be finding out more about them and about other technologies, I need to kind of rethink how I'm spending my time.


Podcast Host  23:53

Yeah, well, I think it's a great message for students in general, because I think there's, there's so much potential that students have. But you know, as I said, a lot of the time they've they've got they've spent looking at, you know, exams and studying material for school. And after a while I feel the students who add they're pretty confident with that material, move on, do something else. And don't think like, Oh, I'm done for the day, like my, you know, confidence is up, I'm good. I don't have to study anymore. start learning something new, you know, as you found with emerging tech, now, with all these emerging texts, and all these kind of cool areas that you're into, how are you getting introduced to them?


Naila  24:31

So this year, I joined like this program called the knowledge society. And it's basically a student accelerator program. And it really focuses on emerging tech. So that's how I found out about all these cool emerging technologies. And there's like these explore modules like compilations of resources on a specific topic. And so you can just go in, you can learn about so many different things. And so I think for students, you can find something you're really interested about, and you can like find a course on it and There'll be, it's basically a compilation of resources and and you can build projects in it. But it starts with exposure. So expose yourself to these things and take the initiative to learn about them. Don't like you're done studying, I'm gonna watch Netflix for four hours straight. Like you can learn things outside of school, even if they're not being directly taught you take that initiative and and discover your passions, you can start building projects, but expose yourself to a ton of different things for sure. There's so many things available online.


Podcast Host  25:31

Yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, even like, Coursera, Udemy, YouTube. So many. Yeah. And shout out to tks. Of course, the knowledge society, actually, Crimson now has a partnership with tks. But yeah, let's talk about the authorship side of things. Because obviously, that's a big part of your life, and something you're really proud of, as well, what inspired you or encourage you to go into that direction and actually start writing?


Naila  25:55

Yeah, so I've been writing since like, a very young age. And I always really loved writing fantasy, because I love the idea of it just being me and my imagination, I could do whatever I want it like I could create my own worlds, I could create my own creatures, my own, like superpowers for characters. And so I always loved that idea of things. And I started out just writing short stories on paper. And then so I did that. And I was like, submitting that to competitions and things like that. And then in grade three, I wrote my first novel, and that was underwater paradise. So that was about mermaids. And then I kept going, I kept writing. And a key tip that I use was notebooking, I got a lot of inspiration from there. And that's when you carry around like a little notebook with you wherever you go. And anything interesting, you see like somebody's outfit, or like a pretty sky, or really any idea that pops into your head, I read it down, and then I'll write over the summer, and I'll be scrolling or flipping through my notebook. And just so many ideas will begin to flow because everything from the year is just like in there just so many different ideas. So I recommend that definitely for aspiring authors. But anyway, I kept writing. And then in grade six, I was like, Okay, I really want to get published. I want my own published book. And so I wrote a novel called action stars. And I got a professional editor and I went through like the whole deal. I was querying agents. I was querying publishers. And I was like, Okay, this is great. I'm getting published. And what I got instead was about 60. rejections. I just got like, every single person, like I reached out, like, 100 people, and they just, I was like, okay, that's cool. It's not what I was expecting. But okay, a little bit disheartened. But it also motivated me further, and I was like, okay, that's fine. I'm getting, I'm gonna go for it. I'm gonna do it again, I still want to get published. So I went back to the drawing board, I wrote another book. And then I got it professionally edited. And I was sending it to agents and publishing houses. And then I actually did get a contract offer. So that was about I was 13. I wrote it when I was 12. I got the contract when I was 13. And then it was released when I was 14. So it took two years, um, all in all to get it out there. But it was definitely worth it. It was such a fun journey. And I've always, I've always loved writing because I think you can interweave real world problems into what you do. And I read a lot. So I see how life changing some books can be. And I really want to have that effect on my reader.


Podcast Host  28:26

Oh, that's amazing. And what's the book called that ended up getting published?


Naila  28:29

It's called chronicles of illusions, the blue wild?


Podcast Host  28:32

And is it based on your life?


Naila  28:34

It's a fantasy book. So it definitely there's a lot of magic magical elements incorporated into it. But yeah, I think more specifically, a magical realism genre.


Podcast Host  28:45

Right. That's fantastic. And it ended up doing pretty well as well. I understand from sales subjective.


Naila  28:50

Yeah, I haven't gotten this specific skill sales yet, because it was just released on February 25. So I got like the actual stats every six months. But it did place first on the bestseller list and magical realism on Amazon, which was exciting. But I haven't actually gotten stats yet. Congratulations. I


Podcast Host  29:07

know. I know. It's like such an amazing moment to hold that book in your hand for the very first time as a published author. Have you got plans to write again?


Naila  29:16

Yeah, so I wrote the sequel recently. I'm in the editing process with it. So I think editing will be done by the end of June, I think takes a long time. But after that, my goal is to get a contract offer by the end of this year. And then it'll probably take like I took a year to be released from the time I got the contract. So hopefully, I'll get the contract by the end of this year, and then it might take a year to come out. But also I'm writing a children's book series on emerging technology right now. So that's another project I'm pursuing right now, which is this has been a really fun it's a little bit difficult to dumb down these like difficult topics, but I think it's important for younger people to know about because Cuz it's really going to be impacting their lives. And it seems like AI and blockchain and fusion energy and nanotech that even some people my age don't know about. And some people who are older don't know about. So I think it'll be valuable. And


Podcast Host  30:14

some people, some people my age don't know that either.


Naila  30:17

Yeah, so I think it's important for people to know about because it's gonna have such a great impact on the future. So the demographic there is kind of five to seven year olds. So it's definitely not what I'm used to in writing, because it's mostly been novels. And now I'm doing like, shorter stories, but it's really fun. So yeah,


Podcast Host  30:34

yeah, no, that that's really, really cool. Well, I'm interested in how long these books are the fantasy books, and what is your process or tips for aspiring authors, I love notebooking as a tip, but like, I would have thought that, you know, if you're writing a book that is, say, 150 200 pages, that firstly is a daunting task, like when you're a student, you like 1000 word, essay, oh, my God, like, you're out there writing like a, you know, 150 200 page book potentially. And then there's that also, I guess, that temptation to keep, even though it's like a finished product to keep going back to it, and mainly, just just a little improvement here, just a little improvement there. And it's like, never good enough to send off to publishers. So there must be a time and you know, when you as an author, we're like, actually, no, it's done. I now I have to give it over to the editor and let them deal with it.


Naila  31:24

Yeah. So in terms of how long it is, it's so it's around 80,000 words. So it's around 300 pages. And I think the process that it kind of looks like So first, you come up with the idea, right? And that can be sparked from notebooking. And then you have to actually write the manuscript. And that that takes a while. But I think scheduling time into your life for writing is really integral because people will say, Oh, yeah, I'll write a book, but then they don't actually book out time in their lives for it. And you should do it consistently. Like, you don't need to say, I want to get this done in like, two months, let's go get it done somehow, like actually, just, if you want to write for an hour consistently every day, then don't do it at like 12, like midnight, like do it maybe wake up early in the morning, you when your brain is still fresh, and you actually want to write, so that's one of my tips. And then professional editors, mine really helped me, especially since I don't really know like what I was doing in terms of getting published. So to help with that, for sure. And once you get an editor, you'll kind of go back and forth for maybe like five months with edits and things like that and making it better. And from there, you'll kind of just know, you'll feel that it's ready, it's gone through editing, you've worked a long time with it, I feel like you'll just know, and then you have to query publishing houses, and you have to query agents around like 100, you have to wait a few months for them to get back to you. And that's writing broken down in a very simple way. It's not as simple as that. But I think my main tip with writing that I give writers is having perseverance, because when I saw all those rejections, definitely it was a little bit disheartening, but I kept going. And if I didn't, then I never would have gotten a book published. So every aspect of writing can be difficult. Just try to enjoy the right like, enjoy the process. Because writing the book, you know, that can get frustrating. You're like, what do I want to happen next, I don't know what to do, I'm going to give up. But you need to have perseverance and keep going. And in editing, you might be like, Oh, I this is like taking so long. My editor gave me this change that it takes so long to put in. I don't want to do this anymore, then you stop writing, but keep going. There's like the publishing phase too. So it's just enjoying every part of it. Because it is supposed to be fun. And it is supposed to bring you joy. It's not supposed to be like a stressful experience. And us as humans, like when there's resistance, we just want to stop. But when there's resistance, that's when things get interesting. Just to keep going at it. You totally got this.


Podcast Host  33:51

Oh, I love that mindset when things get tough. That's when things get interesting. Sorry, you're right. You got to keep pushing, keep pushing through, you know, they say you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So who are they for you?


Naila  34:05

Yeah, so I think a lot of my TKS friends are working on similar projects. I'm like, not within, like fusion energy, maybe, but like in AI and these kinds of emerging technologies. And they're building a lot of products there. And they're all very supportive. They're all super awesome, and, like crazy smart. So it's great to be surrounded by those kind of people. I mean, obviously my school friends are great as well. And then my family is super supportive as well, which I'm really lucky for. My sister is like my best friend. She's amazing. She's in grade 11 right now. So she's two years older than me, but she is so intelligent. She's so nice and humble. And I really look up to her. So she definitely helped to really shape the person that I am. She's just amazing. So I'm very lucky to have her.


Podcast Host  34:53

That's super sweet. Yeah, like it's great to have people around you who are doing similar things right? Because it doesn't Feel like yeah, then that you are kind of taking on these things and potentially sacrificing better grades at school for your sustainable energy project. Does that mean like if you see other people doing it like Well, okay, this is like the damn thing and we're all doing stuff and we're all potentially making an impact which is which is really, really cool. So what's next for you? Obviously like the the next book, the sequels coming out, you're, you're doing these cool projects and rocketry and solar cells and everything. What could possibly be next for you? Are you always trying to level up a little bit more? So are you going to be like, going for, you know, cool internships, you said you probably going to be doing the internship at the solar cell company as well. There's a lot of things going on. I'll leave it to you to explain as to what the next kind of six to 12 months looks like for you.


Naila  35:45

Yeah, so definitely the children's book series, I'm going to be hassling for sure. And the sequel, and then this photon fusion propelled to rocket design I'll be working on. And right now I'm actually also doing a project with the United Nations where I'm building an all girls after school boarding school program in Kenya, Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya. And I did that with a group of four other students in TKS. So we're working on building that out with the United Nations. So hopefully, we'll we'll get some more progress there. And I'm also working with three other people right now, one of them being my sister, to create a startup in emerging tech, I guess, we're not entirely sure what exactly we're doing. But right now, we are thinking of maybe making a bra that can detect if you have breast cancer. And so that's not definite. But it would use like kaizo, electric nano crystals and be like hooked up to an app as well. So you could see kind of the symptoms, because that's a really big problem, you'll only go like when you see symptoms, and a lot of the time that's too late, or if you have other family who's gotten it. And so it is pretty common in women. So I think that would be super cool. If that if that could exist. So that's something I'll definitely be working on as well. And I'm just going to be keeping building projects in these emerging technologies. So I may, I may build a few more projects with solar energy and fusion energy, or I may pivot to something else. I think I might do some more work in artificial intelligence. And I'm learning how to code right now. So I'm gonna keep going with some coding products as well. But yes, I think those are the main kind of things that I'm looking at right now. And then over the summer internship, I cutie solar is not definite, but hopefully I'll get to do something there. But I definitely do want to do some kind of internship to to grow my skills over the summer. So we'll see where that takes me. But but yeah...


Podcast Host  37:39

yeah, wow, what a what a busy and exciting next six months. definitely exciting. And in terms of university, have you put much thought towards that at this stage? I mean, you're from Canada, you're looking at local Canadian universities or elsewhere, abroad, perhaps US, UK etc.


Naila  37:57

Yeah, so right now, my dream school would be MIT. I just think they have so many great programs within like stem. They're really known for that. So MIT is kind of where I'm looking at going right now. But obviously, I still have some years left. So I'm not sure, exactly. But that's kind of what I'm aiming for right now.


Podcast Host  38:21

Yeah, well, we did have MIT student body president on the on the top of the class A couple of weeks ago. So Danielle, and we spoke about life at MIT and her position as the student body president. So that's probably worth elicit as well. And she talks a bit about her backstory and how she got into MIT as well. Because it is pretty competitive, as we have seen in the latest admissions around like, a lot of these top universities accepting very few students. But I think if they were going to accept anyone, you are definitely on that trajectory to students who are wanting to follow and connect with you. The best way to do that would be LinkedIn. Is that correct?


Naila  38:58

Yeah, for sure. If anyone like listening has any questions, I would just love to connect with anybody. So yeah, for sure, definitely reach out on LinkedIn.


Podcast Host  39:05

Great, well, I'll put that in the show notes so people can reach out to you. And obviously like if no students want to follow along with your stories and with your, your articles, as well, as I said, You're prolific on the platform. And I don't know how you find time to write books and all these articles, but you do, which is awesome. So yeah, you're definitely putting out some really great work there and help students understand these emerging tech through your experiences. But now, it's been awesome having you on the show. It's been an absolute delight to chat and to learn all about your experiences in emerging tech as well as your work in writing. And I'm sure students will appreciate all the amazing tips you've given from storyboarding to time blocking to, you know, networking, mentoring, everything. So thank you so much for joining us the top of the class. Yeah, I look forward to sharing the episode far and wide.