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String Theory Schools offers free space for startups

In exchange, students get to intern.
Student Justin Baldwin works with Brian Gitlin of PHL Collective at Particle. | Provided
Student Justin Baldwin works with Brian Gitlin of PHL Collective at Particle. Provided

In today’s ever-changing world, how kids learn is getting a makeover thanks to institutions like String Theory Schools. Rather than passively sitting in class, reading books and listening to lectures, the organization is innovating education through making learning more hands-on. The launch of their newest program, Particle, teams up String Theory students with local companies for internships in exchange for work space.

“This is a new concept in education where a high school functions as a design shop for start-ups as they need help with things such as  logos, branding, packaging & prototyping, web & app design, photography and video. Plus, there’s a social media army of students to support their brands,” says String Theory Schools’ Cofounder and Chief Innovation Officer Jason Corosanite. “It’s an answer for what urban education can look like in growing a modern workforce — especially as Philadelphia competes for talent and jobs including its bid to host Amazon’s second headquarters.”

Through an application process, companies are considered for the program depending on their value to the community and market need. In addition to receiving work space and student talent, selected companies also get access to school facilities that include: a biotechnology lab, motion capture studio, engineering & robotics lab, a 200-seat theater, TV and broadcast production facilities, a YouTube kitchen studio and more.

Companies currently participating in Particle include: Minkee Blue, Coded by Kids/Coded by U, Stimulus, food stylist Lisa Jane Russel and PHL Collective.

Handbag designer Sherill Mosee, runs Minkee Blue and loves Particle.

“It’s been wonderful working with the students,” she says. The level of talent they have is phenomenal and refreshing. When I reviewed their work, I was amazed at how few edits I needed to do.”

So what’s a typical day like for students involved with Particle?

18-year-old Raven Burckhalter is a senior at String Theory Schools, majoring in Violin and Musical Theater and participates in the Particle food lab/test kitchen, where students are launching their own monetized YouTube channel.

“I’m a double major in violin and musical theater,” she says. “My typical day starts off with Environmental Science, then I have instrumental for my major then I come up here and cook and bake, and then I have lunch. After that,  I go to my musical theater elective, Consumers Math and at the end of the day I have rehearsals for ‘Hairspray’ until 6 p.m.”

On this particular day, students were working on a white miso gelato and miniature pumpkin pies that could easily compete with the city’s top restaurants.

“I’ve never been to a school like this. Everyone who goes here really loves coming to school. It’s changed my perspective on learning. It’s really fun,” Burckhalter adds.

And making learning fun certainly has its benefits. This year alone, 87 students from String Theory Schools have received close to $12 million in scholarships.

For more information on Particle and String Theory Schools, visit: stringtheoryschools.org