The world of innovation has remained extremely expensive and exclusive, especially for the average person. Innovation remains the quintessential frontier in our economy and our society. The cost of access to innovation and the outcome for the consumer has remained frustratingly marginal in the economics of innovation. Yet, for most of human history, access to innovation has been central to its promise. People have improved their lives by improving their capacity to create things, make things, and produce things. The main reason we are unable to access and make innovation more accessible to all, according to DeVaul, is that most high schools do not offer many computer science courses.
Additionally, less than 10 percent of community colleges have a high school computer science department. In a recent study, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, only 9 percent of students who took a college-level computer science course had computer science majors, after graduation. Think of all the innovation we could create if our high schools had computer science courses which all students could take. Along with his partner, Kevin Cheng, DeVaul created the platform AWOE to motivate and support student science. Richard DeVaul is credited with co-creating Google’s self-driving car, among other high-profile accomplishments.
Yet, he didn’t get here overnight. While he wasn’t always a fan of science and technology, DeVaul now calls them his life’s work. When Richard DeVaul was a kid, he liked math, physics, and logic — that was a great combination. Having spent over 35 years in engineering and STEM education, Richard DeVaul understands the need for increased access to education. An avid inventor, DeVaul’s latest venture, Another World of Experiments (AWOE), is a scholarship competition that allows students to have a voice in science. This is not only for exceptional students but also for those who are looking to switch majors.