A think space for student scientists | StudentRND offers workshop for science, tech and engineering

When Jack Kim learned Google made $9 billion last year, he began to wonder what would happen if some of that money went to nonprofits. That's when he discovered StudentRND, a creative think space and workshop for science, tech and engineering students in Bellevue.

Adam Ryman

When Jack Kim learned Google made $9 billion last year, he began to wonder what would happen if some of that money went to nonprofits.

So the King’s High School student found a way. Benelab.org has raised a couple grand and led him to an even more ambitious idea – Firedove.

The tool allows people to raise money while shopping online. But before it could become a reality he needed a place to collaborate.

That’s when he discovered StudentRND, a creative think space and workshop for science, tech and engineering students in Bellevue.

He sacrificed his summer plans, including a trip home to Korea, to finish the program in the organization’s Incubator program.

“It sounds too good to be true, but we’re hoping that it is true,” he said.

Students like Kim, who aren’t content waiting to learn science and math from text books, are the reason why Edward Jiang, now 21, founded the organization.

It’s like a public library for tech-literate students.

When Jiang was a student at Interlake High, he circled through robotics, math and business clubs. They had community, but he grew frustrated that students never stretched their creativity outside of competitions. They were about building resumes.

“I thought, you could do more amazing things now,” he said, his red stretched sneakers popped up on a folding table in RND’s 2,500-square foot office space.

The unrefined rooms, scattered with cheap folding chairs, used sofas and cartoon posters, form a youthful den off Bel-Red Road. Start at the vending machine loaded with Top Ramen, pass through a computer lab and find a woodwork shop.

Upstairs, pass by a homemade replica of Microsoft’s touch table and find a laser cutter, which is roughly the size of a small car and probably heavier.

They sold handmade plasma speakers, which use a bolt of electricity to play full lyrical songs, to buy the cutter. Normally the machine costs around $25,000, but RND ordered it’s from China for $5,000.

It was a steal, even considering the manual is written in “Engrish,” said Adam Ryman, RND’s second in command.

While the workshop’s sense of inspiration is infectious, Jiang’s first challenge with founding RND was convincing students that they were capable of “amazing things.”

In school, learning is about passing and failing tests. In life, it’s a process of discovery, he said.

The summer after his senior year, he convinced a dozen students to spend the summer hanging out in his mother’s Sammamish basement tinkering with projects.

It was inspirational, but RND needed money for tools and parts. The teens entered a $25,000 Chase nonprofit Facebook competition, which they easily won. Ironically when the check arrived, they were still too young to open an account with the bank. Now a junior at the University of Washington, Jiang is still the oldest team member.

A confident businessman of sorts, he has since netted a list of recognizable sponsors from Medtronic to Blackberry. With the support, he grew StudentRND from a summer program to a year-round operation.

RND’s signature event is Code Day, where upward of 100 students are challenged to complete programs and apps within a 24-hour period.

“It’s an incredibly powerful event,” he said. “It changes student mindsets.”

The products were so complete, Jiang decided to see what would happen if students were given two months. The Incubator program was born this summer, resulting in seven complex projects, including Firedove. He hopes next summer to give each team $5,000 grants. He’s also planning to establish Code Days in 10 major cities next year and expand RND’s current space.

To cover their biennium expenses, RND has set out to raise $1.5 million in the next three months.

“People thought we were crazy before,” Ryman said, assured this too is possible.

Nothing has stopped Jiang so far.

“This is an opportunity to build something amazing.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Business

File Photo
LA Fitness to reopen all locations Aug. 10

Gyms will follow state guidelines

BMW X3 xDrive 30e. Courtesy photo
BMW X3 xDrive 30e | Car review

With forces like BMW pushing, it’s only a matter of time before… Continue reading

2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT. Courtesy photo
2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT | Car review

OK folks, buckle your seatbelts. This week’s tester is the 2020 Dodge… Continue reading

A new measure from the King County Council could increase flexibility for businesses in rural areas of King County. File photo
County measure would increase flexibility for businesses in rural areas

Staff report Legislation the King County Council passed June 23 could lead… Continue reading

Snoqualmie Casino is located at 37500 SE North Bend Way, Snoqualmie. Courtesy photo
Snoqualmie Casino reopens June 11 with social distancing, other safety measures

Staff report Snoqualmie Casino will reopen to the general public at 6… Continue reading

Like similar businesses across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, Bothell restaurant Hana Sushi closed due to public-health concerns. Sound Publishing file photo
Inslee changes course, says diners won’t have to sign in

Restaurants may still ask customers for information that contact tracers could use to stop an outbreak.

Construction worker installs siding to a building in Snoqualmie. File photo
Inslee gives construction a green light

It was unclear when sites would re-open, but employees will have to have PPE and stay six feet apart.

Report shows severity of COVID-19 impacts on hotels nationwide

70% of employees laid off or furloughed, eight in 10 hotel rooms empty

State processes record number of applications for unemployment benefits

Employment Security Department had challenges with the volume