Two years ago, I would have never imagined these five strangers–students and community members–innovating a technology to save lives. This team has far exceeded my expectations after winning ASU’s inaugural Hacks for Humanity hackathon for the social good, sponsored by Project Humanities. Their subsequent succeses and challenges have inspired them and all who hear about their project. What’s particularly exciting for me to witness as their mentor is the passion and commitment each member has. Clearly not just an intellectual exercise for them, creating a technology that filters tweets for self-harming words has much promise and potential. The reality is that suicide is something from which no one is completely exempt since all people are connected to someone. If one life is saved, this technology has worked. I continue to watch with such excitement this team’s familial bonding and am continually inspired by their energy and their commitment. People matter! Congratulations to ARKHumanity and may their ride continue to yield such personal rewards.
Dr. Neal A. Lester is a Foundation Professor of English and Founding Director of Project Humanities at Arizona State University. He has been a Professor of English at Arizona State University since 1997, having taught previously at the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) and the University of Montevallo (AL). His areas of specialization are African American literature and cultural studies. Dr. Lester earned his B.A. in English and was Valedictorian at the State University of West Georgia (Carrollton). He took his M.A. and Ph.D. in English at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) and is the first African American to receive the doctorate degree in English at Vanderbilt. – See more at: https://humanities.asu.edu/about-dr-neal-lester#sthash.p8PcQKoO.dpuf