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Izzat Jarudi: Empowering High Schoolers, Guidance Counselors, and School Leaders

Izzat Jarudi: Empowering High Schoolers, Guidance Counselors, and School Leaders

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and an online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Izzat Jarudi, the co-founder and CEO of Edifii. Let’s learn about what’s happening at Edifii and how Izzat is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Hi Izzat, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through Edifii?

Izzat: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Three out of four high schoolers say they are bored or lost in school. Part of the reason for these shocking statistics is that school counselors, whose job it is to guide students towards their future careers after graduation, are responsible for over 400 students at a time! That's more than twice the Dunbar number of 150, or how many people scientists say we can get to know at any one time. This is where Edifii comes in—we offer a personalized, digital school counselor that empowers high school students, counselors, and school leaders. We thus help students discover their potential and provide granular action plans for them to reach big goals in the future.

Spiffy: I love that! What motivates you to do it?

Izzat: I was also once lost in school! As a freshman at MIT, I was overwhelmed by my courses in college and felt like I didn't belong. But then I met a caring mentor, a young professor of neuroscience, who got me interested in the brain, which is fascinating and mysterious. I went on to not only get my college degree in neuroscience, but later a PhD. That's the power of getting to know someone like a school counselor or maybe a teacher or coach to help you find your path. You can think of Edifii like a GPS that points high schoolers to opportunities in and out of the classroom that develop their potential and connects them with others around them who care about their success.

Spiffy: Very cool! What would you say is the impact of your work?

Izzat: To a high school student, Edifii is an always available and well-informed counselor who stands ready to help with step-by-step guidance towards career and college goals. Edifii also provides valuable information to counselors to make even short interactions with students as effective as possible. As a result, we believe that Edifii can show young people the importance of education for their future success and can have a transformative impact on the 17 million high school students in the US.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Izzat—it’s been an honor!

Co-founder and CEO of Edifii, Dr. Izzat Jarudi has advanced degrees in brain and behavioral science from MIT (BS) and Yale (PhD) and extensive experience in growing high-tech businesses in health and mobility. He is also a long-time volunteer for educational outreach programs directed towards underrepresented minority (URM) public school students in both Boston and Cambridge and was recently selected as a 2024 4.0 Schools Tiny Fellow. (Nominated by Gemma Lenowitz. First published on the Ladderworks website on February 28, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2024 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.