What inspired you to start Global Sign:
I joined an EPICs class at Purdue and learned about the lack of opportunities in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. After that, I thought about my experiences as a student and how much I utilized lecture based resources, such as Khan Academy, to supplement my education in school. This made me realize that there was a large gap in open source accessible content for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. I explored translation options on Khan Academy, and learned about translation events.
We held our first ASL – Khan Academy translation event at a coworking studio called Matchbox. At the time, I was only a freshman and was still learning how to successfully implement an idea. My introduction to social entrepreneurship in my sophomore year was key to moving our project forward. My sister, Seba Kaakeh and I, were finalists at the Hult Prize Boston regionals. At this global competition, we were exposed to the principles behind building a successful social enterprise. Since then, our team has been pitching and developing Global Sign as a social business.
You were chosen to be on ProMazo’s list of Most Interesting Students for a reason. Do you have any advice for other students hoping to create their own success:
Follow your passion and carve your own path. Often times, we find ourselves trying to compete with those around us, but what we don't realize is that by listening to our inner voice we become naturally more successful and competitive.
"Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee." - Muhammad Ali.
Biggest role models or inspirations:
I've always been in love with Muhammad Ali. His energy, confidence, spirit, determination, and love for the world are qualities I hope to emulate throughout my life.
Although I was born in America, my first language was Arabic.
I am currently studying mechanical engineering and am passionate about product design.