Extracurricular Activities

As part of our “whole student, whole success” strategy, MyEdMaster offers students exciting extra-curricular activities.  These activities are designed to help students develop new skills and experiences they normally would not have and build their resumes as they apply to colleges and elite high schools. We’ve learned that students need to stand out in life in order to get ahead, and our programs are designed to help students do just that.

AI-based educational software:

AI-based educational software is a student-created technology company that creates educational software that uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, and voice technologies to enhance the learning process.  We are currently working on Algebra I and reading software.  Our immediate goal is to build a commercial software project for Algebra I. This is an accomplishment that most high school and middle schoolers do not achieve and we’ve seen many of our participating students get into Ivy League and other top colleges as well as Thomas Jefferson and Academies of Loudoun.  Academy of Engineering and Technology even told one of our students “We selected you because of your involvement with AI-based educational software.”  Students with interests in computer programming, developing math curriculum, creative writing, or business are welcome to participate.  We have an excellent team led by Dr. Leddo, who has worked in the field of AI and education for 30 years and Yihong Sun, an MBA.  They are complemented by the head of a small software development company (that is helping us develop the product), a professional product manager and two masters degree graduates of the computer science department of George Washington University and one from George Mason University.  Any parents who want to help mentor kids are welcome to participate as well.

To date, we have three outstanding success stories.  We have compared the effectiveness of our software against Khan Academy’s (the leading online educational software with over 10 million users) and Pearson Education’s (the world’s largest textbook publisher). Even though we had our students competing against leading companies, staffed with full-time professionals, our software won decisively both times.  Students using our software performed 80% higher than those using Khan Academy’s and 300% higher than those using Pearson’s.  Our results were published in several scientific journals and presented at an educational technology conference.  After beating Khan Academy, the students at AI-based educational software were hired by a local company to build an AI-based training system for cybersecurity for which they were paid. Many students received recognition for their success through these publications and commercial success, and, as I mentioned above, got rewarded by admissions to top colleges and elite high schools.

The technology company project meets 12-2 on Sundays at our Herndon center.  Tuition is the standard $34 per hour for tutoring.  Because the project meets during lunchtime, we bring in free lunch for the kids.

Scientific Research and Publishing in Scientific Journals

Many of our students are interested in STEM careers.  The heart of STEM is research and sharing that research so others can build on the work.   While students in school learn the science we already know, professional scientists make new discoveries and share their findings by publishing in professional journals.  Our scientific research program teaches students how to do original research, then they conduct experiments and publish their findings in scientific journals. MyEdMaster created this program because most high school kids applying to college do not publish scientific papers and those who do typically get into top colleges, and we’ve seen no middle school student outside our centers publish scientific papers, so this creates an opportunity for our middle schoolers to stand out.  To date, we have had over 100 students successfully conduct research and publish their work in scientific journals.  Their papers have been read by some 30,000 scientists from around the world.  These kids are making a difference.  Many have published more than one paper, and we’ve seen as many as five publications from a single student by the time he applied to college.

The scientific research program is conducted like a mentorship program the way that university graduate schools do.  Dr. John Leddo, who has published more than 60 scientific papers himself, personally mentors each student throughout the entire process.  Together, the students have had some exciting success stories.  In addition to the projects described above where students created educational software that beat two industry leaders, other significant publications include:

- Showing that a Nobel prize winning theory of economics is wrong and what the correct theory should be
- Showing that playing videogames cooperatively with others boosts teamwork skills while playing them competitively hurts teamwork skills
- Helping clarify a debate in the scientific literature as to what type of homework is most effective for what type of student
- Helping clarify a debate in the scientific literature as to what type of homework is most effective for what type of student
- Showing the proper role of teachers when students try to teach themselves new subjects
- Three projects, each resulting in publications, showing how to boost reading and writing scores on the SAT
- A simple method for boosting math performance in elementary school kids
- How best to teach Java programming to middle school students

Our scientific research program is taught on a tutoring basis throughout the school year at both Herndon and Ashburn centers.  Tuition is $34 per hour.  During the summer, we have a special workshop at the end of the school year to teach students how to do the research.  Then, most students do their research during our summer day program.

Medical Machine Learning Course Leading to a Scientific Publication

From Saturday, 6/4/2022 to Saturday, 8/13/2022, MyEdMaster will conduct a course in medical machine learning for middle and high school students.

In our previous courses, we worked on an app to customize health and longevity recommendations to people and on software that reads research papers on the best responses to Covid. Over the summer, we will expand each technology. The high school class will work on the app. We will add the ability to update the baseline knowledge as new discoveries are made, create a simulator that projects health benefits of different types of interventions people can take, and updates people’s wellness programs based on the progress they’ve made. We hope to be close to commercialization by the end of the summer, which would look good on student applications.  There will also be a professional scientific publication with students listed as authors for this as we’ve had for other sessions of this course.

The middle school class will continue the work on the software that reads research papers to find best practices for treating diseases.  We will add a capability to incorporate individual expert (doctor) judgment into the recommendation process.  Normally, machine learning applications learn from processing thousands of statistical data points.  We will extend this capability by adding human expert judgment to form an overall recommendation that combines both. This class will also result in a scientific publication with participating students’ name on it.

For both middle and high school participants, there is no prior programming experience required and new students are welcome to join. This is a rare opportunity for middle and high schoolers not only to engage in a STEM project, but also to conduct research to advance a STEM field. All participating students will have their names on the resulting publications. This accomplishment will allow middle schoolers to stand out on Thomas Jefferson and Academies of Loudoun applications and will allow all students to have a distinguished accomplishment to put on college applications.

This will be a 11-week course that meets virtually through Google Meet each Saturday.   The middle school class will meet from 9 am to 11am and the high school class will meet from 12noon – 2pm. Tuition is $400 for the 11-week program. The course will be taught by Dr. Taruna Agarwal for the medical side and Nihal Boina for the machine learning side.  We will have special guest talent for these projects.  We will have a data scientist from Yale University’s Public Health school (formerly part of the medical school), who also represents a valuable mentoring resource for students interested in data science.  We will have a machine learning specialist from Virginia Tech and we will also have a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. We are also expecting a biologist/epidemiologist from the University of Michigan.

You can register online at myedmaster.com or by emailing or calling John (john@myedmaster.com, 571-242-6986) or you can call or email John if you have any questions.

Technology Student Association TEAMS (TSA TEAMS)

One of our most popular extra-curricular activities is TSA TEAMS, sponsored by the Technology Student Association.  TSA TEAM gives students a wide-ranging exposure to different activities such as mathematics, research and technical writing, public speaking, and hands-on building.  Students compete at both state and national levels in teams of four to eight students.  Typically, we compete in the middle school division and this is a great activity for students applying to Thomas Jefferson or Academies of Loudoun.  

The course is taught by a retired engineer, with assistance from Dr. Leddo.  We typically win the top spots at the state competition and to date, all of our teams have qualified for the national competition. In 2019, we won the top five places in Virginia and our teams won 8 medals at the national championship.

The state competition class runs from January to March and the national competition class runs from April to the beginning of July.