Kelvin Doe wows MIT (2012)

Kelvin Doe as a 15-year-old engineering whiz living in Sierra Leone's capital city of Freetown. Since age 10, he scoured the trash bins for spare parts, which he used to build batteries to power lights, hand powered generators, transmitters, and a multi-channel audio mixer. He even helped fix his friend's electronic devices. Completely self-taught, Kelvin created his own radio station, where he broadcasted news and plays music under the moniker DJ Focus.

In 2011, then Media Lab student David Moinina Sengeh SM '12, PhD '16 created Innovate Salone, a mentorship program and competition to foster innovation among high-school students in Sierra Leone. The winning projects included a homemade FM transmitter to provide neighborhood news and entertainment, built from salvaged parts by Kelvin. Impressed with Doe’s creativity, Sengeh arranged a trip for him to the United States. In 2012, Kelvin became the youngest person in history to be invited to the Visiting Practitioner's Program at MIT. The video Sengeh subsequently made about Doe’s trip went viral, viewed more than 3.5 million times in its first few weeks on YouTube.

Timeline: 2010s
School: School of Architecture and Planning
Career: Arts & HumanitiesEducationTechnology
Object: Video
Collection: Africa, Harvard, Mentorship, Music, Recruitment, Rising Voices 1995-Present, STEM Education, Students