Season 2, Ep 07: UpBrainery: Ghazal Qureshi’s Visionary Approach for Transforming Education
“I saw a huge gap in the educational system, especially at the elementary ages, and as a mom, I felt there was something I could do,” says Ghazal Qureshi, founder and CEO of UpBrainery Technologies, which, using AI and machine learning seeks to transform education by expanding its accessibility throughout the world. With an average of 30 students in a classroom, most teachers simply do not have the capacity to give each one the time and focus they need. Once they begin to look beyond the classroom and toward the workforce, resources are even more scarce. With an average of 500 students for every guidance counselor, young learners are virtually left on their own to make some of the most important decisions of their lives. With her background, Ghazal knew technology could provide what so many students were lacking–the kind of individualized curriculum and personalized attention that many require to excel academically. UpBrainery also provides unique experiential courses for career inspiration, bypassing “zip code barriers” so that students anywhere–including 13 countries outside of the U.S–can have access to information and representatives in any career that piques their interest.
Ghazal’s brainchild would prove timely and prophetic, launching two weeks before the U.S. schools shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic and just as online learning became the standard. Company partners such as Whattaburger and The U.S. Department of Defense helped to bring UpBrainery’s proprietary platform, Brainlab, to at-home learners, which in turn gave UpBrainery vital feedback as to the best materials, experiments and at-home activities to provide students. Now that traditional classroom learning has resumed, Ghazal is focused on rolling UpBrainery out to more school districts, as well as U.S. military bases.
Ghazal’s seen firsthand the power of personalized education, and on today’s episode of Women Igniting Change, she shares the story of how her own son, after being diagnosed with ADD, excelled in math thanks to a teacher’s particular method. She gives credit to her husband for teaching her a better approach after she tried to “boil the ocean,” and gives inspiration and advice to women looking to start a business at any age.
- “I think my ideas are bigger than my capacity, sometimes. And I had to learn the hard way. I literally had to learn the hard way on how to actually narrow down the niche, how to actually solve one problem and move on to the next and then continue on. It was a hard lesson that I learned, but it was definitely well worth it.” (5:38 | Ghazal Qureshi)
- “Right off the bat, I jumped in and had plans to take over the world, basically. We’re women, we know we can handle it. We can raise kids, we can be successful in work and business and all of that. But I really have to give credit to my husband who is much more pragmatic, much more practical, and comes from the finance world. He had to hold me back a little bit, and teach me that I needed to be able to be successful in whatever space it was that I wanted to start with first, and then go into the next phase.” (7:35 | Ghazal Qureshi)
- “You have a classroom where you have sometimes 30 plus kids. The teacher is human. A teacher can only deliver the content in one fashion, be able to personalize on some level, but not really cater to every single student. To me, the answer was a little obvious. I don’t want to sound like a Ms. Know-It-All, but I think it’s coming from my technology background, I knew that the answer lay in technology, the way to be able to personalize, to be able to really touch everybody in a way that makes sense to them, can be done through technology.” (10:13 | Ghazal Qureshi)
- “You’re talking about NASA being in Houston. But why is it that a child in Seattle or Chicago should not have access to those experts or to the learning that can come from a rocket scientist or anybody else working at NASA. That’s a problem that can be solved through technology.” (13:38 | Ghazal Qureshi)
- “Our mission is to really personalize–whether a child is sitting in the United States, or a child is sitting somewhere else across the world—to be able to really give them what gets them excited, and to make the love of learning, make that flame just come to light.” (22:23 | Ghazal Qureshi)
Connect with Ghazal Qureshi
Ghazal's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ghazalqureshi/
Connect with Robbin Jorgensen (She/Her):