Future of Innovation,
A rising senior in high school, Rento Saijo, is a competitive hockey player whose dedication and determination off the rink is directed towards social impact. His interest in computer science drives him to seek to make the now widely used internet a safer space for youth everywhere.
The two words that stuck with him the most are from his head coach’s favorite phrase: “be men,” which embodies the mental and physical resilience, respectfulness, and never giving up on a goal until it is attained. He applied that meaning towards other aspects of his life off the ice. These 2 simple words have pushed him beyond the seeming capabilities and have facilitated the development of his resilience, tenacity, and the ability to overcome hardships.
Picking up his interest for computer science his freshman year, Rento excelled in all high school computer science classes, joined the school club, and earned a 5 on the AP Computer Science A exam by his sophomore year. He then started applying his knowledge outside of school by competing in numerous events such as the Congressional App Challenge and the American Computer Science League. With his passion for computer science, he is interning at a start-up company and is leading the app development team as a full-stack developer. Alongside this passion, he remained dedicated to hockey, amassing the second most goals for his varsity team in his junior year.
Beyond pursuing personal achievement, Rento strongly believes in giving back to his passions and helping others to find their own versions of success. As such, he has volunteered to mentor young computer science learners and also became one of the assistant coaches for a youth hockey club back home in Japan. While pursuing his computer scientist career, he has learned of the copious dangers that exist on the internet such as data manipulation, cyberbullying, and predatory behavior mainly through his data science and cybersecurity classes. Concerned by what he has uncovered in this regard, he has founded NeoStasia, an organization focused on raising awareness among young people of these dangers as the world increasingly moves towards a more online environment. Through his organization, Rento provides interdisciplinary training for youth to achieve this mission.
Rento looks forward to majoring in computer science in a rigorous academic environment and eventually make his way into Silicon Valley as a full-stack developer all while building a great foundation for the youth to more safely and meaningfully interact with the internet to ultimately establish code literacy. As the tech industry wields so much power in the economy and world affairs today, Rento wants to help sure it remains committed to the values of inclusion, equality, and safety for all.