Connie Liu is an engineer turned educator turned nonprofit founder. After her parents immigrated to the United States from China, she was born in San Diego as the youngest of three children.
Growing up, Connie had a strong interest in science and social impact. She studied mechanical engineering at MIT, with a focus on developing assistive technologies for people with disabilities. She worked on projects like FingerReader, a camera mounted on a ring to help blind people read on-the-go, and PenPal, a tremor-canceling pen for people with Parkinson’s.
Connie’s interest in education grew from her experiences as an engineer. Seeing the impact her inventions had on real people, she became passionate about empowering all youth to create ideas that could make a change. She began to spend all her free time coordinating after school enrichment programs to teach young students about innovation, design, and creative problem-solving.
After graduating, she became a high school teacher, relocating back to California to teach at a high school in San Mateo. Connie led classes like Making Smart Wearables, Design Engineering for Social Good, and Building Balancing Robots. Her pedagogy focused on helping students solve problems they cared about, rather than problems from textbooks.
Two years later, Connie founded Project Invent, a national nonprofit that teaches high school students nationwide how to invent technologies that can make a difference. She grew Project Invent from one to 30 schools across 14 states in less than two years.
For her work on Project Invent, Connie has been recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and as a Westly Prize winner. She is now pursuing an MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business to dive into policy and business, and their roles in affecting systemic change in education. During her studies, Connie will continue to serve as executive director for Project Invent and lead fundraising and strategic direction for the organization.