MOUSE Celebrates 15 Years of Inspiring Youth Innovators


EdTech Nonprofit Honors Bre Pettis of MakerBot Industries, NYC entrepreneur Joanne Wilson and Best Buy Children’s Foundation at MOUSE@15 event on May 20th.



For those of us who were there when it launched, it’s hard to believe that MOUSE is turning 15.  The nonprofit got its start when founder Andrew Rasiej, whose office was across the street from a NYC public high school, noticed that the school wasn’t wired. Rasiej, who was very active in the New York New Media Association (NYNMA), generated an email and although only 20 of the tech-savvy group’s members responded, over 200 showed up to get the job done and put the school online.  MOUSE took off from there.

The organization has come a long way from simply wiring schools.  The event next week will be an interactive celebration, with students showcasing some of their latest technologies, which incorporate 3D printing, robotics and game design.  At a recent NY Tech Meetup, MOUSE students demoed a wristband that helps the blind find food on their plates — not bad for 11th graders from underserved schools.

“MOUSE was born during NYC’s first tech boom in 1997 and has proven to be one of the New York technology community’s most resilient institutions, thanks to the support of leaders from business, government and education,” said Daniel Rabuzzi, Executive Director of MOUSE.  “Since then, MOUSE has grown across the country and has improved the lives of more than 23,000 students who have participated in programs.  The program has helped students develop technology and leadership skills, improved schools, assisted educators and benefitted the industry by preparing scholars for higher education and a tech-driven, 21st century workforce.”

MOUSE programs are running in more than 375 schools, involving more than 4,200 students and 650 educators.  MOUSE Corps helps students pursue their interests in technology and develop skills essential in today’s workforce, including teamwork, project management, design, research, application, analytical thinking, problem solving and leadership.  And, the MOUSE Squad program trains students to be digital media and technology experts at their schools.

“MakerBot is an innovation company.  We innovate so that others can innovate, so it was only natural that we should support an innovative education program like MOUSE that embraces science, technology, engineering and math,” noted Bre Pettis, Founder and CEO of MakerBot, and MOUSE@15 honoree.  “It is so exciting for us to see the kids in the MOUSE programs with their MakerBot 3D printers and watch them transform into the future engineers, product developers and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.  We at MakerBot congratulate MOUSE on 15 years of inspiration and innovation.”

The students who presented demoes at the NY Tech Meetup used MakerBot 3D printing technology to help create their dining wristband.

“MOUSE is near and dear to my heart.  I was honored to serve as Chairman of MOUSE in its early stages and have been thrilled to see it flourish over these past 15 years,” said fellow honoree Joanne Wilson, an active angel investor and “Gotham Gal” blogger.  Joanne has been involved with MOUSE since its inception, serving as its first chairperson, and currently chairs the MOUSE Expansion Campaign.  “When I see how MOUSE has truly changed the lives of some pretty amazing young people, it is very rewarding.  I am excited that this event will introduce even more industry leaders, educators and policymakers to this program as it embarks on an ambitious national expansion.”

Other honorees include the Best Buy Children’s Foundation, which has invested more than $2 million in MOUSE and has provided support for the growth and success of MOUSE programs for the last decade, and New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, whose office has invested $1.3 million in the program since she assumed her current role in 2006.

The event, which promises to be a gathering of the who’s who in the New York tech community, will be held at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers on May 20th.  For ticket information or to make a donation: MOUSE@15:  Celebrating 15 Years of Inspiring Innovators.

About the author: Bonnie Halper

Bonnie Halper curates the StartupOneStop.com newsletter, which focuses on startups and entrepreneurs, and is currently being read in 50+ countries around the world.

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