What is Luma Lab? The Education Arm of Clearly Innovative


What is Luma Lab?

Luma Lab is a tech and entrepreneurship education program that we’ve developed for the past 3-years. Luma Lab is the education arm of Clearly Innovative, a minority-owned web and mobile development agency that creates highly integrated, digital solutions that empower our clients to be effective, innovative industry leaders.

We understand that many people lack access to industry-leading insight and education about tools used to develop digital products that solve problems they understand. The goal of Luma Lab is to change that.

Luma Lab exposes students to the ever-changing world of technology, provides long-term support and empowers them to take a seat at the digital table as programmers, designers and entrepreneurs. We do not consider our target audience as customers but rather creative minds that we can foster to become innovators and creators of technology. Luma Lab is unique because we focus not only on teaching code but also user experience/design, entrepreneurship and lean startup principles. Our staff is made up of developers and tech industry professionals who reflect the communities that we serve and we bring our program to the students— understanding that this is critical, in order for education to be accessible.

Since 2012, we’ve taught over 200 students in four different institutions through after school programs, summer camps, hackathons and year-long curriculums.

How did Luma Lab Start?

Before Luma Lab, Clearly Innovative CEO Aaron K. Saunders helped produce a youth hackathon with DiversiTech in Anacostia in 2012. There was a lack of confidence that the hackathon would get a strong turnout. But fortunately, the event was well attended and successful. The kids were excited about the work and when the hackathon ended, Aaron was frustrated that there was no place for the kids to funnel their enthusiasm so they could continue learning and experimenting with technology. Aaron was inspired to create a tech education program where students who are interested in technology could continue their passion.

Following this hackathon event, Aaron Saunders met Patrick Gusman, COO of SwiftWing Ventures, and discussed their mutual interest in providing access to tech education in underexposed communities. The two immediately set out to address their concerns by piloting a tech ed program, Startup Middle School, at Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science two years ago. As a result of the program’s success, Clearly Innovative developed Luma Lab to provide more opportunities for students at Howard Middle School and a variety of institutions including the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and Georgetown Day School.

What does Luma Lab Teach?