Young minds are often touted for their ability to be changemakers. A firm believer in the power of education, Samsung Electronics has pursued a variety of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to equip the next generation with essential skills that drive positive change. Samsung provides students with the most up-to-date technical education and knowledge through its CSR programs, and the company’s employees mentor these students and help them grow their skills.
In recognition of International Volunteer Day, a UN-designated holiday observed annually on December 5, Samsung Newsroom is spotlighting four Samsung mentors from various countries who have devoted their time to the company’s meaningful CSR initiatives.
Outside-The-Box Thinking To Tackle Societal Problems
As the company’s international STEM competition, Samsung Solve for Tomorrow allows students to develop innovative projects that tackle challenges facing society — with one of the most prominent issues being climate change. Anna Buncler from Samsung Electronics Poland lent her expertise to help Solve for Tomorrow participants raise awareness for the environment through their projects.
“I love this program and recognize the value it brings to students’ lives, helping them broaden their perspectives and analyze the world around them,” she said.
Buncler was inspired by students’ proactivity and awareness of climate issues. “I remember there was this team of elementary school students that had an incredible commitment to building a greener future,” she shared.
Despite coming from a small town in southern Poland, Buncler’s group members demonstrated their eagerness to tackle global challenges. Initially, the team’s project aimed to highlight the importance of energy conservation by focusing on the power used to charge smartphones. Buncler encouraged the team to broaden the project’s scope after recognizing the potential for greater impact.
“Their original idea was brilliant as it explored how much energy is consumed when a phone is charged,” she stated. “Building on this foundation, I encouraged them to involve additional users and incorporate more creative thinking into the project.”
Following her advice, the team added an exercise component to the project, making it more interactive and captivating for users. As a result, the team successfully secured third place in the Solve for Tomorrow competition.
Buncler explained how Solve for Tomorrow gives young people the opportunity to use creative thinking to transform local communities and the world through their projects. “Programs such as Solve for Tomorrow enable young people to express themselves and their ideas, giving them the chance to lead meaningful change to create a better tomorrow,” she said.
Industry Insight Combined With Profound Causes
Vivek Kumar, Camera Software Development Lead at Samsung R&D India, brought extensive experience to the table through his involvement in the competition. With more than 12 years of expertise in diverse technology development, Kumar provided participants with a valuable opportunity to get real-world insights into the tech industry as they built their projects.
Kumar started as a jury member in the competition and helped shortlist top candidates, allowing him to engage with participants directly and share feedback firsthand. He explained how mentoring enabled him to be involved in various stages of the creative process from conducting regular progress check-ins and brainstorming sessions to troubleshooting technical hurdles. “Engaging with young minds was profoundly inspiring for me, as I was able to guide them throughout the entire process,” he explained.
Along the way, Kumar encountered many groups that were working to pursue meaningful change. His role mentoring Team Jalraaj was especially memorable as the group had an ambitious yet admirable goal — creating a low-cost water filtration system for rural communities in India. However, the scale of the project proved to be challenging. Kumar stepped in to offer guidance when the group faced technical obstacles.
“Although the team encountered some challenges along the way, mentors like me could intervene and help the team navigate effectively,” Kumar said.
While the students undoubtedly benefitted from the mentorship, Kumar emphasized how mentoring also enriched both his personal and professional life. “Acting as a guide throughout the Solve for Tomorrow competition was a valuable experience,” he said. “I observed firsthand how combining industry experience with youthful ingenuity and creativity can set the stage for transformative technical innovation.”
Lifting Students Up Through Guidance
Patricia Osorio, Smart TV Product Manager at Samsung Electronics Chile, celebrated her 11th year at the company by joining Solve for Tomorrow as a mentor.
Driven by her passion for volunteer programs, Osorio’s mission within Solve for Tomorrow was to instill confidence and resilience in young minds and allow them to reach their full potential. “My goal was to help students strengthen their confidence,” she said. “During my time participating in Solve for Tomorrow, I was able to observe a noticeable change in their thoughts and the way they carried themselves.”
Thanks to Osorio’s guidance, teams were able to hone their presentation skills and earn top spots in the competition. Witnessing their success and newfound confidence was a great source of pride for Osorio, and she reiterated the value of mentorship.
“I am thankful to all the participants for trusting and relying on us mentors. It was an incredible experience, and I encourage all my colleagues to participate,” she said. “While some may be hesitant to volunteer since our work is often hectic, mentoring is extremely fulfilling and a wonderful way to impact local communities directly.”
Setting Graduates Up for Success
Against the backdrop of a competitive national job market, Jinhyun Kim from the AI/Big Data Lab at Samsung’s Visual Display (VD) Business set out to help recent graduates in Korea feel set up for success. Through the Samsung Software Academy for Youth — the company’s software education program for young jobseekers — Kim worked to solve real problems faced by applicants.
Leveraging his background in programming, algorithm translations and lecturing, Kim provided his mentees with guidance and encouragement to navigate the job market. “Leading them toward their goals and seeing their accomplishments was very fulfilling,” he shared. “One of the most rewarding moments was when a mentee landed a job in the same department as me.”
Kim explained how mentoring helps cultivate shared knowledge, as both sides can learn from each other. “Receiving feedback from mentees about how I could help them grow has reaffirmed my commitment to mentoring,” he said. “I believe this kind of dialogue fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth.”
By sacrificing their time to mentor young people, these Samsung employees and many others are actively supporting the growth of the next generation.
Learn more about Samsung’s CSR initiatives in the links below.
Samsung Solve for Tomorrow is a STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and math) competition that encourages young minds to tackle social issues affecting their communities. Learn more at Samsung Solve for Tomorrow.
Samsung Innovation Campus provides information communications technology (ICT) education in areas such as AI, IoT, big data, coding and programming to youth who aspire to work in the tech industry. Learn more at Samsung Innovation Campus.