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Cem Kocaoglu

Future of Innovation
Youth Advocate

Cem Kocaoglu is a driven high school senior whose passion for technology and entrepreneurship is fueled by a desire to improve human rights and make the world a better place. At only 16 years old, Cem has already exhibited a strong foundation in computer science, business acumen, leadership skills, and socially conscious thinking, allowing him to make a concrete impact on the world stage and in his future academic endeavors.


Cem was born in Istanbul, Turkey, grew up in Basel, Switzerland, and is currently attending high school in Menlo Park, California at Silicon Valley International High School. He speaks four languages, both English and Turkish natively, and is actively studying both German and French at a high level. Beyond language, he sees past cultural borders and boundaries and is able to bring a multilateral and nuanced worldview to real- world issues from an American, Swiss, and Turkish perspective, which provides him increased empathy and a diverse perspective, allowing him to enrich dialogues and shape discussions through a wider lens.


Like Spider-Man learning to wield abilities responsibly, Cem had to overcome early missteps that shaped his ethical core and personal mission. In his early years, because of his overconfidence, he had to learn the hard way how to elevate himself to the next level and overcome his natural sense of complacency. In 8th grade, Cem was invited to try out for the Swiss National Math team and was able to attend lessons at Zurich ETH, where he received his first inspiration about college and insights into his future ambitions. However, after making it to the semi-finals, he did not make the mark and couldn't join the team that year. This wake-up call made Cem realize how, despite his high math aptitude, he needed to continually challenge himself and deepen his own knowledge to reach the next level.


After relocating to the US due to his mother’s expat assignment, he refocused his efforts, maintaining a strong academic rigor, immersing himself in STEM coursework through advanced courses in Computer Science like CS50 offered by Harvard and joining human rights organizations and UN virtual conferences. Cem is passionate about improving inequalities in education across the globe. For example, after a volunteering expedition in Costa Rica, he committed to providing English lessons to locals in a small village to help raise their comprehension and influence their global perspective.


Cem’s entrepreneurial vision extends beyond just business - he aims to be a catalyst for broader human progress. His recent personal project explored the use of machine learning to improve and optimize Autism detection in developing communities. Additionally, his diverse extracurriculars as a classical pianist and basketball player display his time management for ambitious goals.


With technical prowess, a multi-cultural perspective, and a conviction that STEM fields combined with entrepreneurial problem-solving can uplift society, Cem understands the emerging need to enhance human skills through better life planning. His longer-term vision is tackling the world's biggest challenges through socially conscious AI and technological solutions that protect human rights and enable increased access to educational opportunities for students across the globe.

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