“Kavya Kopparapu was 17 years old and a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, when she sat down with world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The two brilliant minds were paired off in an eight-hour relay of two-person dialogues called ‘The Long Conversation,’ held at the Smithsonian’s Arts & Industries Building last December.

Before talking about the physics of vibrating cello strings, Kopparapu imparted one major lesson she learned in her artificial intelligence course, that’s applicable to a student of any age. ‘It’s one thing to go to school, learn something and just leave it at that,’ she said. ‘But it’s another thing to enjoy it…and apply it in the real world.'”