STEM School student’s curiosity helps the school schedule students and build ties with local businesses
Posted on 08/29/2018
Rizwaan at work at STEM School Chattanooga


Curiosity about how a computer program works and the ability to figure it out has provided a new student online class scheduling program for STEM School Chattanooga and a new website for a young Chattanooga entrepreneur. Last year, Rizwaan Abdul-Kadir, then a freshman at STEM School Chattanooga, a magnet program in the Missionary Ridge Learning Community, figured out the computer database language used in the school’s scheduling program to create a unique product just for scheduling students at STEM school.

“We were using an online booking program from an Australian company that was designed for business,” said Tony Donen, principal of STEM School Chattanooga. “Rizwaan took on building a program during his freshman year to address booking classes online for the school as his personal project and what he designed meets the specific needs of the STEM School.”

Abdul-Kadir, now a junior, called the new program Bük, and it impressed his principal so much that he was the first person Donen thought of when a local business called the school looking for an intern. A local travel business contacted Donen in need of someone who could complete the company’s website. Donen knew from working with Bük, Abdul-Kadir would be perfect for the job.

“I am a small business owner, and I ran into some problems finalizing the last pages of my website because I did not have the technical skills to accomplish what I wanted to do with the site,” said Mary Lou Mangan–Lamb, owner of, a company that uses in-depth knowledge about Ireland to provide a customized itinerary in real time. “I met Rizwaan a couple of times, and I was immediately struck by his curiosity and ability to understand exactly what I was trying to accomplish.”

Abdul-Kadir was offered the internship and worked with Mangan-Lamb over the summer to complete the website and get it up and running to serve customers. “I was impressed by Rizwaan’s ability to ask smart questions and to suggest innovative ideas,” said Mangan-Lamb. “The STEM School is doing a lot of things right!"