Internationally Smart Is Cool 

We create events, tools, & initiatives that benefit middle school students, parents & educators.

Sister Thea Bowman Catholic Academy Students Enrolled in Past Programming 


Internationally Smart Is Cool (ISIC) is a 501(c)3 volunteer-run educational nonprofit organization expanding the traditional definition of intelligence. Our mission is to connect students with opportunities to develop and practice activities that interest them. We envision a world where an entire generation of students grows up embracing their assets and cultivating them into productive lives. ISIC was founded in Philadelphia in 2013 by Jamillia Kamara, a University of Pittsburgh graduate and award winning educator with 9 years of experience working with students, school administrators and community stakeholders in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In 2014, ISIC transitioned to the Pittsburgh area.


Traditionally, students who earn high grades in school are considered intelligent, while those who do poorly are not. Internationally Smart Is Cool believes that this narrow definition of intelligence is fundamentally flawed, and excludes a large portion of the student body. In response, we redefined “smart”. A Smart is a skill, hobby or interest used to build communities. We believe that creating opportunities for students to embrace and cultivate their “Smarts” has not only short term academic benefits, but also leads to positive long term outcomes for the entire community.

ISIC primarily serves students & families in the Borough of Wilkinsburg, where the poverty rate is 3 times the national average and only 8 of 29 graduating seniors had post secondary education plans in 2014. Despite these too often popularized statistics, Wilkinsburg is home to brilliant students who often lack the experience and exposure to effectively actualize their collective potential. We work with middle school students specifically to help fill the service gap between programs that exclusively serve elementary school students, and those who only serve students in high school. Our targeted interventions take action at a critical point in students’ learning process, before they become disengaged and potentially drop out of school.


ISIC hosts an annual summit, community events, and is currently spearheading the #2MillPencils Drive, an effort to collect 2 million pencils for all students attending school in Wilkinsburg. 80,000 pencils have been collected to date. The goal of the Summit is to start conversations at the intersection of student assets and career pathways, with the expectation that students leave understanding how to use their Smart to excel professionally.

We also create tools for educators, students & parents. Take a look. 


Internationally Smart Is Cool is fortunate to receive in-kind and financial support for our activities from results-driven organizations and dedicated volunteers in the Pittsburgh area. To date, we have worked with: One Young World, Union Project, The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, The Investing Now Program through the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, the Jeron X. Grayson Community Center, Strong Women, Strong Girls, The Pearl Club, PittServes, The Corner Pittsburgh, Sister Thea Bowman Catholic Academy, Public Allies Pittsburgh, The Nehemiah Davis Foundation, The Wilkinsburg School District and The Wilkinsburg Borough Council.

In the Fall of 2015, ISIC received generous mini grants from UPMC Health Plan and The Pittsburgh Pirates to support the #2MillPencils Drive. Our work has also been recognized by The New Pittsburgh Courier, The Pittsburgh City Paper, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and WHIRL Magazine.


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