Encouraging Diversity in Science and Engineering (STEM)

Through givebacks and incentives for minorities, STEM For Kids franchise is inspiring diverse children to experience hands-on STEM.

Raleigh NC, 7/15/15 – Torchea, a 6th grader aspires to be an entrepreneur, “I want to open my own store”, she says. Her teacher said “[she] will make a positive difference in the world if she’s given an opportunity.” This summer, Torchea got the opportunity to learn how to create websites and made a website for her future store.

Angela said about her daughter, “She has told me since third grade that she wanted to be a scientist and has not changed her mind yet … As a parent it hurts to tell your child no because you simply cannot afford it [science and engineering camp]. “ This summer Angela got the opportunity to say “Yes” to her daughter as she enrolled her in a STEM For Kids robotics camp.

Lopez got the opportunity to attend his first ever STEM camp and to learn HTML programming. These opportunities have been made possible by STEM For Kids Geek Scholarships.

“Giving back to our community is at the core of what we do at STEM For Kids … it is in our organizational heartbeat”, says Moni Singh, Founder and CEO who is recognized as a Triangle Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Leader and a Leader in STEM and honored by the Enterprising Women Magazine.

Over the years, many area schools and students have benefitted from STEM givebacks. GeeK Scholarships, named in honor of Singh’s parents, was awarded to students representing ethnic minority groups in need of financial assistance. Five more scholarships will be granted for summer camps in August 2015. To learn about the application process, email nctriangle@stemforkids.net.

“This year has been exciting; we directed our philanthropy towards encouraging diversity in STEM. While STEM jobs are growing at a fast pace and promise lucrative salaries, STEM workforce is not diverse”, Singh says citing her experiences as a woman in engineering and the diversity reports provided by Tech giants like Facebook and Google. Hispanics and African-Americans combined represent only 3-4% of the tech workforce while they are 30% of the US population. Women represent only 25% of the STEM jobs.

“It is a supply chain issue. We need more diverse students entering the STEM education pipeline and we need to find effective ways to retain them in the pipeline. At STEM For Kids, we are working to impact the first need. Changes have to take place at the grassroots level to inspire children irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds. ” Singh says.

Through initiatives like the GeeK Scholarship, Singh is making STEM more accessible for these groups. Additionally, she invites people of color to come join the STEM For Kids Franchise System. To encourage minorities to step up, be the torch bearers and role models in their communities, STEM For Kids provides incentives for ethnic minorities who join this STEM educational franchise system.

STEM For Kids makes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fun and real for children in grades K-8. The organization has enabled thousands of children in grades K-12 to experience science, engineering and computer programming in a hands-on way through camps, afterschool programs, in-school field trips and workshops. Nationwide franchise opportunities are available at www.stemforkids.net/franchise.

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