KIDS IN TECH PRESENTS ‘BEYOND THE MICROSCOPE: BUILDING A PATHWAY FOR DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND BELONGING IN STEAM’

Beyond the Microscope Press Release | January 27, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LOWELL, MASS. – Kids in Tech, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children gain critical skills and confidence in STEM fields, will present the first webinar in its “Beyond The Microscope” webinar series on Monday, Feb. 15.

Kids in Tech is proud to present “Beyond the Microscope: Building a Pathway for Diversity, Equity and Belonging in STEAM,” which will be held on Zoom at 12 p.m. EST. This free, virtual and kid-friendly event will feature renowned friends of Kids in Tech, who will discuss ways the organization is leading the charge in helping children from all backgrounds gain more education and experience in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics – or STEAM – fields.

“It’s no surprise that technology skills will dominate the job market in the future, but there is a growing dearth of Americans to fill STEAM jobs,” said Board Chair Gregory Franks. “There is an untapped well of tech talent in our cities, and we owe it to ourselves and the children to expose them to all the possibilities in STEAM.”

Based in Lowell, Mass., Kids In Tech is in the center of a diverse city, and around 92% of the actual kids of Kids in Tech are people of color. As Boston and Lowell increasingly transform into hubs of the tech industry, kids developing technological skills now will be better off getting jobs in science or technology fields in the future. This not only sets the kids of Kids in Tech on a path to success, but sets the technology industry on a path to become more diverse and inclusive.

“People of color, especially women, are heavily underrepresented in STEAM fields,” said Olu Ibrahim, founder and CEO of Kids in Tech. “Yet, through afterschool programming, Kids in Tech has helped create a pipeline of diverse students to engage in STEAM, gaining skills and practical knowledge to become future leaders in tech and science.”

“Beyond the Microscope: Building a Pathway for Diversity, Equity and Belonging in STEAM” is the first in a four-part webinar series Kids in Tech will host through Spring 2021 and is dedicated to various STEAM causes in which the organization believes.

To sign up for this event on Feb. 15 at 12 p.m. EST, please head to the Zoom webinar registration.

Kids in Tech is a nonprofit organization creating the next generation of tech-savvy leaders through free, interactive and after-school computer science and literacy programs.


Building a Pathway for Diversity, Equity and Belonging in STEAM

Beyond the Microscope Blog Post | January 21, 2021

by Aimee Khan, Communications Volunteer

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education and career paths are often overlooked by people of color and women due to a lack of interest or belief in themselves. Without enough immersion and education opportunities, these minorities could forego the discovery of a lifelong passion. That is why Kids in Tech provides the knowledge and resources for these students to excel in a STEAM domain of their choosing and become future leaders in tech and science.

In 2009 according to a survey (Abiola A. Farinde, 2012), only 9.7% female and 14.9% black undergraduate students graduated with a STEM major. We expect today, more than a decade later, those statistics have risen, in part due to work from outreach organizations and afterschool programming.

As a woman in tech, I feel strongly about the inclusion of all races and backgrounds in STEAM education and enrichment. I experienced an undergraduate education in Chemical Engineering from UMass Amherst and was a member of the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) where I tutored many underrepresented minorities trying to earn an engineering degree. I found that what they most struggled with was confidence. They would know the answer but were too afraid to make the assertion that they were right. That caused them to stumble and doubt themselves. I believe that culture enforces those stereotypes that get into our subconscious mind, making us feel inferior or lesser if we are not like the majority. Therefore, not only are programs that encourage students to be exposed to STEAM topics useful, they ease them into having a strong intuition about these topics so they can develop the confidence they need to succeed.

Read More > “Building a Pathway for Diversity, Equity and Belonging in STEAM”

Path to diversity in STEM starts with education, opportunity

Beyond the Microscope | January 6, 2021

By Michaela Goss, Communications Volunteer

Just under half of K-12 schools nationwide have dedicated computer science curriculums, and that amount shrinks further for low-income students and students of color.

This is true for the majority of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses, too, as students from marginalized backgrounds are less likely to have dedicated STEM curriculum or advanced placement STEM courses available to them. According to the Kapor Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to making the field of technology more diverse, students from marginalized communities are offered advanced STEM courses at a rate 12 times lower than students in more affluent schools.

Simply having the opportunity to take an advanced computer science course increases the likelihood of students entering a computer science career or studying computer science should they attend higher education, according to the Kapor Center. Students need the opportunity to see themselves in STEM roles in order to pursue those career paths, and the lack of that opportunity demonstrates an unfortunately common obstacle in low-income schools.

Read More > “Path to diversity in STEM starts with education, opportunity”