Who Will Be the New Leaders of the American Tech Industry?

News Article | November 12, 2020

INTERVIEW | by Victor Rivero
Read the original article from EdTech Digest, here.

Founded in 2016 in Lowell, Mass., Kids in Tech prepares students with interactive, free after school programs in computers and technology. According to program data, by 2024, 80% of the top 10 most in-demand STEM jobs in the Greater Lowell area will be in technology – and, these are some of the top-most desired skills for many growing industries across the country.

In the past three years, the program has offered their solutions at four different sites serving local children from low-income families. Over 90 percent of participants report increased knowledge, skills, and interest in STEM fields. They’re rapidly expanding and look forward to offering help in more communities across the region and around the country.

‘…too many children are not mastering STEM skills at an early age. We want to help all kids thrive in school and beyond.’

“Our programs focus on helping kids develop the necessary tech skills and aptitudes to participate in and be future leaders of the 21st-century innovation economy,” says Olu Ibrahim, Founder and CEO (pictured, above). “[Our] long-term vision is to unlock the untapped potential of young people in cities across the United States, and equip them with the skills and drive to not only staff, but one day lead, the American tech industry.”

The nonprofit partners with administrators to deliver after-school “Tech Clubs”, which expose students both in classroom and remotely to fun, insightful STEM-related projects that showcase the various facets of the field with the goal to intrigue career opportunities down the road in robotics, app development, cybersecurity and more.

They were recently named a partner of the third-annual Massachusetts STEM Week, where they hosted a cybersecurity challenge for students statewide. 

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Lowell-based Kids in Tech expands STEM opportunities

News Article | October 25, 2020

By John Laidler , Boston Globe Correspondent

In 2016, Olu Ibrahim began Lowell-based Kids in Tech with a goal of inspiring children from low-income backgrounds to consider future careers in math and technology-related fields.

In the ensuing four years, her organization has created after-school clubs at Lowell schools and youth organizations that annually expose girls and boys ages 8 to 14 to STEM subjects ranging from robot-building to cybersecurity and app development.

Recently, the nearly all-volunteer nonprofit earned some notable recognition when the group was selected to serve as a partner organization in this year’s STEM Week, an annual program of lessons, speakers, and design challenges held in participating schools.

With the selection came a $50,000 grant from the state’s STEM Advisory Board, according to Ibrahim, Kids in Tech’s CEO.

“I was shocked,” she said of her group’s selection. “We are a small, start-up organization. A lot of the others that won are established groups, so it meant a lot that they thought our proposal was so good.”

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Creating STEM Environments for Women to Thrive: Olu Ibrahim

Blog Post News Article | October 9, 2020

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Olu Ibrahim, Founder & CEO of Kids in Tech

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

As fundraising becomes more professionalized, as a collective, our industry [the non-profit industry] is neglecting the human element of the work we do. Rarely do we have the opportunity to attend professional development workshops that invite us to step back, explore and embrace our humanity. We must center, explore and embrace our humanity in fundraising. Fundraising for social change is about a lot of heart work. It is the heart work that will change our world for all. I too love data and the information it provides but let us keep that in mind.
It’s so easy for women to get in that space where you’re just everything to everyone all the time. We should be telling women and girls to take care of yourself, because that way, you’ll have more to give to those around you.

2. What is your current greatest professional challenge?

My greatest professional challenge has always been to make sure my staff and board have meaningful opportunities for them to grow and learn.  Speaking of growth, growing our organization so we can serve more kids especially during COVID-19 and beyond is also a huge challenge. 

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Trahan Talks Tech

News Article | November 26, 2019

By Nicole DeFeudis, Staff Writer for The Lowell Sun

FROM THE LOWELL SUN » For young students in the after- school Kids in Tech program, meeting Rep. Lori Trahan was encouraging, said Founder Olu Ibrahim.

Trahan spoke with around 10 Kids in Tech participants at the Coalition for a Better Acre on Nov. 6, about her experience as the only female executive at a private sector tech company, then fielded questions about her job in Congress.

“ It makes it more real, more tangible, everything that they’re learning … It makes it more exciting,” Ibrahim said of Trahan’s visit.

Kids in Tech, a Lowell- based provides afterschool STEM programming for about 70 students at three city locations. Kids meet once or twice per week to learn everything from graphic design to typing to robotics, Ibrahim explained. This year, they are building computers, which they will later learn to code and play games on.

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How Kids in Tech Teaches Lowell-Area Children About Computer Engineering

News Article | October 12, 2019

By Rowan Walrath Staff Writer for BostInno

Traffic between Cambridge and Lowell was so bad that I nearly didn’t make it to Kids In Tech’s after-school program. By the time I arrived, just a few elementary schoolers were in the space, scattered across a wooden floor, poring over blueprints for Piper Computer Kits.

But even by 5:30 p.m. on a weekday, the enthusiasm hadn’t waned. As soon as I stepped in the door, a 9-year-old girl, wearing a giant pink bow around her small black ponytail, bounced right up to me.

“Can you help me?” she asked.

I agreed and kneeled down next to her blueprint, trying to figure out which of the many green cords tangled together in the Piper kit was the correct one to attach to the Raspberry Pi she was building. 

This girl, Frances, is one of dozens of kids who meet every two weeks at Coalition for a Better Acre in Lowell. They’re all part of Kids in Tech’s after-school program, designed to get the children of the Merrimack Valley interested in STEM, with a particular focus on computer science and engineering, while they’re still young.

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Hands-on science: Kids in Tech helped bring the Curiosity Cube to kids in Lowell through a partnership with Millipore Sigma

News Article | October 27, 2018

Lowell Sun: LOWELL — Students at Moody Elementary School pressed virtual reality goggles up to their faces Wednesday afternoon outside the Curiosity Cube, a traveling science lab inside a shipping container.

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Spotlight on Kids in Tech’s Founder

News Article | March 6, 2018

Boston Voyager: Today we’d like to introduce you to Olu Ibrahim.

Kids in Tech founder Olu Ibrahim credits her parents for her insatiable appetite for learning and commitment to helping her community. Her love of technology was born when her father brought home a Gateway 2000 PC and told her and her sisters that it was “the future”. Throughout her career as an educator, Olu observed many children who lacked the necessary tools and opportunities to pursue computer science in their educations and careers.

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Lessons Learned: Founder gives insight into growing Kids in Tech

News Article | August 16, 2017

Mass Nonprofit News: Forging ties with potential donors and managing the pressures of a solo startup without revenue or funding was challenging and stressful, but a support team helped enormously.

I started Kids in Tech because it’s imperative to start preparing children in underserved midsize cities for technology jobs in elementary and middle school. And program offerings in midsize cities, like Kids in Tech’s Lowell home base, are sparse despite the rapid expansion of the innovation economy outside of the nation’s largest cities, a trend detailed in research by the Progressive Policy Institute and TechNet, a network of technology executives committed to promoting the innovation economy.

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Our founder, finalist, for young professionals award

News Article | June 5, 2017

Kids in Tech founder Olu Ibrahim was named a finalist for the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s 2017 Young Professional Excellence Award.

The Young Professional Excellence Award recognizes an emerging nonprofit professional who has made a significant contribution to their organization through their effectiveness, dedication, perseverance, innovative thinking, and interpersonal skills. This award is targeted at professionals 35 years of age or younger.

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Our founder was a featured panelist for Women in the Enterprise of Science and Tech

News Article | May 17, 2017

Olu Ibrahim, founder of Kids in Tech, was a featured panelist for WEST’s (Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology) success panel, titled “Key Leadership Skills for Success in the Technological World”.

Panelists, successful senior women and men in technology, talked about their pathways to success. Highlights included details on their paths, obstacles they overcame, things that helped them along the way, and tips and strategies.

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