We’re just a few short weeks into 2017, and the foundation is charging full steam ahead with our sights set on exploring new territories in education. One of those being our Igniting STEAM After School program, launched in partnership with Intel, at McClymonds High School in Oakland, California this month. The high school program incorporates art into our already successful STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum with the objective to help McClymonds meet their school’s goal of placing students on the “Engineering Pathway” and ultimately in STEAM-related careers. It will also provide students with numerous opportunities to develop the workforce skills needed for STEAM-based careers. We are thrilled to be a part of their process while at the same time, reinforcing our foundation’s mission.
With our mission in mind, I was honored to receive an invitation to moderate a panel on “Attainment and Retention” in STEM career fields during The White House Conference on Inclusive STEM Education for Youth of Color in late October. The purpose of the conference was to bring together scholars, students, STEM education experts, community-based organizations, non-profit leaders, advocates and policy makers who are committed to diversity and inclusion in STEM, with a specific focus on youth and communities of color. The conference aimed to address key questions ranging from innovative solutions to inclusive STEM education to identifying the critical gaps that interfere in the pursuit of creating more diverse STEM career fields.
This brings me to the recently released and critically acclaimed Oscar nominated film, Hidden Figures, which chronicles the untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson—three brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big. These positive images of women in science serve to empower all while helping to reframe some of the now outdated bias notions regarding women in STEM career fields. I encourage all parents and educators to watch this film with their students and begin an open dialogue that empowers our youth to realize their full potential and the infinite possibilities that await them. We all have the power to influence the world and no dream is too big to actualize.
With that, I would like to thank you for your continued support and look forward to a year of positive gains with you. Please remember follow us on social media via the links below to stay up to date on all the latest endeavors from The Harris Foundation.