Nationwide — As we know, the new millennium ushered in great advancements in technology and globalization. Countless scholars and analysts have said it over and over again — it is critical for our students in the US to have an education grounded in science, technology, engineering and math — preparing them to compete in the modern economy.
As President Obama stated during the 2014 White House College Opportunity Summit — the key is to “expose students to STEM disciplines in elementary and middle school, increase college access, and maintain postsecondary aﬀordability.” For African American students, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are playing a key role in this — by providing aﬀordable education, providing support to excel in college, graduate and thrive in successful STEM careers, according to UNCF. But, how do we build a sustainable pipeline for this?
Since 2002, Kevin Mondy, Sr., founder of Project Still I Rise, has answered the call by bridging the education equity gap amongst African American students in underserved communities. He is building a pipeline by:
• Stimulating interest in STEM beginning in elementary school
• Providing exciting and challenging STEM-based programming like robotics and coding
• Extending wraparound support services in math and science subjects
• Creating STEM professional mentorship opportunities
• Working alongside inner-city school counselors to guide students in their educational journey
Several of PSIR program alumni are now successful STEM professionals, graduating from HBCUs across the country:
George Polk – PSIR program participant (from 4th grade through 12th grade), majored in Electrical Engineering at Prairie View A&M University. He is currently employed at ConocoPhillips.
The PSIR Programs he participated in and stimulated his interest in engineering are Urban S.T.E.M Initiative, Project Manhood, PSIR Urban Scholars Program, and PSIR NSBE PCI Chapter Robotics & MATHCOUNTS Team.
Nickalas Lampkin – PSIR program participant (from 4th grade through 12th grade), majored in Mechanical Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He is currently employed at Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The PSIR Programs he participated in and stimulated his interest in engineering are Urban S.T.E.M Initiative, Project Manhood, PSIR Urban Scholars Program, and PSIR NSBE PCI Chapter Robotics & MATHCOUNTS Team
Kevin Mondy, Jr. – PSIR program participant (from 5th grade through 12th grade), majored in Cybersecurity and Information Assurances at Hampton University. He is currently employed with the Department of Defense, Naval Warfare and Intelligence Command Center in Norfolk, Virginia.
The PSIR Programs he participated in and stimulated his interest in technology are Urban S.T.E.M Initiative, Project Manhood, PSIR Urban Scholars Program, and PSIR NSBE PCI Chapter Robotics & MATHCOUNTS Team
Taylor Brooks – PSIR program participant (from 5th grade through 12th grade), majoring in Computer Science at The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He recently accepted an internship with Medtronic.
The PSIR Programs he participated in and stimulated his interest in science are Urban S.T.E.M Initiative and PSIR Urban Scholars Program
The successful programming that PSIR has utilized since 2010 to activate and engage youth in STEM includes:
Urban STEM Initiative — The engagement of this initiative originated through a summer experience at The University of Texas at Dallas known as the ‘Urban STEM Camp’ — a camp that gives 35 middle school students an opportunity to experience college life, gain exposure to STEM professionals and receive instruction on advanced math principles and robotics. The camp also includes a math skills competition and an engineering design competition, along with Youth Hackathons and our Urban STEM Pop-Ups. PSIR partnered with the Johnson School of Engineering and industry professionals from Google, Microsoft and Titus HVAC at UT Dallas to provide a year-long STEM outreach opportunity for students. The Pop-Ups engage university faculty and staﬀ, industry professionals, and community members and are held on the third Saturday of each month. At initial enrollment, PSIR had 58 students to register for the program in fall 2022.
Community STEM Empowerment Conference — This annual conference included a town hall and panel discussion for STEM professionals, community members, parents, educators and students. The goal of the conference is to engage the participants on the critical importance of STEM and the relevancy in today’s society. The panel discussions are followed by industry professional-led workshops.
About Project Still I Rise
Project Still I Rise (PSIR), a nonprofit organization based in Dallas, Texas, has served the Dallas community and beyond for over twenty years — empowering youth in underserved communities with the tools to succeed in today’s competitive landscape. PSIR’s signature programs include the Urban STEM Initiative, National Youth Chamber of Commerce, PSIR’s Books and Banking, Urban Scholars and more. For more information regarding the organization and its program oﬀerings, please visit PSIR.org or contact their headquarters at 972-546-0977.
About Urban Media Group of Texas
Urban Media Group of Texas is a boutique marketing, communications and creative agency specializing in brand storytelling or “the art of storytelling” through design, content, copywriting, branding, public relations and social media. Urban Media Group of Texas infuses traditional marketing with a modern, more eclectic approach to connect with audiences on multimedia platforms in an engaging and relevant way. For more information, please visit UrbanMediaGroupofTX.com
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