In metro Atlanta and surrounding areas, Black-owned tech companies abound. Many are youth-focused and have opportunities for all children, regardless of skill level. Recognizing that tech is a growing industry, these companies want to create a pipeline for Black children who may or may not have considered tech as a career. STEM education makes children well-rounded and prepares them to tackle the world’s problems. By merging science, which teaches critical thinking; technology, which prepares people to work in high-tech industries; engineering, which is great at teaching children problem-solving skills; and math, which enforces analytical skills — youth develop a skill set that makes them employable. Check out these three STEM programs on the frontlines of teaching Black children computer programming, esports, entrepreneurial training and robotics.
1 Johnson STEM Activity Center
Dr. Lonnie Johnson, NASA Scientist, Super Soaker inventor, and founder of Johnson STEM Activity Center lives by his motto: “Nothing is impossible when curiosity and innovation meet hard work and perseverance.” A born engineer, Johnson grew up to help others. His STEM program has been a staple of Atlanta for over a decade. His goal is to instill self-confidence, leadership skills and success in STEM. Participants learn eSports, robotics, and computer programming.
SMASH is a youth education nonprofit focused on diversifying the field of STEM. Founded at UC Berkeley in 2017, SMASH has expanded to Georgia. The first site was Morehouse College and now future Spelmanites will have a chance to participate. The three-year program will allow girls in the 9th grade, to live within 50 miles of Spelman College, attend public or private school and receive financial assistance to participate. These young ladies must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Spelman College Alumna and the first female CEO of SMASH Danielle Rose said, “we know that HBCUs have been and will continue to play a critical role in building black excellence.”
3STEM Atlanta Women
Founded by Maxine Cain, STEM Atlanta Women was created so that women and girls will be ready for the global tech pipeline. Offerings include master classes, innovative programs, tech labs, hack-a-thons, conferences, and entrepreneurial training. After-school programs are available for girls in the 6th through 12th grades, college students, and recent college graduates between the ages of 19-25 in the greater Atlanta area in underserved and underrepresented communities.