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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

AKAs Encourage Young Leaders To Enter STEM Fields

 According to a March report by National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) gap threatens American’s economic success. With 11.9 percent unemployment in the African American community, and just 17 percent of STEM degreed and employed African American professional, we must foster a greater appreciation and expertise for STEM in Black communities.

On March 1, 2013, Dynamic Urban Opportunities Foundation, Inc., the community outreach arm of the Delta Upsilon Omega Seattle Alumnae Chapter and the Zeta Omega Omega Chapter of Tacoma, WA hosted “Plant Your STEM!” – their Emerging Young Leaders Community Youth Summit.

Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. with participants from their Emerging Young Leaders Community Youth Summit.
Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. with participants from their Emerging Young Leaders Community Youth Summit.

The summit focused on driving awareness and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related education and careers. Sixty-five students in the sixth through eighth grades attended the summit and had an opportunity to interact with professionals working in STEM fields. The students participated in forty minute breakout sessions with hands-on learning activities and rotated through each subject area. The student session presenters included professionals from Boeing Commercial Airplanes – 737 Interiors, Microsoft Xbox Console Development Team, Parsons Brinkerhoff Engineering & Design, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the University of Washington School of Nursing.

More than 70 parents participated in a parallel program in conjunction with the student activities, during which they received tips for keeping their student(s) interested in STEM subjects, learned about educational funding, grant and scholarship opportunities, and received information about projected career and earning potential for STEM professionals. The parent session presenters included representatives from the Puget Sound Educational Service Districts, Technology Access Foundation, the University of Washington – Tacoma, and the Washington College Access Network.  These are just a few places for parents to turn to nurture their young ones, and families’ appreciation for STEM.

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