September 9, 2021

C-STEM Receives $2.4M Grant To Help Young Black Girls Into Tech And Robotics Careers

The UC Davis Centre for Integrated Company and STEM Education, better known as C-Stem, has recently received a $2.4million grant to help young Black girls tap into engineering and robotics at a younger age.

According to the center, which hopes the program will become a “mentoring pipeline,” the National Science Foundation gave the grant.

The money will allow the organization to access vital resources needed to equip the girls with the necessary skills to succeed in the STEM sector.

The program, dubbed The Ujima Girls in Robotics Leadership Project, will be led by an assistant professor in the UC Davis School of Education, Faheemah Mustafaa, C-STEM’s director Harry Cheng, and former board president Teresa Aldredge.

More about the program

The Ujima GIRL Camp takes the C-STEM Center’s already successful GIRL/GIRL+ camps — which have been supported middle and high school girls respectively across California since 2013 and 2018 — and adds the “cultural piece for African American students.”

The project is expected to provide an abundance of opportunities. When the girls first sign up for the program, they receive free, hands-on engineering and robotics programs to help their knowledge.

Together with California Community Colleges and the Umoja Community Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the educational experience of African American students, the team will recruit African American college students to lead each Ujima GIRL, develop curriculum and serve as mentors to the young girls.

In the first three years, the program will host 48 Ujima GIRL and 48 GIRL+ camps statewide and nurture about 2,000 students, according to a statement published by the UC center. If successful, the team hopes to increase that number and expand the program nationwide.

In a statement, Ms. Mustafaa said: “This is an exciting opportunity to encourage further the creativity, leadership, and scientific genius of Black girls and young women in ways that many don’t have access to in their day-to-day schooling.

“I am hopeful about the mutually empowering benefit of this project for the participants, our research team, and everyone else involved.”

Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

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