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We want black girls to see the possible, dream the invisible and create the tangible. In order for that to become reality, serious groundwork must be undertaken throughout African America.
An array of intentional strategies must be designed and implemented yesterday to attract, connect and nurture the potential of target populations within underrepresented groups to actualize themselves as entrepreneurs and innovators in STEM-based, high growth areas. Among these groups are African American females who must “see the possible” opportunities available to them. Specifically, such populations include female students who possess natural curiosity, creativity, and ingenuity, but may be enrolled in schools where academic programs offer limited access or exposure to enrichment or accelerated experiences. It includes students who reside in states or attend schools where IT coursework is an optional elective and is not a high school graduation requirement. Currently, this is the status quo for most enrollees of public schools.
Underrepresented target populations also include students whose families cannot afford to enroll them in specialized summer camps or intensive STEM-related weekend programs, exhibitions or competitions. Students who are unaware of their aptitudes for STEM and flounder in school because their interests are untapped or unmet can be included in the underrepresented target population. Students who aspire to achieve at optimum levels, but lack a consistent familial support system are yet another target group. Last, but not least are students who have few or limited access to role models working as entrepreneurs or in STEM fields.
All of these groups will benefit from illumination. Then, access to information and opportunity planted in the fertile fields of youthful minds and hearts, imagination can be stimulated as dreams of the invisible evolve and flourish. When we grow and nurture the seedlings of imagination they can sprout and prosper in the markeplace of innovation and tangible creativity until they are ripe for practical use and potential economic harvest.
Patricia A. Ackerman, Ph.D.
– Coding experience preview days that facilitate self-selection
– Exemplary instruction from culturally competent providers
– Mentorship from African American IT/STEM role models
– Parent advocacy: sustained support and positive reinforcement at home
– Partnerships: community and corporate support
– Distinguishing the “under served” from the “under privileged”
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