How to Get Kids Interested in STEM Fields
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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Kim Magliore, founder and president of SciTech Educational Solutions, a test prep and educational consulting firm that hosts a weekly summer camp, SciTech Kids

For example, Banks says he gained confidence in his ability to succeed after Project SYNCERE took fourth place in a robotics competition his junior year. His confidence also grew from the experience of working next to African American instructors like Coleman and Phillips.

“We were able to mentor Banks. We worked with him personally … showing him that there was something else to do. We talked to him about our [jobs at Motorola, and opportunities we had] traveling to China, Germany, and Australia prior to product launches,” says Phillips, director of programs at Project SYNCERE. “When we gave him projects, he understood what he could possibly be.”

Provide Early Motivation
The earlier parents arrange for their children to participate in hands-on, problem-solving activities, the better. By the time most teens are in high school it’s too late to pique their interests in science and math because they haven’t received the skill set necessary to nurture their innate sense of curiosity. By fourth grade, the average student, regardless of race, begins to lose interest in science and math, says Magloire.

“It is not an achievement gap, it is an exposure gap,” says Magloire, a former biologist, epidemiologist, and master instructor for the Princeton Review. “The earlier we engage them in STEM, the earlier we encourage those who have that ability and [the more] we will start seeing those numbers rise.”

With Central Park as the backdrop and ready-made laboratory, Magloire’s New York City summer camp, SciTech Kids, targets children as young as 3 years old to learn about science using everyday items such as soda bottles to simulate tornadoes,  or tin foil and pizza boxes to make solar ovens. The kids also keep science journals.

Parents can gain feedback about the efficacy of a program based on what their children are like when they return home, says Magloire, who is releasing a book on helping students excel in STEM next year. She says if children are excited about what they’ve learned, talkative, and open to teach the parent or siblings, then the program has been effective in motivating their curiosity in STEM.

Keep Kids Engaged After School
The PISA/OECD report shows that the lack of or inadequacy of science laboratories in schools is another factor that affects a student’s instruction. As a result, parents need to enroll their children in science clubs, excursions, field trips, or science competitions to increase their child’s engagement and performance in STEM. However, Magloire and the Project SYNCERE founders all realized that students are more engaged by hands-on projects.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.