According to a Pew Research Center study, Blacks make up 9% of the U.S. worker in the STEM field with Hispanics comprising only 7% of all STEM workers. The study also found Blacks and Hispanics only made up only 6% to 7% of adults holding a bachelor’s degree or more in the field. The lack of diversity within the field is due to numerous factors from affordability when it comes to education and accessibility to roles within the sector.
For one Black woman founder, it was imperative for her to encourage more young people of color to enter the field and take advantage of these high-paying roles so she created an at-home learning kit to help teenagers learn some basic skills.
Aisha Bowe launched STEMBoard in 2013 with the goal of helping underrepresented voices get interested in the STEM field. Her company’s new LINGO kit is a home learning STEM-based coding kit to teach teenagers the fundamentals of hardware and software design. “I was driven to create a STEM product that would make technology education less daunting and subsequently, I wanted as many students as possible to recognize the opportunities that exist in STEM-related careers,” said Bowe in a press statement. “Social good and profitability are not mutually exclusive business drivers.”
She hopes the product will spark interest for others just like how the technology community at NASA, where she worked as an aerospace engineer, inspired her to create more accessibility. The company also leads hands-on technology and entrepreneurship programming workshops across the globe
“Lingo represents something that I wish that I had growing up,” she said in an interview with WTOP News.“In many respects, I’m excited to be able to contribute this, especially in the moment where there are a lot of students who are at home and they’re in need of camp support, academic activities so that they can continue their learning and they don’t regress.”