The UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM) is using the $2.4 million grant they received from the National Science Foundation to introduce more STEM programs to Black girls in middle and high school.
The C-Stem Center received the grant last month as part of a new initiative aimed at spearheading engineering and robotics programs and resources to lead Black girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Now, UC Davis has unveiled the Ujima Girls in Robotics Leadership Project that will welcome middle and high school girls to the program’s inaugural class in 2022, UC Davis reports. The free program will be a “hands-on” experience that teaches “engineering and leadership in a culturally relevant environment.”
“This is an exciting opportunity to further encourage 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,” said Faheemah Mustafaa, assistant professor in the UC Davis School of Education and one of the initiative’s three project leaders.
“I am hopeful about the mutually empowering benefit of this project for the participants, our research team, and everyone else involved.”
Women continue to be greatly underrepresented in the STEM workforce, studies show. The numbers are even lower when it comes to how many Black women take up careers in the field. But programs like the Ujima project are hoping to change that.
Through the program, Black college students will be paired with an Ujima GIRL to help develop a curriculum, aimed at creating a “mentoring pipeline” that’ll foster the continued growth of the student in hopes of them becoming a future mentor to another Ujima GIRL.
“This grant will illuminate the talent that our Black girls already have inside them and provide a safe and nurturing environment for growth and development,” said project co-lead Teresa Aldredge, senior advisor to the C-STEM Center. “I’m honored to be a part of this important endeavor for our community.”