Support SF BayView
Donate or Subscribe to SF Bay View
Follow Us Twitter Facebook

Got scientists? Double Rock do!

May 3, 2014

by ‘Brotha Clint’ Sockwell II, Program Director, 180 SIMBA-Lion Kings

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics! It has a nice ring to it, huh?

Where do children of color fit into these four ways of thinking, in regards to the future of America? Right in the center! Yes, right in the middle!

UNCF STEM College to Career Expo at Fort Mason 040514-1 by Lance Burton, PFC, web

So many things to see, do and learn at the STEM College to Career Expo at Fort Mason, presented by the United Negro College Fund – the children’s fascination with a little robot and with the latest handheld devices shows that even the youngest among us can be the greatest of our scientists. Just ask the Young Lions from the SIMBA-Lion Kings, a manhood training class at Bret Harte Elementary School Afterschool Program, serving the children of Double Rock in Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco, who took a field trip to the expo. – Photo: Lance Burton, Planet Fillmore Communications

Recently, I had the pleasure of escorting a group of boys and young men to a “most excellent” display of the coming opportunities for those who have an affinity for STEM, or Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, it was called. Presented by the United Negro College Fund, it was the STEM College to Career Expo at Fort Mason.

We gathered in front of Bret Harte Elementary School, which stands in the shadow of Candlestick Park on Gilman Street. We woke up at dark thirty for an 8:00 a.m. call! Daniel Miranda, the afterschool director for the SIMBA-Lion Kings, a manhood training class for fourth and fifth graders, teaches social and emotional skills to young boys in the neighborhood.

They call themselves a “pride” and the members are referred to as young lions. Brotha Clint is the Lion King of this particular pride and is joined by other men in the community who know the value of our children’s imaginations and recognize that they are naturals when it comes to STEM – if given the opportunity!

Where do children of color fit into these four ways of thinking, in regards to the future of America? Right in the center! Yes, right in the middle!

I was pleased with the way the achievers took to it all! Even the nourishment that was provided by Cheryl Chambers and the UNCF team, who presented the expo, was thoughtful and healthy. This, for a “lil brotha” not promised a good breakfast every day, makes for a good way to greet the day. And greet the day they did!

The expo was very well executed in its desire to educate us on what the future holds for young people in STEM. There were wonderful panel discussions on all things STEM, which made it easy for a high school or college student to navigate his or her way to success in the sciences.

The Double Rock Young Lions eagerly registered and signed up, investigated, tried out and learned a whole lot from every exhibit at the STEM College to Career Expo. STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics. They took to STEM like ducks to water – natural born scientists and engineers. – Photo: Lance Burton, Planet Fillmore Communications

The Double Rock Young Lions eagerly registered and signed up, investigated, tried out and learned a whole lot from every exhibit at the STEM College to Career Expo. STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics. They took to STEM like ducks to water – natural born scientists and engineers. – Photo: Lance Burton, Planet Fillmore Communications

However, the vocabulary and the conversations of the grownups went right over the achievers’ heads. I asked one of the achievers if he was going to college; he replied, “I’m goin to the fifth grade next year!”

They were like … WHAT? It was too much blah, blah, blah for them to have fun!

Yet, what did not go over their heads and was just right for their elementary hearts and minds was the technology that was available on the expo floor to play with! It was amazing to see how quickly the achievers were able to engage the vendors that were on the floor of the expo.

Their ability to communicate their feelings and desires in a compelling way was evident as they visited every single vendor. Shaking hands and looking their greeter in the eyes with a happy curiosity, asking what they had on their table and what they had to do to play with it!

Each wore a colorful expo T-shirt that was a bit oversized, which speaks to the fact that our future scientists are younger and smaller then we had anticipated. To them, their attire was of no importance because … there was fun to be had!

They drove wireless rovers that were equipped with cameras, saw how a smart meter works and had the chance to sit at the command table of the PG&E Emergency Mobile Command Vehicle. Each boy had a chance to ride on a wheel that NASA scientists were using to show the effects of centrifugal force on the body and use an expensive digital camera to capture images of their brothers in the pride.

The Young Lions transform paper into helicopters at the STEM College to Career Expo, a project of the United Negro College Fund to encourage Black children to learn the skills that should give them entry into the exploding technology economy – as employees and, better yet, employers. – Photo: Lance Burton, Planet Fillmore Communications

The Young Lions transform paper into helicopters at the STEM College to Career Expo, a project of the United Negro College Fund to encourage Black children to learn the skills that should give them entry into the exploding technology economy – as employees and, better yet, employers. – Photo: Lance Burton, Planet Fillmore Communications

It was like getting treats on Halloween as the achievers moved from vender to vendor hearing of the science they had brought to share and having their expo bags filled up with headphones, puzzles, book bags, pencils, pens and all manner of cool stuff!

As we stood in the pavilion, the achievers brought over helicopters that they had just learned to create from a single small piece of paper with cuts and bends in just the right place to help it fly! I marveled at the fact that it was so easy to get them interested in STEM and anguished at how easy this all CAN be!

Exposure … simply expose our children to STEM and they will learn, understand, value and seek to master it. They are naturals. Next time you are with a child, hand them your cell phone and ask them to operate it. You will be amazed at how savvy they are.

I believe that LUCK is when preparation and opportunity come together. Preparation + Opportunity = LUCK.

Exposure … simply expose our children to STEM and they will learn, understand, value and seek to master it.

Our children will never get lucky and be able to create a fulfilling career in STEM if they are not prepared. They will not be prepared if we don’t create opportunities for them to be exposed to Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics!

For more information on how you can create opportunities for our children, contact:

  • Daniel Miranda, who creates opportunities as the afterschool director at Bret Harte Elementary School, at dmiranda@bacr.org;
  • Lance Burton, who is creating opportunities at PlanetFillmore.com;
  • “Brotha Clint” Sockwell II, who is creating opportunities as program director of 180 SIMBA-Lion Kings: Manhood Training, a pilot program at Bayview Association for Youth; contact him at sevenvirtues@yahoo.com or 510-393-8803.

 

 

Leave a Reply

BayView Classifieds - ads, opportunities, announcements
TOP STORES
RingCentral
Rebtel
Phone.com