The Center for Educational Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (“CEESTEM”) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose goal is to increase underrepresented minority youth participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields (“STEM”) by (i) providing hands-on STEM instruction, mentoring and support to youth enrolled in 5th through 12th grades, (ii) involving parents in the education of their children, and (iii) engaging youth in the study and appreciation of fine and applied arts, in a holistic approach to education—educating the “whole” mind through analytic and creative activities.
CEESTEM Student Population
The targeted audience is African American and Latino youth enrolled in 5th through 12th grades whose potential has not been recognized by traditional evaluation methodologies, e.g. GPA and test scores. The CEESTEM will partner with local school administration, churches, and youth organizations to identify targeted students. Assistantships will be provided to participants and will be based on household income. Monies for assistantships will be obtained from donations from contributors and proceeds from fundraisers.
CEESTEM Saturday Academy
The CEESTEM hosts a monthly Saturday Academy. The morning sessions consists of hands-on STEM instruction. Local engineering students serve as project mentors for the STEM teams. Each team consists of 5-6 students each focusing on a specific STEM area. In addition to obtaining hands-on experience in STEM, the students learn group cooperative and collaboration skills. The afternoon sessions include music and art classes, mentoring/discussion sessions, motivational speakers, seminars, and field trips. Studies show that parental support encourages student achievement. However, many youth-based centers fail to incorporate this all-important component into their programs. CEESTEM offers afternoon parent/caregiver sessions that include strategies for enhancing student achievement and parental exposure to innovative STEM educational activities. To provide additional support to and role models for the students, members of minority organizations, such as, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) serve as mentors.
CEESTEM Summer Camp
The CEESTEM offers a 1-4week summer camp comprised of STEM instruction, music and art classes, mentoring/discussion sessions, motivational speakers, and field trips. The monthly Saturday Academy resumes during the academic school year (September through May).
Resulting products from this work include a CEESTEM Fair, where students present their STEM and art projects as well as perform in a musical concert. The CEESTEM Fair and Concert Performance is open to the public; thereby obtaining exposure to the local community and creating community interest and future partnerships.