STEM Mindset is making a difference!
STEM Mindset is a 501(c)(3) youth-led organization with the mission of spreading STEM to underrepresented youth. Its founder and president is a high school student, Allie Eisenberg.
Allie’s inspiration came from the co-founder and retired chairman of the tech giant Infosys, Narayana Murthy, who once said,
“Progress is often equal to the difference between mind and mindset.”
Hence, her vision for the organization is to focus on creating a community for underrepresented youth (the end users) in STEM that is more than just workshops but also includes a whole “mindset” as part of its approach, including a range of programs in related fields as well as mentoring. She hopes that students are able to utilize the free resources and our community support to achieve progress. STEM Mindset signifies an inclusive approach to building a diverse community that provides support to everyone directly from youth to youth.This is the conception of STEM Mindset (https://www.stemmindset.org), an organization that aims to make STEM education more accessible and to increase interest in these fields among youth underrepresented in STEM. Since its founding last year, STEM Mindset has become a 501(c)(3) organization, started working with J.P. Morgan Chase, ran over 20 workshops and events, increased its team, and made an impact on over 300 kids globally.
The founder and president of STEM Mindset, Allie, has always been interested in STEM as early as elementary school where she built an electrical circuit board for a fair. Over time, her interest stemmed to technology, having participated in a Biotechnology summer program at the John Hopkins Center; studying an engineering course at high school; and conducting an independent study research project to develop a prosthetic hand. Additionally, Allie is an advocate for change. In the past, she has facilitated a camp for girls interested in STEM, and has been her school’s ambassador for the Bit by Bit organization with the aim to collaborate on the Breaking the Barrier for Girls in Technology Conference since the spring of 2020.
When the pandemic closed all in-person activities, Allie saw the struggle many children experienced due to not being able to participate in afterschool activities because their parents were front line workers or had other constraints. And so, she wanted to find a way to help them by putting to use her interest in technology. She, along with a classmate, decided to offer free online computer science workshops to children affected by the pandemic. After having success teaching workshops to her local community, Allie contacted others in her network to further expand the number and variety of workshops, to reach more students. Specifically, she reached out to non-profit organizations she was already working with: Bit By Bit NYC and STEM You Can to develop programs. They collaboratively taught over two hundred kids across the globe in spring and summer of 2020. After working with these children, Allie recognized the need to create an organization that offers year-round programs, mentoring, and most importantly a community for youth underrepresented in STEM. Thus, the idea for STEM Mindset was born.
As part of the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program 2020, Allie built the website for STEM Mindset, and began the work on developing the organization. She reached out to Alice Lisak, a fellow high school student interested in STEM and together they collaborated on further expanding the organization and recruiting other teens to join the mission of STEM Mindset. Bhavini Pandey and Haoran (Sara) Li immediately stepped up to join the board of directors and over time other passionate students joined in a variety of roles (https://www.stemmindset.org/team).
The team at STEM Mindset believes that all children in America deserve a great future. And as STEM jobs in the United States are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as other fields by 2025, STEM education is critical for the success of the youth. Nevertheless, there is a shortage of interested students as well as adequately prepared K-12 students in STEM subjects. This gap is especially seen among minority youth, which includes children of color and women. As early as the fourth grade, there are visible gaps in science and math achievement for African-Americans, Latinos and American Indians/Alaska Natives. Furthermore, while 40 percent of male high school students express an interest in STEM fields, only 15 percent of female high school students show an interest. This opportunity gap in STEM education is constantly widening and will continue to do so unless organizations develop pathways for more underrepresented youth to succeed in STEM careers.
'Introduction to Coding' workshop with Allie Eisenberg (President and Founder), Alice Lisak (Vice President), and Bhavini Pandey (Director of Outreach)
While STEM Mindset’s focus is to make STEM education more accessible and to increase interest among youth by teaching a variety of free virtual workshops and running various events, the organization has been expanding to other areas to make an even greater impact. The initial focus was on technology-related workshops, such as Introduction to Coding, Introduction to Python, App Design, Game Development, etc. Recently, the organization has been expanding to other related and supporting fields, such as Debate, to facilitate the development of critical thinking and communication-related skills. Allie and her team are also working on adding a Cybersecurity curriculum, as well as a mentorship program in the coming weeks, as their current school semester wraps up.
By teaching a variety of free virtual workshops, running various events, offering mentoring, and developing a community where everyone can feel welcome, STEM Mindset is sure that they can foster greater participation in STEM across a diverse group of kids!