Tupac once said, “I’m not saying I’m going to change the world but I guarantee I will spark the brain that will change the world.” I hear you Pac. Me too.
I believe the “underrepresented” have the potential to be the solution to the critical lack of diversity in the Technology Industry. They just need that spark. My vision is to provide it.
I founded our 501c3 non-profit corporation 1600 Avenue, and our flagship Program Hip Hop Leaders, to energize both at-risk youth and the STEM community. I know hip hop has the power to inspire a whole generation of young minds. To help this talent reach their potential, Hip Hop Leaders harnesses this power by using our students’ love of hip hop. We deliver innovative educational initiatives that incorporate hip hop. Learning becomes interactive and fun, which inspires underrepresented students to start viewing science, technology, engineering, and math in a completely different and positive way.
The vision is not just to increase our students’ capacity to excel in academia. I believe there must be equal commitment to deliver mind-opening exposures to otherwise culturally landlocked kids. Hip Hop Leaders creates a Global STEM classroom primarily through the use of technology. This created learning environment will allow our students to collaborate with the Global Hip Hop Community and experience the world in a new way. The result I expect is a more KNOWLEDGEABLE young engineer in training, with increased passion, and a greater sense of social responsibility. I strongly believe these exposures help our students realize a stronger sense of belonging and being part of something bigger than themselves. The end result of our programs is our students become not just STEM smarter, but better people also.
Equally important to my vision, is discussing what maybe a forgotten truth with the STEM and Silicon Valley Community. There are a lot of smart young people right here in America. We, as well as many other dedicated educators, believe it makes business sense to invest in developing this potential brilliance “at-home”. We believe, the currently rapidly expanding demand for skilled STEM workers, one day can be met through students in programs like Hip Hop Leaders. We believe our approach will complement the already great work so many educators and mentors are doing.