We are celebrating International Black Women’s History Month, which is to unify the community by promoting visibility, education, empowerment, contribution and achievement that positively impacts communities across the globe.
In this issue we highlight a gifted and talented Black Woman who is "Making A Difference" (MAD) in her community through STEM education.
Michelle Massie, Founder and Executive Director of STEM is Childs Play Foundation, Inc. – a 501(c)3 nonprofit STEM program for underserved gifted students – knows how to stimulate the intellectual capabilities of gifted students.
A gifted student beginning in the 3rd grade, Ms. Massie attended the prestigious Bronx High School of Science in NYC and Northeastern University where she majored in Mathematics.
The organization’s mission is to significantly increase the number of women and people of color in STEM fields through education, support, and advocacy. Operating for over 5 years in Albuquerque, NM, the nonprofit works with the University of New Mexico and many middle schools teaching a variety of fun and interactive STEM projects to prepare kids for college or any higher education program and show them how to get there.
“I came up with the name “STEM is Childs Play” because our approach is to “play”, says founder Michelle Massie. “Kids are having so much fun they don’t realize they are learning” she added.
“Our Student Teaching Student model works best for us because kids react and learn differently when younger people teach them. We hire high school and college students to help teach our classes because not only do they learn from teaching, but they also learn valuable skills in the process. The biggest benefit is our instructors gain job experience they can put on their resume” says Ms. Massie.
The organization also works with kids with disabilities. “We find differently-abled kids to be very receptive to STEM fields, naturally curious, and eager to absorb information” says Ms. Massie. The organization have experience working with all types of students and puts students from different backgrounds together so they can learn from each other.
Built into the STEM program curriculum are critical thinking skills for solving real-life problems, which enables kids to explore different fields and figure out what they like or don’t like. The program schedules trips/tours and invites guest speakers to classes to talk about real-life scenarios of the subject matter and how they selected their respective fields of study.
The STEM is Childs Play program is made possible by a village of community partners, businesses, government officials, parents, and teachers.
Partnership includes: Airforce Research Labs, Tuskegee Airmen, Sandia National Laboratories, University of New Mexico Health Sciences School of Medicine & Engineering, Cliffs Amusement Park, The Isotopes, The Museum of Natural History & Science, Explora!, Prima Institute, and CNM.
Operating under a fiscal sponsor for five years, the organization recently received its 501(c)3 status. Ms. Massie is now planning to build a strong Board and raise funds. Find out how you can help this program or become a Board Member at: firstname.lastname@example.org.