Minority Male Makers: Verizon invests in STEM education for minority boys


— This summer marks the official launch of the Minority Male Makers program, a first-of-its-kind, two-year program created by Verizon, that gives minority middle school boys hands-on learning experiences with advanced technology and opening their eyes to many of the exciting professional possibilities that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and entrepreneurship skills can offer. Ultimately, the Minority Male Makers Program aims to empower a new generation of minority men by giving them lifelong technology and entrepreneurship skills to build the innovations of tomorrow and create brighter futures for themselves and their families.

Morgan State University is one of four leading Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the nation that are directing this pioneering program, instructing the students daily during intensive, all-day technology classes on campus this summer. The students will also be partnered with minority college men as mentors, in collaboration with the National CARES Mentoring Movement.

Students are currently participating in all-day workshops, four to five days per week, for approximately four weeks at Morgan State University, which began July 6 and runs until July 31, 2015.

Morgan’s curriculum for the program is unique and focuses on skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and a range of STEM disciplines, such as app design and development; computer programming; basic coding; modeling; 3D design and printing; and robotics. During the 2015-2016 school year, the students will participate in check-in sessions once to twice a month, which will include mentoring and support in their academic progress.

The impacts of the program will be measured by a combination of pre- and post-test surveys conducted with the students at various stages of the program. Changes in students’ performances on standardized and achievement assessments will also be tracked to determine impacts from the program.

Minority Male Makers has been in development for more than a year and was developed by Verizon to address an urgent need. Minority males are severely underrepresented in STEM fields and are less likely than Caucasian peers to graduate from high school in four years and pursue college, according to experts. While, in recent years much attention has been paid to empowering girls in these subject areas, very few programs exist that specifically work with boys to spark their interest in STEM disciplines.