The HOTSpot is a curriculum and newly-founded organization whose mission is to increase levels of access, awareness, and active participation in STEAM programming amongst underserved and underrepresented community members of the Greater Newark Area of New Jersey.
A history of personal interest and involvement, and a network of mentorship and support lit the fire under my mission to connect motivated individuals who may be interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) with STEAM Professionals (and semi-pros) who have a relationship or general affinity with the underserved community. My goal of nurturing and mentoring the former into developing paths to collegiate-level STEAM education and the STEAM workforce gave rhyme and reason to my plan. I would pull from my experiences and skills acquired at ITP and pour them into the design of a fun and culturally relevant STEAM program curriculum for my community members.
In alignment with my mission and in light of my past experiences and new discoveries, I have posed the question: “How can I help to increase the levels of awareness, access, and active participation in STEAM-related programs amongst residents (aged 11-17) of underserved communities, specifically the Greater Newark Area?”
Over the course of the semester, I have researched and spoken with several educators and parents regarding what has been available to students in Newark, NJ and surrounding neighborhoods, as far as STEAM programming goes. I found that while science is appreciated and art beloved within the Greater Newark community, extracurricular STEAM-related programming geared toward its core residents is, at best, inaccessible to the masses.
In an effort to reach those black and brown teens within Greater Newark who will be going to college fairly soon, I attempted to conduct outreach for workshop participants on social media, through family and friends, at two high schools that I had attended, a public library, and the Newark Housing Authority via the Training Recreation Education Center (TREC) where I now hold a partnership and will be hosting The HOTSpot’s STEAM workshops on a weekly basis.