When I started Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link I(SEM Link) in 2005, conversations about preparing youth for the future workforce were focused on science, engineering and mathematics (SEM). Now the conversations are adding technology (STEM) and in some conversations STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and STREAM (science, technology, research, engineering, arts and mathematics). No matter what the initials are in the conversations, one thing they all have in common is that youth need to be adequately prepared for the future workforce.
SEM Link’s vision statement is “unveiling potential through exposure” because I believe that youth make their career decisions based on what they are exposed to. Engagement and exposure are two important components of ensuring that K-12 students are college and career ready; especially in STEM. Exposure and engagement is the essence of our work. We engage youth in hands on STEM activities in their classrooms, out of school time programs and community. We expose youth to the diversity of STEM careers and the diversity (gender, ethnicity, race, nationality, socioeconomic backgrounds) in the STEM workforce. If we want youth to pursue STEM careers, it is important that they see STEM professionals that look like them and are doing things they think they want to do when they grow up.
SEM Link has come a long way since our inception in 2005, when we were serving one middle school in Atlanta. Since our inception in 2005, we have served thousands of youth, worked with over 10 school districts and community organizations and participated in national STEM event such as the USA Science and Engineering Festival. We still have plenty of work to do in order to help create the next generation of STEM professionals. I ask that you helping me to continue this work by supporting us by making a financial contribution, volunteering, supporting our programs and events. Thank you for support our mission of promoting student achievement and career exploration in math and science by connecting them to the STEM community.
Tokiwa T. Smith
Founder and Executive Director