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Summer Program Engages Boys in STEM


Many of the boys participating in this Howard University summer program already have a love of STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math.)

I’m hoping to get more information about technology since I go to a math and IT school,” 11-year-old Maurice Williams told ABC7 News.

For three weeks of the summer, the 100 middle school-aged boys from the D.C.-area are digging deeply into design, technology, and science through the Verizon Innovative Learning program.

Mario Acosta-Velez is Director of State Government Affairs for Verizon and said, “They will be working with mentors who will teach them about these technologies and how to learn about specific aspects of coding, 3D printing, and other STEM fields.”

The program is being implemented at 24 colleges and universities around the country. Verizon awarded Howard University a $300,000 grant to offer the program over two years. It’s an opportunity for students to engage in robotics, augmented reality, even entrepreneurship training.

We want to ensure that not only minority boys but minority communities in general have access to technology education and resources so they can prepare for the careers of the future,” Acosta-Velez said.

At 11 years old, Obatunde Williams sees the value of the program.

“I think this is really great because some kids don’t get to learn this stuff and if you want to get particular in this field, you can,” he said.

The Verizon Innovative Learning summer program invites students to return to Howard University throughout the year for monthly STEM education courses and mentoring.

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