To increase elementary school students’ aptitude in math and science and their interest in pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) career fields, by having them engage in interactive, team-based engineering projects.
The Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) was started in 2007 in Washington, DC with a grant from Battelle and has since expanded to 12 cities across the USA and has served more than 3,500 student’s since it’s inception. We are currently able to reach students in the following cities:
The Summer Engineering Experience for Kids’ program, (SEEK), is the National Society of Black Engineers’ (NSBE) premiere solution to the horrible underrepresentation of African American students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. The free, three week program is a STEM pipeline designed to expose African American children to STEM fields as early as the third grade and through the twelfth grade. In addition, this exposure will be provided by utilizing NSBE members, who are young, Black, collegiate students, majoring in STEM fields. From its inception, NSBE’s SEEK program quickly established itself as the largest STEM program for African American children and mentors in the nation!
It is an undisputed fact that a significant disparity persists in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) participation rates among African Americans, as represented by data from the National Science Foundation (Hill, 2000; Hill & Johnson, 2004). African Americans continue to be marginalized in their preparation to compete with mainstream America for technical science and engineering jobs.
While the U.S. continues its historic and unique role as a leader among nations, the low number of students pursuing STEM degrees and the relative absence of underrepresented students in the STEM pipeline is becoming ever more critical, and the continuation of this trend could threaten our preeminent status. As scientific and technological requirements grow and as demographic trends indicate increasing national diversity, our nation needs to prepare students so they can contribute their talents and expertise as they initiate and support cutting-edge research.
Industry and government initiatives to recruit and retain a high-quality workforce with the appropriate academic qualifications and skill sets are hindered by the low numbers of students, especially underrepresented students, who pursue and obtain degrees in STEM. As an example, a study by the National Center for Education Statistics (2003) shows that master's degrees awarded to African-American (5.37%) and (3.29%) Hispanic students and the number of doctoral degrees awarded to African-American (2.36%) and Hispanic (2.14%) continue to be alarmingly disproportionate in the STEM disciplines.
There is considerable national concern about America’s current and future global competitiveness, arising out of the country’s declining competitiveness in STEM fields. That concern has reached the highest levels of government, as exemplified by President Obama’s Change the Equation initiative, a CEO-led effort to dramatically improve STEM education. The initiative is part of a broader White House Educate to Innovate campaign designed to lead American students to supremacy in science and math achievement over the next decade. In fact, the President further signaled the importance of STEM education with a mention of the issue in his January 25, 2011 State of the Union address.
NSBE created SEEK to address the underrepresentation of African Americans students in STEM fields, to ensure the Black middle class and to help America remain competitive. NSBE provides early STEM exposure to students beginning in 3rd grade through the 12th grade.
The SEEK Program succeeds in providing:
Positive, African American, collegiate NSBE members as role models
Annual engagement, i.e. Retention
No eligibility requirements
SEEK is a unique engineering program in several ways:
Since the summer of 2007, NSBE conducted 14 SEEK programs in Washington DC, Columbus OH, San Diego and Oakland CA. SEEK is a three week STEM Program in itself has had more African – American students in one setting. Previous SEEK Academies administered by NSBE were so successful that they generated local and national media coverage, in particular a segment on Good Morning America
NSBE SEEK programs have increased student’s knowledge of STEM fields. This data was gathered from a brief pre- and post- assessment developed for the participants, along with surveys for their parents and mentors.