Talent takes time to develop, and building skills at an early age can help maximize potential.
That’s what FullBlast STEAM aims to do by organizing educational activities for young people focusing on science, technology, engineering, art and math.
The organization teamed with The Be. Org, an organization that encourages the local young people to pursue excellence, to run the second annual Youth Tech Con event on Oct. 12 through a partnership with Minority Innovation Weekend 2019 in the Thumel Business Center of University of Baltimore. It was part of Baltimore Innovation Week.
One of two conferences run by The Be. Org annually, Youth Tech Con aims to provide an opportunity to learn new skills, and test them out through a coding, drone and robotics workshop.
Tech skills aren’t the only part of the equation. According to Tonee Lawson, executive director of The Be. Org, the day began with a team-building workshop centered on social and emotional learning, and youth received points throughout the day in areas such as communication and collaboration.
The Be. Org led marketing, securing financial resources, programming, operations, logistics, outreach and execution for the event.
FullBlast STEAM founder Muhammad Najee-Ullah said this event allows young people in Baltimore to gain experiences that he didn’t have as a child such as coding, robotics and drone technology.
“I was into these things, but I didn’t have access to resource and space,” Najee-Ullah said. “We weren’t pushed towards these sorts of things.”
Steven Joseph, an instructor at the event, led children in building small robots with various parts such as wings and tires.
Joseph said he also didn’t have access to such a program when he was a child. He hopes that early exposure to robotics and programming can propel children to pursue those crafts long term.
“It’s [about] getting to them early and they’ll build on it for the rest of their lives,” Joseph said.
Moving forward, Najee-Ullah said he is looking to get more support from community stakeholders in order to gain access to larger spaces. He stressed that his main priority is reaching as many young people as possible to make a positive impact on minorities gaining employment in the tech industry.
“We’re here to fill that gap as much as possible and be a hub for STEAM-based activities,” he said.-30-
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