Support from First Lady Sandra Granger, the Diaspora and Local  Sponsors make STEM Camps Possible for Guyanese Youth

Support from First Lady Sandra Granger, the Diaspora and Local Sponsors make STEM Camps Possible for Guyanese Youth

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Asha and Caleb at 100 Black Men Robotics club where they were filmed for Facebook documentary

The sibling team of Ima, Asha, Caleb and Joshua Christian, although US-born,

have spent many summers in Guyana, attended summer enrichment programs in

Guyana, and are directly connected to Guyana through their involved parents,

former National Team Basketball players Karen Abrams and Leon Christian.

Since emigrating, the parent Christians have never allowed distance to hamper

their contributions to Guyana, whether through representing the country in

several Caribbean basketball championships, investing in a local business,

contributing to local civic efforts, or now inspiring their children to share their

technology knowledge with local students in Guyana. The husband and wife team

feel a strong sense of duty to contribute to the development of Guyana.

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Asha and Caleb accepting the award for $22,000 for the Innovating Justice Challenge at the Hague, Netherlands in 2015.

Karen Abrams said, “After Ima and Asha expressed their interest in a technology

camp in Guyana, I shared the idea with the First Lady Sandra Granger during her

2015 trip to Georgia, USA.  She immediately loved the idea, and responded that

we should contact her again as we got closer to the camp date.  As we approached

Summer 2016, the First Lady reached out to ask for an update.  I was amazed at

her enthusiasm and willingness to help; her outreach sealed the deal.

I then called up my childhood friend, Chair of the Mathematics Department at

Medgar Evers College, Dr Terrence Blackman, and told him about the proposed

program. He had already been a part of a planning committee for a maths camp

at Queens College, so he suggested that we join forces, and we did.  Another call

to a generous benefactor, and all of the locations were organized.  We have been

extremely lucky to have received the overwhelming support that we did. For that

we are grateful.”

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Christian family at awards banquet sponsored by Women In Technology, where Asha was honored for her contributions in technology.

Since both Leon and Karen worked in the technology industry in the United

States, all four Christian children were exposed to technology like Lego Robotics

building and while very young.  In addition, they were exposed to MIT Scratch

Programming as youngsters, and were always encouraged to pursue advanced

Math and Science classes in school.

That background paid off when they used their technical knowledge to Google

search their way through the creation of a mobile app called Five-O, which was

created to allow citizens to rate, review, and track their interactions with law

enforcement officers all across the United States.  The team won national and

international attention for their work on Five-O, but more importantly, they

knew that it was necessary for them to pass on what they had learned along the

way.

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Diaspora Guyanese Gairy Moore donates USD$1000 to the STEM program. Funds were received by Ima and Asha Christian

Ima, who is 18 years old and in her second year as a Stanford University

undergraduate, and her 17-year old sibling Asha, who is a MIT Mite alumna, took

the lead to design an introductory Lego Robotics curriculum which will focus

on careers in technology, how robots are used in the world today, applications of

robot technology in Guyanese society, and the fundamentals of building and

programming Lego Mindstorm EV3 robots.

“Lego Robotics is quite popular in the United States and across all levels of school

from K-12 to University level,” said Ima Christian.  “Lego Robotics is a fun and

multidisciplinary approach to teaching programming concepts and reinforcing

concepts like determination, creativity, innovation and problem solving which

young people need to be successful in all industries,” said Caleb Christian.

The team revealed that planning for the camp has been non-stop work, but they

are excited and look forward to their interaction with students and adults

interested in setting up STEM Clubs in Guyana.

“This project would not have been possible without the generosity of a group of

around fifty supporters from the Diaspora

Please support our sponsors

Sponsors who made the program possible

who contributed nearly US$8,000 to purchase robots and supplies for the camp.

Many individuals and sponsors came forward to support us without hesitating.

Some of them reached out to contact us to offer their support.  The local

companies, Noble House Seafoods, Backyard Barbecue and Grill, Church’s

Guyana, Bruster’s Guyana, Metro Office and Computer Supplies, Nigel Hughes,

R&S Fishing, Lusignan-Good Hope Learning Center, Friendship Primary

School and Herdmanston Lodge were the local organizations that pitched in without hesitation.

Additionally, representatives from the Ministry of Education and the Telecommunications Ministry have been helpful.

Specifically, the Director of Sports, Mr Christoper Jones, and the  Minister of

Education, Honorable Rupert Roopnarine have both expressed support for our

project,” said Karen Abrams.  Overall, some key local officials have been

supportive.

In the Diaspora, Caribbean International Shipping of Lithonia, Georgia, and the

New York-based non-profit organization Guyana Action Committee were also

extremely generous with their support.

The STEM team will arrive next week on two different flights to Guyana.  On July

19 th , they will host a workshop for community groups interested in creating STEM

clubs. On July 20 th , another workshop will be held for Camp Volunteers.  Both

workshops will be held at Saint Roses High School, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The first robotics camp for Guyanese students will be held on July 21 st at Saint

Roses High School from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Additional camps are scheduled for

Tiger Bay and Queens College during the week of July 25 th , while the camps for

Buxton and Lusignan are scheduled during the week of August 1 st . For more

information, e-mail stemguyana@gmail.com or see their website at

http://stemguyana.com. The team can also be reached by WhatsApp at 770-402-

5857.