Monday, October 24, 2011

Community Event Provides Oakland Youth with Hands-On Science and Math Enrichment

OAKLAND, CA - On Saturday, October 8, 2011, SEM Link, a nonprofit that enhances math and science educational experiences for youth, partnered with Youth Speaks Inc. to host the 1st Annual STEMposium as part of the Youth Speaks Inc Life Is Living Festival. The STEMposium resulted from the collaborative efforts of Youth Speaks Inc; Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link Inc. (SEM Link); I-SEED; Ankh Marketing; the Isis Project; Oakland Public Library and the Oakland Unified School District Office of African American Male Achievement. The purpose of the STEMposium was to engage the community at large, with an emphasis on youth, in discussions about how STEM impacts their community and to engage youth in hands on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities.

The STEMposium kicked off with an official welcome from Tokiwa T. Smith, founder of SEM Link and Aekta Shah of I-SEED. Youth poets from Youth Speaks shared spoken word about life, public health and the community. Student researchers from Oakland Tech, Berkeley High, Skyline High and others gave presentations about their research. The poets and student researchers spoke on a pedal powered stage provided courtesy of Rock the Bike. In an effort to engage youth with hands-on STEM activities and information, resource tables were provided by SEM Link, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Projects, The Crucible, and UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources.  Volunteers from AmeriCorps and the San Francisco State Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) supported SEM Link’s tables of hands on STEM activities and provided general event support. “I was glad that SEM Link was a part of this collaborative of San Francisco Bay Area nonprofits hosting the STEMposium, ” shared Tokiwa T. Smith SEM Link Founder and Executive Director. “[The] Life is Living [Festival] was a fun day for the family.”

In related news, SEM Link was recently awarded a grant from the Mitchell Kapor Foundation's College Bound Brotherhood Program. This funding is the beginning of a relationship between SEM Link and the College Bound Brotherhood program to work together to increase the number of young black men that are prepared for a college education, with an emphasis on STEM careers. SEM Link will utilize the funding for targeted outreach to San Francisco Bay Area young black men to ensure their participation in their existing program activities.

“We are very excited about this partnership with SEM Link. This program is preparing today’s youth for the tomorrow’s jobs and we look forward to their sharing of best practices throughout the Brotherhood Network” said Justin Davis, College Bound Brotherhood Program Director. Organizations that receive funding from the College Bound Brotherhood program will participate in the program events for the 2011-12 program year, which include the “Black and Proud to Be College Bound” conference and the Graduation Celebration.

About SEM Link
Founded in 2005, SEM Link is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization that promotes student achievement and career exploration in math and science for K-12 students by connecting them with individuals with backgrounds in science, engineering and mathematics. SEM Link has a two-core program model, Experimental Design Program and Math and Science Career Academy. These programs provide students with opportunities to develop math and science skills by enhancing the classroom learning experience and teaching them skills that are transferable to other areas of life. For more information about SEM Link visit or contact Ms. Tokiwa T. Smith, Executive Director and Founder, via e-mail at or via phone at 888-600-6294.

Photo credit:  Adam Turner

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