Guest article provided by boundlessbrilliance.org
Brilliance is defined as “exceptional talent or intelligence, vividness of color”, and for far too many years this has been a description used to describe men; and certainly hasn’t been greatly assigned to people of color.
When we see images of brilliance, particularly in the STEM field, those images are primarily of white men. They are whom society has conditioned us to envision when we think about a scientist, a capable physician, or a credible engineer and architect; and of course the laborers, who work under their supervision are of varying shades of Brown.
The problem is that the ubiquitous nature of these images and societal messages regarding brilliance, or intelligence, actually has an impact on the psyche of a developing child. And it is this realization that led to the founding of Boundless Brilliance in 2017 by three undergraduate students majoring in STEM at Occidental College.
After reading a study in Science Magazine (Bian et al., Science 355, 389–391 (2017) which concluded that by age six, girls identify intelligence as a predominantly male trait. The founders were shocked by this finding and knew they needed to take immediate action.
Boundless Brilliance sets out to change all of this. Our mission is “to educate, empower, and engage students in order to close the gender gap in STEM fields”; and we “envision a future of STEM leadership that is as diverse as the world in which we live”.
We truly believe that Brilliance is Boundless, and this means that there are no limits to what we can imagine and achieve, or what an individual student can accomplish when we address their individual barriers to success. We begin the work of Cultivating Brilliance, (1) by upholding the fact that all children are born with equal & innate abilities for learning, (2) acknowledging the role of social determinants of health that may impact their wellbeing, and (3) by removing barriers to accessibility by bringing resources into classrooms and communities.
Our core programming involves: the delivery of school-based workshops which are conducted as 45-minute presentations, provided at no charge, which are facilitated by two trained college chapter volunteers to classrooms of approximately 25 elementary school students. These presentations include hands-on STEM experiments and empowerment activities. Our presentations are aligned with the grade-specific requirements of LAUSD’s accepted Next Generation Science Standards, which allows us to engage students in their classrooms during the school day.
Having these presentations conducted in the classroom increases accessibility to STEM because it removes the barriers of time, transportation, and cost. For example, parents of under-resourced students do not have to find monies to pay the cost of after school or summer camp STEM-immersion classes, when their children participate in our workshops.
Additionally, we partner with other community organizations, schools, businesses, and others to provide our unique brand of empowering STEM workshops at community events.
At this time, Boundless Brilliance is particularly seeking support in publishing and distributing an interactive STEM workbook.
More about opportunities to receive AND give a copy of the workbook to a student in need here. It is truly a meaningful gift to give to a child in your life, and a deserving child, in need of this resource.
Will you assist us in our mission to expand access to STEM?
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Boundless Brilliance, please contact us at [email protected]
Photo provided by Pixabay