“Simone. Off the top of your head, tell me about a popular African person in Tech?”
I sat on the phone, quiet for a moment. I know this. Well, I should know this. So why couldn’t I think of someone right away.
“Those women from the movie Hidden Figures,” I responded, laughing because I had not given a name. I was speaking with Patrick Monize, CEO & Founder of BrainTech Robotics STEM LC, and I had no idea that our interview would have started off with a quiz.
“It’s okay Simone,” he laughed. “There are a lot of people who cannot answer that question. Our students know basketball players, baseball players, hip hop artists, but who knows a black programmer, black engineer.”
“I think that maybe I am the perfect candidate for one of your programs,” I replied, a little embarrassed, but now intrigued.
Patrick Monize identified a large gap in African student’s education, and quickly filled that gap when he established BrainTech Robotics STEM Learning Centre. “It is clear that we are not up to speed in the realm of STEM learning,” Patrick began. “My partner Christopher Lafayette and I are working together to provide access to programs that students cannot find in school. We knew when we looked at our education system that we needed to build this platform.”
BrainTech Robotics has found a comprehensive way to bring the world of technology to our young people and African students. Their programs are hands-on, and promote the usage of behaviours and skills. The programs offered build facility with core literacies and their application. Yes, they talk real science, but there’s real fun, too. Participants of the program have an opportunity to work with peers their age who share the same passions.
The programs have six empowerment building stages:
Build mastery and confidence
It is important that our youth take ownership of their decisions. Many underestimate their abilities, and BrainTech helps them recognize what they are truly capable of.
Holistic approach to clear misconceptions
Students will learn more about mind-set, and how their mind-set impacts their sense of self.
This program is wonderfully supportive of the underrepresented females in STEM programs. Participants are able to witness strong race representation in leadership roles.
Recognize and showcase talents
Participants have the chance to showcase their talents during design focal events.
Encourage exploration and discovery
Students are encouraged to engage both independently and collectively using technology and innovation. They learn to embrace new technologies without fear or hesitation.
Engage real world applications
Success is achieved when students are able to apply what they have learned to real life scenarios. STEM engagements teach youth to adapt the concepts that they learn to various iterations when solving a problem or issue.
What I truly appreciated about this program is the fact that is being marketed to young African women. “Women have a place in STEM,” Patrick tells me. “When we are looking for participants for the programs, our first choice is usually African women living in the diaspora. We do welcome all students who would like to be part of the program, but our aim is to empower our young African women between the ages of 7 – 17. There is a need for equitable representation of women, especially women of colour in STEM careers.”
“How has COVID-19 affected your efforts?” I queried.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better circumstance,” Patrick replied. “You look for the positive in all situations. There has been a lack of interaction because of COVID-19. Our students are not doing their work, and because of this, we are providing FREE access from May 15th – August 15th. We have 100 kids so far, but our goal is to enrol 2,000 students on the portal. We want to be able to show the school boards that this is what students want.”
This summer, students across North America will have access to four products provided through BrainTech Robotics:
POLLI (Personal Online Learning)
ARIS Digital Sandbox
Flowing lava, rising oceans, Mars surface discovery, animal migration. The Digital Sandbox is an exciting, new learning tool that opens a world of possibilities for children to explore and discover
Race Car Simulator
This workshop offers an enriched program for young minds to team-up and engage in amazing builds and programming of Drones, Robotics, Androids, Battlebots, Modules and all things tech.
These workshops focus on developing practical skills of building and programming robots, which offers total hands-on integration with building blocks to make robots.
“We have been engaging in conversations with Big Brother, Big Sister, Sick Kids Hospital, any organizations that work with children,” Patrick informs me. “It is our responsibility as a community organization to provide accessibility to those who have, and those who do not have.”
For more information you can visit Braintech Robotics at https://braintechrobotics.com, and if you register with code# PMP937* you have a chance of winning a 1-year Membership https://portal.braintechrobotics.com/sign-up-polli/
I wonder if Patrick would consider opening up this platform for female adults. All of a sudden, I am curious.
We, as humans are guaranteed certain things in life: stressors, taxes, bills, and death are the first thoughts that pop to mind. It is not uncommon that many people find a hard time dealing with these daily life stressors, and at times will find themselves losing control over their lives. Simone Jennifer Smith’s great passion is using the gifts that have been given to her, to help educate her clients on how to live meaningful lives. The Hear to Help Team consists of powerfully motivated individuals, who like Simone, see that there is a need in this world; a need for real connection. As the founder and Director of Hear 2 Help, Simone leads a team that goes out into the community day to day, servicing families with their educational, legal, and mental health needs. Her dedication shows in her Toronto Caribbean newspaper articles, and in her role as a host on the TCN TV Network.