SACRAMENTO, Calif — Nick Haystings, an environmental engineer, left the world he knew to become what he calls a social engineer, in an effort to give back to his community.
His project, the Square Root Academy, takes kids from at-risk and lower income neighborhoods and introduces them to the Sciences, Math, Engineering and Technology, aka STEM education. This is access they don't have in their traditional school settings.
"The world we're growing up in is not just your neighbors or your school, you're competing globally, so he needs to be able to do that on that level," Tiffany Hunter said as she explained why she enrolled her son Jovan Green into the Square Root Academy.
These students get a crash course into the STEM world. This is not through tests and lectures, but actual hands-on creations.
"I like mostly coding. We make speakers and things like that," Green said. "My mom told me about it when I was in the sixth grade."
The program is led by real world professionals who meet with students on weekends, when most kids would rather be home playing video games or sleeping.
"These programs are in every other community, in mass, and so in our community, you're just not seeing them as much," Tiffany said.
Green says it's giving him the opportunity to really get an idea of what he wants to be when he grows up. He's considering either being an engineer or a chef, because at the end of the day, its all about making green.
"I look at it from the perspective of somebody else that's working on the games and stuff that you're playing with that's profiting off of you," Green said. "Because you don't want to be the consumer. You want to be the person that makes stuff."
The entrepreneurial mindset is already at work for Green. For other kids in the program, this is serious access to concepts and ideas they might not have had otherwise. The Square Root Academy serves students from fifth through 12th grade and switches the curriculum up for different grade levels.
And no matter if your kid is just starting out with STEM work or is already looking for a STEM related career, there's something for them.
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