Eastern Michigan University College of Engineering and Technology expands STEM programming with Digital Divas and Digital Dudes Virtual After School Program

Young girls work on a STEM project with an EMU instructor at the 2018 Digital Divas event.
The Digital Divas program was founded in 2010 as a way to attract more female students to STEM classrooms at EMU. The Digital Dudes program was founded in 2019. (File photo from 2018.)

YPSILANTI — Digital Divas and Digital Dudes at Eastern Michigan University partners with the Mr. October Foundation and GameAbove to launch a free after school STEM program for middle school students at four schools in metro Detroit.

game above and mr. october logos“Now more than ever, students need engagement in STEM,” said Bia Hamed, Eastern Michigan University director of K-12 STEM outreach. “With education being restricted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, students being home-bound, and engagements with STEM limited, extracurricular activities need to be offered in a non-traditional environment to reach students where they live.”

The 2020-20201 school year after school program will engage 125 eighth grade students from the various schools. The program will be offered virtually for 20 weeks of instruction, 2 days a week, for 2 hours a day, engaging students in STEM activities in subjects such as healthcare, physics, HVAC, construction, wind power, hydroponics, and more.

“This program is not only a reflection of EMU and GameAbove’s commitment to working with Michigan communities to support K-12 students, it is an example of one of the ways we’re expanding our efforts to engage more young students specifically in STEM fields,” continued Hamed. “We’ve reached thousands of middle and high school students with our STEM programs in past years, and this after school program will help us expand that reach further.”

Participants will be given kits with the necessary supplies to be successful in the program. The program is meant to build pathways to college and build more interest in STEM majors and careers for students. 

“I’m very excited and appreciative of our new partnership with GameAbove and Eastern Michigan University,” said Reggie Jackson, founder of the Mr. October Foundation. “Detroit has always been a target for me since I’ve played there and learned of the need they’ve had for a focus on education among the younger generation – a generation that soon will be making the decisions for our future.”

The middle schools selected for this year’s virtual after school program include, Hope Academy and Cesar Chavez Academy Middle School in Detroit, Salina Intermediate School in Dearborn and University Middle School Academy in Southfield.

Selected students from this years’ cohort will also be nominated for a free summer camp program offered through EMU each year that they are in high school (four years of camp). Additional details will be announced at a further date.

GameAbove is a team of passionate Eastern Michigan University alumni who desire to make a difference in communities in Michigan. The group has donated more than $15 million supporting a variety of initiatives to support education at all levels.

Reggie Jackson started the Mr. October Foundation for Kids (“MOF”) over 20 years ago with the goal of helping to “bridge the digital divide” for the benefit of disadvantaged kids whose circumstances hampered their ability to achieve the goal of a good education. Reggie has never forgotten his father’s words: “Sports are great, son, but your legs will give out someday. Get an education; no one can ever take that away from you.” 

The Digital Divas program was founded in 2010 by Professor Skip Lawver as a way to attract more female students to STEM classrooms at EMU. Today, over 8,000 middle and high school girls have attended a Digital Diva event. The Digital Dudes program was founded in 2019.

For more information on the Digital Divas and Digital Dudes After School Program, contact Bia Hamed at bia.hamed@emich.edu

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves nearly 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

October 07, 2020

Written by:
Morgan Mark

Media Contact:
Morgan Mark