Niesha Butler has returned to her roots to teach the next generation of children to “Go Pro.”
The New York native opened the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Champs Center for children to thrive in their career paths on Saturday, July 16, 2022. Now, the ballplayer turned software engineer hopes to remind the learning community success is possible in sports and beyond.
“We’re excited to bring quality S.T.E.M. curriculum to the Brooklyn and Greater New York City kids. As a kid growing up in this same neighborhood, we were always encouraged to play sports, and through S.T.E.A.M. Champs and the S.T.E.A.M. Champs Foundation, we are encouraging kids to know both and excel in both areas of life,” Butler said in a statement to AfroTech.
The Center's Offerings
According to a press release, the center will provide an immersive experience and introduce real-world concepts to cultivate skills in literacy sequencing, engineering design principles, and cause-and-effect relationships.
In addition, children ages six and up will receive a personalized STEAM curriculum encouraging computational thinking through field trips and parental learning classes coupled with courses such as coding, robotics, chess, LEGO, and digital art.
“Far too many kids in inner cities don’t know about the opportunities available in STEAM and S.T.E.M.; our goal at S.T.E.A.M. Champs is to provide youth with an alternative avenue to ‘Go Pro,’” Butler told AfroTech.
Butler Hopes To Diversify The STEM Pipeline
Butler hopes the center will empower the educational pathways of minority children and create a gateway to fill the vacant STEM positions in the United States.
“I’m a product of Brooklyn, NY; it made me who I am today, the grit, the hustle, and the tenacity to excel and succeed was instilled in me,” Butler said. “But, after transitioning to tech from sports and entertainment and I began providing classes to inner city kids across the country, I knew a gap needed to be filled.”
She continued: “In New York City, more than 70% of public-school students live below the poverty level, but if we educate our youth and instill a new ideology of hustle, grit, and tenacity through educational opportunities, we can break generational curses. There are thousands of vacant STEM-based jobs earning more than $100K available across the country, and the black and brown kids from neighborhoods like Brownsville in Brooklyn, the South Side of Chicago, College Park in Atlanta, the West Side of Detroit, and others deserve the chance to have an equal shot.”