Coding Kits and Mobile Apps Bringing Diversity to STEM
(TNS) – The number of women who have mastered financial literacy is significantly lower than that of men worldwide, according to the Global Center of Excellence for Financial Literacy, who surveyed what women know about investing.
And the number of non-white, non-male workers entering engineering, technology and IT occupations remains low, the American Society for Engineering Education said.
Some organizations in the Detroit metro area are trying to resolve this issue.
DAY is a non-profit organization that focuses on increasing the accessibility of engineering and technology for young people and residents of Detroit.
Start-ups in Southeast Michigan is a non-profit education organization for youth and families that has a financial literacy program.
But for young people who don’t have access to local organizations, two web programs created by Michigan natives are available to help them.
Here’s how they came into being and how to get there.
The Capri app teaches young women about finance
Corsair is a phone app that provides a library full of courses that teach financial literacy. Founder and CEO Nicole Hartwig focuses on closing financial gender gaps, from investing and ownership to personal finance in the app. The app is a self-paced course with video lessons, budgeting tools, loan basics, and investment information.
“This experience really shouldn’t be reserved for particularly lucky young women,” Hartwig said. “It’s a right that everyone has – to understand (the) mechanics of money and personal finance.”
The app has a paid subscription which can be pre-ordered for a six-month subscription for $ 30 and a one-year subscription for $ 59. Capri has been in beta since January and is slated to launch by the end of this year.
The content in the app is aimed at Gen Z and Millennial women who will have access to over 75 financial courses, tools and the community room where app users can chat with each other.
“These topics expand everything under the umbrella of personal finance,” Hartwig said. “It means the very basics – like budgeting, understanding the mechanics of credit and how it works – until maybe you are planning to live alone for the first time, maybe you are financially planning to have children in the next few years or maybe you start to explore the world of investing. “
Capri was launched in 2018 in New York City, where Hartwig attended school. Now that the app is gearing up to launch, she wanted to bring the head office to Detroit, a few miles from her hometown of Royal Oak. As the city continues to develop as a tech hub, she said she believes the people of Detroit deserve a financial education.
“There is a tangible sense of a community goal of upward mobility for residents of Detroit,” Hartwig said. “It’s something you really feel when you get here. And it’s really a stark contrast to a place like New York. The saying goes that there are 8 million foreigners. The feeling of Detroit is this. very real sense of community where everyone walks all over the place of companies trying to help each other out and help the community build up community. “
The company currently has four employees, a team of advisors and the Capri Council, a group of women in finance and entrepreneurship who is reviewing the curriculum.
Cathy Lorenz of St. Clair Shores works with many business owners as a CPA and partner at Cowen and Company, based in Cleveland. She said that when her clients go to school to learn about a skill, they don’t end up taking business courses, which creates a huge gap. Lorenz said financial literacy resources like Capri could fill this gap for many.
“Business owners tend to be very knowledgeable about their trade, whether they are doctors, engineers or restaurateurs, but we’re seeing a huge gap in their general business knowledge,” Lorenz said. “We often notice this, when they don’t know how to read their business financial statements or what constitutes their credit and why is that important to them as a person or as a business owner. “
Lorenz said there are many fundamentals of finance that young people don’t learn, such as how to write a check or balance your checkbook, how to budget, and how to manage your assets and debts.
“I firmly believe that people – especially young women, and I think we are becoming much better than the generations before us – must take ownership and be responsible for their education and knowledge of the things that will impact them in their life. their lives lives, ”said Lorenz. “Having something like that to help bridge the gap is great.”
Coding Kit brings engineering lessons to your home
STEMBoard, a company based in Washington, DC, noticed that there was a gap in the way students learned engineering during the pandemic, so they set out to create a coding kit called LINGO to teach engineering techniques at home with practical materials and video lessons.
“Classes are all video,” said CEO Aisha Bowe, 35, of Ann Arbor. “They’re online. They adapt to their own pace. What I love about LINGO is that it’s not a toy, it’s a tool. Our content is aligned with learning standards National Education Department because we have partnered with computer science teachers from DC. “
Each kit includes products that can be found in a car, such as a sensor, microcontroller board, model, resistor, wires, cables and a passive buzzer. The kit allows you to build a prototype of sensors on a car that beeps when you are too close to another object.
The kit can be purchased for $ 69.99 on the STEMBoard by LINGO website. There is also an option to donate a kit to one of the following two organizations: SMASH Academy, a STEM program for high school students in Atlanta, and INTech Camp, a nonprofit organization in Charlotte, North Carolina that encourages young women to take an interest in technology.
Bowe, who worked at NASA, grew up in Ann Arbor and attended both Washtenaw Community College and the University of Michigan. She now lives in Washington.
“After spending six years at NASA, I was truly inspired to not only have a technically competent business but also to give back to the community,” Bowe said. “I feel like companies have the opportunity to have a long-term societal impact, if they want to, in the communities around them and even in the country. It was important for me to have the ability to work on some really cool technical stuff, and also take some of that and invest it in content and program. “
When STEMBoard started, the company held workshops and camps where Bowe’s team talked about careers in engineering. The camps started in the Bahamas, where her father was from, and each workshop had around 70 students. By the end of the camp, the students reportedly created a prototype, showcased a startup, and liked the idea of the technology.
“That bulb lit in my head that there are a lot of people who would be engineers, scientists and technologists if they were exposed to it from the start,” Bowe said. “We have gaps in our education system, and a lot of that relates to the way we teach subjects and what people learn to develop in school.”
Bowe hopes to continue to inspire the next generation, especially young people of color, to enter the engineering field. Bowe’s LINGO customers include Microsoft, GE, historically black colleges and universities, and colleges, and she hopes to expand her partnerships to increase academic support.
“I believe STEM is not just the future, but teaching it in an engaging and immersive way is a necessity to help people develop the skills they need in the future,” Bowe said.
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