General Motors supports STEM; sponsors youth Wakanda Design Challenge at CBC

Baltimore P-Tech students pictured with artist Patrick Hunter of Patcasso Art LLC (front row, plaid shirt) – Photo provided

General Motors (GM) is committed to creating opportunities in STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and continues to open doors for today’s students to become tomorrow’s innovators.

GM and the John Hopkins University School of Medicine recently sponsored the second annual STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) Revolt Youth Workshop and Wakanda Design Challenge at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Leadership Conference held in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 12-16. During this interactive, problem-solving workshop, close to 100 students were tasked with

  • Developing a new superhero character, replete with their own storyline and distinctive superpowers, based on the blockbuster film, Avengers: Infinity War, and Black Panther and;
  • Utilizing the design process to create an “iBot-powered wheelchair” inspired prototype that would help the superhero become mobile if they lost the ability to walk.

Students from the Baltimore P-Tech program (Pathways in Technology Early College High School), a program which creates a school-to-industry pipeline for students in STEM fields, received the wonderful opportunity to participate in the innovative design challenge. The prototyped solutions had to meet specific needs that were functional, within budget and incorporate African culture and art in the design.

The finished results were mind-blowingly out of this world.

An example of a prototype solution designed by one of the student teams (Photo credit: Porsha Monique for Steed Media)

Tamberlin Golden, GM’s plant director for global propulsion systems, served as a celebrity judge in the Wakanda design challenge competition. Her fellow judges included Jesse J. Holland, award-winning journalist, novelist and author of the first novel, The Black Panther; and Dr. Menna Demessie, VP of policy analysis and research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

“I loved the theme of the workshop being around the Black Panther movie.  It was amazing to see the depth of thought and creativity from the students through their unique designs and stories,” Golden said about her Wakandian judging experience.

Golden went on to praise the students. “The students were given some cardboard and look what they did with it.  General Motors participates in these programs to help students realize their talent and their ability to be engineers.  Engineers create the future through their unique ideas, designs and perspective. Today we witnessed future engineering talent,” she said.

The panel of celebrity judges: Dr. Menna Demessie, VP of Policy Analysis and Research at CBCF; Tammy Golden, GM’s plant director for global propulsion systems and; Jesse Holland, award-winning journalist, novelist and author of the first novel, The Black Panther (Photo credit: Porsha Monique for Steed Media)

As demonstrated by Golden, through her role as a celebrity judge in the Wakanda Design Challenge, GM not only invests their employee’s time and talent to promote economic growth through STEM education, but they also invest monetarily as well. GM has invested $1 billion to help foster smart, safe and sustainable communities around the world. By sponsoring programs such as the STEAM Revolt Youth Workshop, and similar STEM initiatives, GM continues to prove they’re remaining steadfast in cultivating educational interest in STEM. This workshop was simply another example of how GM has worked to create points of access for underrepresented and diverse groups as it touched on several key areas of focus pertaining to GM’s STEM efforts:

  • Solving complex challenges through immersive learning;
  • Computational thinking;
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and;
  • Digitization of education.

Take a look through some of the pictures below to get a feel for the day’s event. Let us know your thoughts. Leave us a comment or two in the comments section. (Photo gallery credit: Porsha Monique for Steed Media)

Celebrity judges Dr. Demessie and GMs Tammy Golden admiring one of the team’s prototype as a student explains his team’s design – Photo Credit Porsha Monique for Steed Media
1Artist Patrick Hunter of Patcasso Art LLC , award winning author Jesse J. Holland, celebrity DJ Steady Rock and Dr. Demessie – Photo Credit Porsha Monique for Steed Media
Students and author Jesse J. Holland striking the Wakanda pose – Photo Credit Porsha Monique for Steed Media
Students presenting their prototype to the judges – Photo Credit Porsha Monique for Steed Media

Porsha Monique
Porsha Monique

Media Maven. Celebrity Interviewer. Entertainment Journalist. Social Influencer. Passionate Writer. Follow my journey on FB @PorshaMonique and IG @iAmPorshaMonique

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