STEM advocate Justin Shaifer is helping students discover the unexpected

‘Mr. Fascinate’ is part of the ‘Discover the Unexpected’ program

Ten HBCU students from around the country will gather in Detroit for  “Discover the Unexpected,” a 10-week immersive internship in marketing and communications, where they’ll learn content creation and familiarize themselves with the technological advancements that power the automotive industry. Fellows will work alongside National Newspaper Publication Association journalists and Chevrolet marketing teams while experiencing the all-new 2024 Chevrolet Trax on a group road trip to hone their professional skills, collaborate on innovative and challenging assignments, and document their journey on social media.

Justin Shaifer, known as “Mr. Fascinate,” is a STEM advocate, educator, and an HBCU alum, and he’s returning to DTU for his third year as a student mentor.

What interested you in becoming a part of the DTU program?

I was a beneficiary of internships when I went to an HBCU when I was an undergrad. Every time I talk to students [who] are of that age range that we work with, I always encourage them to get or go after internships. Since these kids have gotten into the program, I realized this is a cool opportunity for kids to get this firsthand experience in these kinds of career fields. They’re paired with mentors and managers, and they understand what it would take to pursue the next steps of their career, whether that’s working with Chevy, working with the NNPA, or doing their own thing.

How do your core values align with what DTU offers?

In addition to this program emphasizing the roles of Black students, and even supporting and facilitating Black excellence in the corporate world, they’re also super aligned with electrifying our future. General Motors has this huge commitment to bringing electric vehicles into the United States’ infrastructure and there’s a lot of content that needs to be made as it pertains to the African American community because sometimes we’re slow adopters of new technology like this. I was excited because I consider myself a futurist. I’m interested in future innovative technologies, and have the opportunity to teach the kids how to make content that’s not only future thinking, but factually accurate, which is aligned with my ethos and the work I do.

STEM advocate Justin Shaifer is helping students discover the unexpected
Photo credit: David Rodriguez Munoz

How did you get the “Mr. Fascinate” nickname?

My undergraduate major was marine and environmental science. A lot of undergrad students that do well are encouraged to go to grad school, law school, and do research, and I knew that I was a people person more than a laboratory researcher. There isn’t this outlined career path for someone like me that wants to do science communication, so in my own way, I had to discover the unexpected. I went on this journey of building a company around making educational science content, and now we’ve done shows for several major brands and networks, and I speak to young people, educators, and corporate professionals about STEM, education, and what the future of work might look like.

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