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  • Susan Mitchell

STEM + Mentoring = A Brighter Future for All

Updated: May 27, 2022

In celebration of National Mentoring Month, we're proud to feature our Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor Tshaka Cunningham's work with Future Kings, whose efforts are near and dear to Athari’s goals of being a leader in STEM education and bridging the gap of health equity across diverse populations.

Over the course of last year, Dr. Cunningham’s cohort of 12 high school students chose a research capstone exploring why African-Americans are more susceptible to COVID-19. They learned how to perform sterilization and pipetting techniques, DNA/RNA extraction, gel electrophoresis, and human cell culturing.

“Having mentors with as much expertise as Dr. Cunningham and being enriched every other weekend for a few hours is a unique experience you can’t get anywhere else, and you can’t get that in school,” says Norvin West, a Future Kings graduate who has started his freshman year at Yale where he will pursue a

degree in neuroscience. Read the full

feature in Yahoo Finance News.

The profound impact that organizations like Future Kings have on the lives of students and mentors alike speaks to why building a mentoring mindset and pro-STEM education culture that is year-round and sustainable is so important. Plus, we have work to do:

  • Despite making up nearly half the U.S. workforce, women are still vastly underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce. We’ve made gains from less than 10% of the workforce in the 1970s but are still today under 30%.

  • African-Americans make up 11% of the U.S. workforce overall but represent 9% of STEM workers, while Hispanics comprise 16% of the U.S. workforce but only 7% of STEM Workers, according to PEW Research.

Athari is committed to stewarding us toward a future with diversity represented across the biosciences, STEM training and health equity.

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