The Community Context Paper: Project Syncere
Since 2009, Project Syncere (Supporting Youth's Needs with Core Engineering Research Experiments) has greatly served its Kenwood community by providing encouragement for females, minorities, and underserved youth to participate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Project Syncere aims to make science and technology accessible and cool to inspire the students to learn the valuable STEM skillset ("Project syncere," 2013). Three African-American men came up with the idea, including Seun Phillips who is shown below. He received his bachelors of
science in electrical engineering at the University of Michigan in 2006. After working at Motorola for three years, Seun left his corporate job to co-found Project Syncere with Jason Coleman and George Wilson. Seun revealed the inspiration behind Project Syncere was how his parents always had strong direction with his father even being a successful engineer. Seun wanted to fulfill his passion of helping the underserved youth through the education of science and technology.
The Organization’s Goals
To make a bigger impact on its community, Project Syncere has joined efforts with other organizations to have an even greater effect on the Chicagoland area, including the Chicago Public School District. The students learn STEM, which has provided the students with useful skills
that will allow them to do great things in their communities. He wants students to think critically and analytically, and to develop teamwork skills by collaborating with other students on group projects through the usage of STEM. Seun wants the students to focus on life goals and to use their critical thinking skills to become good problem solvers. In addition, he hopes that the teamwork skills lead the students to develop good communication skills and presentation skills. Seun believes that technology is the future and he thinks the students will be ready to lead their communities in the future because of their capacity to think.
("Get to Know," Get to Know Us)
Accommodating the Students
To make the organization more accommodating for the students, they try to be cognizant of time of day for the programs. So, they have offered night classes. Although, they also realized they must be aware that some students have to ride the bus back home, so they have had to scale back at times to ensure student safety. Seun and his colleagues also realize that finance is an issue for many of the families, so they try to have an affordable rate for the classes. The Chicago Public Schools have funded a significant amount with grant money from corporations for STEM usage.
Project Syncere has previously joined arts organizations, where they do visual displays so that the students can learn how to design visual displays. The technological side was to link voiceover stories with visual media and then to playback the recording.
Seun has a few ideas on how to improve the organization, such as engaging with community elders to hear about their ideas on how to improve the community. In addition, he would like to partner with more corporations and foundations than they currently do. At times, they have had had round table community discussions with parent workshops for technological issues so that the parents are able to help their kids with some of their take home activities.
Seun said that he wants to connect with the Center for Intercity Studies at Northeastern University because they have a focus on African history and are involved with math and science. Also, they give free seminars for the community, which he thinks would be a useful way for Project Syncere's students to connect with some other community members. Seun also said they would like to build up their listserv and would like to do more open houses to attract more potential students. Also, they would like students to compete in city wide competitions with students from different communities working together as team members. Ideally, Seun says the organization would like to work on community engagement and would like to demographically position the organization in Chicago to be more of a presence than it currently is. He said they pull out cool aspects of STEM through artistic, like minded individuals. To inspire girls to become more involved with the organization, there are supportive female staff members who act as active mentors toward the girls. They try to push them to go beyond their hesitations and to realize that STEM can be fun. Seun wants STEM to leave the students prepared to lead a sustainable country where many things are technology driven. He hopes that STEM creates some global leaders.
(“Program Highlights,” Program Highlights)
Get to Know Us [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.projectsyncere.org/images/home/get-to-know-us.jpg
Program Highlights [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.projectsyncere.org/inner.asp?ItemID=6
Programs [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.projectsyncere.org/inner.asp?ItemID=24
Project syncere. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.projectsyncere.org/index.asp
Staff [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.projectsyncere.org/inner.asp?ItemID=32