BOSTON — Finding success beyond the classroom. It’s the goal for every student, but even more so for a group of young girls who want to enter the STEM field.
On a trip to the Boston Museum of Science, Jessica Sanon teaches her students that learning doesn’t stop in the classroom. Born and raised in Boston, getting a quality education was a top priority for Jessica. But she faced a big challenge. Her family was from Haiti and spoke Creole. She says she found math was a universal language.
“In my culture education is everything,” said Jessica Sanon, the CEO and Founder of Systemic Flow. “I just had issues speaking in English and so I had to find that one class that I was good at and math happened to be it.”
But Jessica says she failed her first calculus class in college and she struggled to obtain her math and economics degrees.
“I knew I didn’t want other girls to experience what I went through,” said Sanon.
Jessica knew she had to create a program to help girls succeed in the STEM field.
“Great academic preparation is one thing, but it would’ve been nice to have internship opportunities to get exposure in the workforce,” said Sanon. “It would’ve been great to find mentors who look like me who continue to motivate me for my stem degree regardless of what it is I’m doing.”
She transformed her dream of being a math teacher into being a business owner instead, creating Systemic Flow (https://www.systemicflow.com/). It’s a STEM program that bridges the gap between STEM education and math proficiency among young Black girls.
“Often times with STEM education we typically don’t focus on that math component and that’s actually the thing that will retain women of color in STEM compared to any of the other fields,” said Sanon.
Systemic Flow partners with one to two schools in Boston a year, offering sessions either before or after school for girls interested in STEM. The goal is to help them look beyond the classroom.
“When you look at academic success you think of passing a class and we don’t look at that, we build confident young leaders,” said Sanon.
Each year, Systemic Flow has about 60 girls that go through the program and Jessica is looking to expand it to even more. Her business sometimes partners with non-profits or even donors to help provide free sessions. She also makes it a point to include visits from STEM ‘sheroes’ who share their successful journeys.
“Our girls are like wow, I didn’t even know that this person existed,” said Sanon. “This person looks like me and she is making an impact in the community. The more people can see people like them in the field, the more courage and confidence that they’ll have in any kind of work environment that they’ll be in.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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