Working for NASA is one of the coolest jobs most can imagine. For Aisha Bowe, owner and founder of STEMBoard, that’s just another bullet point on her resume. “I love to call myself the ‘accidental engineer,’ but I can’t see me being anywhere else now that I’m here,” she says. Bowe started her college career at Washtenaw Community and ended it with double aerospace engineering and space systems engineering degrees from the University of Michigan.
She founded STEMBoard in 2013, a company offering engineering consulting and project assistance. For the last eight years, they’ve devoted 20% of income and resources to growing engagement and education in STEM for students across the country. Enter the Lingo Coding Kit, STEMBoard’s new at-home box that turns the dinner table into a tech lab.
“People loved the camps and curriculums we created previously, so last April, when the pandemic kicked off, I challenged my team to come up with a new way to deliver that experience to students. The response is amazing. Little Black kids write in and say it’s the first time they’ve been taught science by someone who looks like them,” Bowe says. According to the website, Lingo Kits offer students step-by-step video instructions to help them complete projects and gadgets with a cool STEM focus. None of the projects require help from a parent.
“Right now, we have the In the Driver’s Seat kit where kids can build a working driving sensor. The next ones are going to center around sports and music; I’m thinking of calling that one ‘Trap Lingo,’” Bowe says. The Lingo Coding Kit strives to make the seemingly unattainable look and feel real for kids who otherwise might never have imagined it. She says, “If I can marry the interests kids already have with something new and full of opportunity, that’s how you bring new minds into the fold and broaden the field.”