The Rajon Rondo Foundation, a non profit organization started by NBA star Rajon Rondo, and BrainSTEM University, an edtech company providing STEM curriculum and software, announced a summer program to introduce underserved students to coding and game development as a career. Code 4 Gold is a city-wide coding challenge that will teach students to create their own computer game using block programming. Students earn “gold” that can be used to buy prizes sponsored by the Rajon Rondo Foundation. The goal of this program is to inspire students to explore STEM career options. In partnership with the Rajon Rondo Foundation, BrainSTEM University will help eliminate gaps that exist in STEM through programming in underserved communities.
STEM careers, especially programmers, are growing faster than the national average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the digital economy was worth $1.8 trillion in 2018, and growing four times faster than the overall economy. This growth in the market is increasing demand for workers with coding and computer skills.
“As a black man raised by a single mom, I understand the adversity underrepresented students face when pursuing STEM,” says Ricky Mason, CEO of BrainSTEM. African American and Hispanic students are less likely to pursue STEM careers than their peers. When current STEM workers were asked why, 70% of African Americans and 50% of Hispanics stated their communities are less likely to have access to quality education that prepares them for STEM careers. Mason experienced this firsthand in school. He said, “I dreamed of being an engineer because I had the privilege of meeting one in the 5th grade. However, there weren’t opportunities to join STEM clubs or communities that my mother could afford. I didn’t have the opportunity to take a calculus course until college, but my determination to pursue my dream led me to NASA where I launched five rockets.”
The Rajon Rondo Foundation understands the importance of access to quality education to help underserved students fill the racial and socioeconomic gaps in STEM. BrainSTEM University strives to provide quality education that will prepare all students for STEM careers. “I’m excited to partner with the Rajon Rondo Foundation to inspire more students like myself to be successful in STEM and pursue dreams of their own.” – Ricky Mason, CEO of BrainSTEM.
The Code 4 Gold summer coding challenge will end in July. Students will showcase their games at the Back to School Bash Saturday, August 7th from 1pm to 4pm at the Republic Foundation YMCA. This event is free to the public. To find out more and register for fall after school programs, visit www.brainstemu.com. To find out more about the Rajon Rondo Foundation and other programs offered, visit www.rrondofoundation.org.