Aisha Bowe knows how important it is for young people to have positive mentors. Growing up, she was inspired by her father, who earned his degree in electrical engineering at age 40. After graduation, she became a NASA mission engineer and aerospace engineer.
Today, Bowe (BSE AeroE ’08, MSE ’09) has channeled that inspiration into STEMBoard, a technology company that she co-founded in 2013. STEMBoard’s goal is to help historically underrepresented youth play a role in designing tomorrow’s technologies.
STEMBoard is collaborating with historically black colleges and universities to host STEM camps across the United States. It has also created HackIT, a week-long camp that combines technology with entrepreneurship to provide students in the Caribbean with a mini-incubator for launching new ideas.
Bowe’s advice for underrepresented minority students interested in STEM careers is to take a fresh look at their experiences and background. What they see as hardships may actually put them at an advantage.
“Some students may feel that they don’t have access to the same resources and connections as their peers,” she said. “But that can be a good thing because it gives them a unique perspective. Today’s challenges need a variety of perspectives to find answers. My mantra is ‘never let others define what is possible for you.’”