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Terrence Howard, Yes, The Actor, Paying It Forward: What Our Leaders and Community Could Learn.

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

Remember when I wrote a post about how to increase minority representation in the STEAM fields a few weeks ago? Guess which Hollywood celebrity connects his college experience in STEAM to paying it forward and investing in the STEAM industry and his community?

Raise the roof, Terrence Howard! Now you are going to ask me, Terrence Howard? Yes, the famous brother is an actor in the tv show "Empire." He is becoming a significant player in our STEAM community and helping bring awareness, resurgence, and interest to STEAM technology in Africa.

It is good to see Mr. Howard on the global stage trying to draw investors from the African diaspora to develop a "new hydrogen technology."

Did you know Mr. Howard studied chemical engineering at Pratt Institute for two years in college? He is now leading a promising project on hydrogen as an energy source in Uganda.

Terrence Howard Claims He Invented 'New Hydrogen Technology' To Defend Uganda, according to HuffPost Entertainment.

Although, I am not sure about his claim about identifying the grand unified field equation; however, I love the ambition and energy he brings to developing a new hydrogen technology and monetizing it in the community of color (nevertheless, in Africa! I believe the same drive and vision could be done in our communities, here, in the U.S).

I am not an expert on Mr. Howard. However, I cannot help but think that his engineering experience shaped his understanding and unique way of viewing the world. I love Mr. Howard's aspiration of using technology based on hydrogen (so abundant in the universe as a product of the Sun) for harvesting food, removing plastics from the ocean, and then empowering and providing the children of Uganda and the people of Uganda an opportunity to spread and selling this new technology throughout the world. Mr. Howard may be tapping into an untapped opportunity.

Check out this video on "Why Electric Vehicles Are Increasing in Nigeria" on YouTube

Mr. Howard's success story should encourage in our BIPOC and the local community. Recently, I met a brother, Mr. Anthony Swann, and other brothers hosting and practicing for an upcoming competition using a toy drag race (5) on Facebook. It was fantastic to see what the brothers were doing—talking about how to bring awareness to opportunities in the STEAM fields. I see all kinds of engineering applications, and connections to children's lived experiences in what they are doing. This is one of the best ways to bring awareness in an exciting way to the BIPOC and the local community. I see a lot of modeling, creativity, and creative tools for building different model toy cars.

Modeling helps children and students move an idea from a concept to tangible things they can touch, see, and feel, making sense of the world around them. The model also helps students examine, scrutinize, and connect prior or existing ideas to new ones, helping them communicate, demonstrate understanding, and make sense of the phenomena around them. As mentioned, we encourage using models in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS stresses the importance of developing and using models as one of the eight core practices of science and engineering. Using models is an effective way to help students make a connection between what's been taught in the classroom and their lived experiences. Using modeling and engineering design is critical for students exploring STEAM fields and understanding phenomena.

Recently my community put resources into building a new basketball court and adding new turf to a high school football field. I am not begrudging such an effort. However, I would like some of the money and resources directed toward athletics to also fund exciting STEAM programs? As a parent and an educator, it will bring me a considerable amount of joy to see a space for programs like toy car racing sports in addition to basketball and baseball fields in our communities to encourage the connection between fun stuff like drag toy car racing and STEAM education. It would be nice to see a dedicated space for fun STEAM activities like building toy cars for the drag races shared with our youth. In this way we can generate excitement about STEAM, much like communities already do for athletics.

It would be nice to see parents (who are still children at heart), children, and toy car enthusiasts have a space dedicated to practicing their skills, which could be used to inspire our youth to pursue a career in STEAM fields.

Is a toy car for drag racing the only STEAM-oriented activity we could build in our community? The simple answer is no. I can envision STEAM applications in basketball and football. However, I am not a coach in sports activities. Still, imagine how instrumental our coaches could be when they are trained to integrate sports and STEAM. Imagine how this could change the kicking abilities of our athletes. Or consider if post-game point guards and 3-point shooters reviewed their plays and integrated mathematical concepts and principles trying to better understand their team strategies and plays.

Back to the community space idea, I imagine the area could also be used for the arts, chess, intellectual discussions, or other civic activities. To make it more interesting, we could put mom & pop coffee shops and make it accessible for farmers' markets instead of brothers Swann and others and the farmers' market being held in the parking lot. I am pretty sure others can suggest more great ideas. We should not settle; we can do better!

Finally, leaders in our communities could use the moment to set the foundation for STEAM-oriented communities and economies like what Terrence Howard is trying to do with new technology based on hydrogen in Uganda or what Nigeria is trying to do with electric vehicles. - We could use community-wide STEAM-oriented activities and initiatives to entice companies like Google and Microsoft into our BIPOC and African communities. This could foster growth in technology and investments for education, too, helping to support K-12 schools and community colleges.

Science education (and ultimately STEAM education) is about encouraging questions, making observations, and using science and engineering best practices for inquiry and design to investigate phenomena and solve problems. Please sponsor a fun integrated community STEAM activity. These activities do not have to be elaborate because activities would depend on resources. STEAM-oriented activities can begin and be accomplished with simple science experiments, even a fun Skittles science experiment. Please see below for additional fun-filled, excitement generating community activities.

Raise the roof!

Authored by Dr. Ayo Olufade, Ph.D.

Think College and Career in the STEAM Fields! You Have the Opportunity to Create the Future and The Privilege of Deciding What's in It! ~ Dr. Ayo Olufade, Ph.D.

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