How Dance Is Preparing Minority Students To Pursue STEM

How Dance Is Preparing Minority Students To Pursue STEM
Technology

A nonprofit organization is using dance to teach code and empower girls to pursue careers in STEM

Jiwon Kim
  • 25 august 2017

STEM From Dance wants to transform a predominately male field and broaden access to coveted skills by giving young women from low-income communities the opportunity to learn coding in a unique manner. Through dance, girls learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and code different kinds of media to supplement their dancing.

The organization seeks to impart the fact that coding involves a great amount of creativity and encourage participants to get involved in STEM subjects, which might otherwise seem intimidating. Students perform a dance that incorporates coded wearable tech and imagery. Working with both STEM and dance experts, they learn skill sets that transfer to both their dancing and their coding. Performances are paired with music from female artists, like Beyoncé. After multiple lessons and rehearsals, all participants are part of a dance recital at the end.

Yamilée Toussaint founded the organization in 2011 after going through a number of personal learning experiences. She pursued mechanical engineering at MIT, inspired by her father who had shared his love for engineering throughout her life. As a woman of color, she found her position in the field could be a lonely one—there was always a clear lack of diversity and representation. It inspired her to work to bridge this gap by engaging other women of color to pursue this field as well.

Toussaint went on to work for Teach for America, teaching math to students in Brooklyn. She quickly learned that most students were resigned to the belief that they would never be good at any of the STEM subjects because of past experiences. That’s when Toussaint turned to dance, believing that it could be used to engage, teach and empower girls who feel as if they have no interest or capability in coding.

STEM From Dance

STEM From Dance wants to transform a predominately male field and broaden access to coveted skills by giving young women from low-income communities the opportunity to learn coding in a unique manner. Through dance, girls learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and code different kinds of media to supplement their dancing.

+Arts & Culture
+arts & culture
+coding
+dance
+Education
+Education
+Girls
+STEM
+technology
+work

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