STEM enrichment program at Clark Atlanta lights the way

How the Verizon Innovative Learning initiative is changing students’ ideas of what’s possible



Before Mekhi Burgess’ first day at the Young Men of Color program at Clark Atlanta University, he liked STEM, but didn’t see how he could make a career out of it. But after going through a three-week summer immersion experience on the Atlanta, Georgia campus, he knew he wanted to major in computer science.


Since 2015, Verizon Innovative Learning’s Young Men of Color program has provided students from under-resourced middle schools nationwide with extracurricular STEM enrichment project-based learning experiences. The program is inclusive and welcomes all genders and nonbinary youth. It’s part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan to help move the world forward for all, and help ensure no student is left behind. Via partnerships with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU), Hispanic-serving institutions and community colleges, the program exposes students to the tech-driven careers of tomorrow — and gives them the tools to thrive in them. And it works — like Mekhi, 98% of students who have participated in the program say it increased their interest in STEM (SRI, 2019).


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