The Dallas Chapter of The Links, Incorporated is comprised of 50 women of color who have dedicated years to the Dallas community. One of their passions, in particular, is introducing girls to the world of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics).
“We are trying to reach as many young ladies as we can who otherwise may have never been introduced to these disciplines,” member Tracey Nash-Huntley said. “Only about one in 10 employed in these fields right now are women of color. Often times, they just need to be introduced.”
The Dallas Chapter of The Links has spent the last eight years doing just that. Through their STEAM Academy, they provide programming for more than 400 seventh to 12th grade girls, emphasizing STEAM disciplines and career readiness.
“We know that it’s important to augment their classroom learning with experiences whether they are educational excursions, mentoring sessions and actually STEM and STEAM hands-on experiments and projects to keep it top of mind for these girls,” said Nash-Huntley.
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The organization is hoping to create a pipeline to success for young girls of color, while exposing them to the dynamic women of North Texas who are currently shining in those fields.
One of the recent graduates of the academy is Journie Crow, who said her time in the academy provided her with so much more than a textbook ever could.
“I was able to have more hands-on activities to figure out where I wanted to be in the STEAM field,” Crow said. “It was a better learning environment for me outside of the classroom. I also had the opportunity to go on amazing field trips and met some amazing people that I never would have thought I would have met before.”
Crow said the encounter of a lifetime, through the STEAM Academy, was when she got to meet Michelle Obama.
“Oh my gosh, I will never forget it. I even got her to sign my badge that day. I would have never been able to even talk to her if it wasn’t for the program,” Crow said.
Crow is also a budding artist. She will be attending the University of North Texas in the fall. Her hope is to graduate with honors and then go on to medical school. Her ultimate goal is to become a cardiologist and own her own practice. A dream she said became a goal after she started the STEAM Academy.
Like many organizations, the Dallas Chapter of The Links, Incorporated has had to pivot due to the pandemic, so their 2020 Women Who STEAM Awards Luncheon, to honor several women who are at the top of their fields around Texas, is now a virtual event. It is also their biggest fundraiser of the year to help provide continued support for the STEAM Academy.