Science Sandbox Awardees Headed to SXSW EDU 2023

Three Science Sandbox awardees will be featured in a Science Sandbox-curated SXSW EDU

The word is out: Science Sandbox’s panel, “Science in Culture: Literature, Hip Hop, & Dance” has been selected for SXSW EDU 2023! SXSW EDU 2023, an annual conference aimed at fostering innovation and learning in the education industry, runs from March 6–9, 2023, in Austin, Texas. The date of the panel will be announced soon.

In conversation with Science Sandbox program director John Tracey, the panel will feature three leaders from our portfolio of awardees: Yamilée Toussaint Beach, STEM From Dance; Stephon Alexander, Universal Hip Hop Museum; and Chidi Asoluka, the New Community Project. The panel will discuss three innovative approaches to developing artful, engaging informal education experiences that authentically incorporate science.

The panel was selected from SXSW EDU’s PanelPicker, a digital, crowd-sourced platform where people can submit and vote on proposals for the annual Austin event. More information about the selection process can be found here.

Find out how these organizations support efforts that enable people to reimagine and expand their relationship with science.

STEM From Dance
STEM From Dance (SFD) envisions a world in which Black and Latine women are represented equitably in the STEM workforce. To this end, SFD empowers underrepresented minority girls to prepare for a STEM education that excites them — through the creative and confidence-building aspects of dance. In partnership with Science Sandbox, SFD piloted a summer program in July 2018 to reach girls from schools across NYC in our target population, creating an opportunity to serve more students and further the mission of preparing girls for a future in STEM. Over two weeks, girls create a collection of technology-infused dances that awe and inspire, while learning about computer science, electrical engineering, choreography and how they all work together.

Universal Hip Hop Museum
Anchored in the Bronx, the birthplace of hip hop culture, the museum provides a space for audiences, artists and technology to converge, creating unparalleled educational and entertainment experiences around hip-hop culture of the past, present and future. Together Universal Hip Hop Museum and the Princeton University lab of astrophysicist Stephon Alexander are creating Hip Hop Science, a phased partnership with the Simons Foundation in the real and digital worlds that leverages UHHM’s unique abilities to empower young people and demonstrate that scientific inquiry and innovation is intrinsic to the various dimensions of hip-hop culture. The creators of hip hop were not merely consumers of technology but visionaries of technology, with scientific and futuristic imaginations that are now part of the STEM ecosystem.

The New Community Project
Founded by high school English teacher Chidi Asoluka in 2021, the New Community Project’s mission is to create dynamic and affirming learning environments that empower BIPOC students to be the chief architects of their future. The New Community Project will soon launch its first program, NewComm Fellows, a month-long paid academic internship program where rising Bronx high school juniors will leverage a scientific study of a literary novel to design a $10,000 project for their local community. Through two modules, Literary Performance and Literary Science, students actively investigate the novel’s themes and questions both in the classroom and in their neighborhood. To support their study, students engage with local leaders, scientists, artists, non-profit leaders and company founders to better understand how these seasoned practitioners strategically and systematically confront and address the novel’s thematic questions in their work. As a capstone project, students will conduct their own qualitative and quantitative community research in order to design a project that promotes collective flourishing and empowerment for Bronx residents.

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