Based on a comprehensive US-based report by Funk and Parker (2018), there is significant evidence of an alarming disparity amongst the racial distribution of individuals in STEM fields; with blacks and hispanics occupying a very minimal share of the STEM pie. STEAMulator is an active STEM+Arts Influencer fuelled by the need to bridge this interracial, gender and socio-economic gap that inhibits individuals from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds from accessing career opportunities in the STEM field. STEAMulator is also geared towards deconstructing the retrogressive Afrocentric attitudes held by many students who generally view science subjects as boring, this narrow and negative perspective derived from inadequate media representation disincentivizes them to access self-sustaining career pathways in the STEM sector.
Having participated at the TASC2020 (Topflight Arts & Science Conference) through our non-profit organization Connect Southern Africa and reaching the finals, we have a nuaced appreciation of the work involved in this arena. We are so thrilled that now we are taking part in the organizing of this year’s competition; the STEAMulator Showcase 2021 as a committee member. It is clear that STEAMulator’s initiatives extends beyond just dismantling the prevailing anti-inclusive environment within the STEM domain, but is also focused on socio-cultural impact, pan-africanism, research, community mobilization, black empowerment and talent navigation especially targeting young innovative entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe and its Diaspora. In hindsight, #TASC2020 was a program which involved both local changemakers and select representatives from the diaspora. Additionally, it created a platform for young entrepreneurs including myself to explore new career paths as well as come up with unique ways to address the adverse health impacts of COVID in Zimbabwe. This year (2021) the Topflight Arts & Science Conference, which has been ongoing for over half a decade, is rebranding itself and is now called the STEAMulator Showcase. The initiative has its humble grassroots from Topflight College, a small academic institution in Gweru, Zimbabwe where the idea was birthed and later on collaboration between the college and STEAMulator was forged to officialise the campaign. Over the years, the event has gained a huge cult following, boasting big names as keynote speakers such as Zimbabwean rapper and actor; Tehn Diamond, Dr Bright Chireka, Michelle Vhudzijena and Commissioner L. Chigwedere. Some notable beneficiaries of the STEAMulator event include Elimon Dingwiza in 2016, Kudzai Chanatsa in TASC2017 and Trueman Mabumbo who won $US1000 during TASC2020 for his innovative Dzidzo paDen solution that offers an elearning platform accessible on WhatsApp.
This year’s highly anticipated TASC2021 (now 2021 STEAMulator Showcase) is centered on the theme of ‘INNOVATION’. #ZimboInnovation in Health, Wealth and Education. As per standard it will target young Zimbabwean adults between the ages of 18 and 35 to post a 1 minute video highlighting who they are and what innovative ideas they have in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and/or Mathematics space. The best videos will be selected and finalists will present virtually at the STEAMulater Showcase 2021 virtual event on December 22, 2021 where the winner will receive $US1000 cash. The event will also feature fireside dialogues and presentations from key pan-african personalities from the USA, countries in the Caribbean & Africa. Presenters will include medical doctors, educators, influencers, experts in wealth innovation, musicians, visual artists and reality tv stars. Speaking about musicians, attendees may expect a performance from the “Juzi” hitmaker; Kudakwashe Chapepa, also known as Kae Chaps. To learn more about STEAMulater Showcase 2021 you can visit the official website via https://steamulater.com/program ,send an email to email@example.com or DM @steamulator on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Facebook.