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Estados UnidosEstados Unidos
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

ELiTE levels the playing field for under-represented populations in STEM by increasing access to resources, building communities of peers and mentors, and strengthening the internal motivations of students. We create a pipeline of diverse socially responsible professionals choosing STEM careers.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

STEM education provides students with the tools to impact the future of their communities through advances in health, energy, and communication yet a lack of access to strong academic programs limits students abilities to pursue STEM coursework at the postsecondary level. In NYC just 10% of Black boys are proficient in math by 8th grade. And while Black students accounted for 15% of all high school graduates they account for less than 4% of successful STEM AP exam takers. How then can we effect change in our communities without the tools necessary to succeed academically?

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

ELiTE levels the playing field for under-represented populations in STEM by increasing access to resources, building communities of peers and mentors, and strengthening the internal motivations of students. We achieve this through school-based programs, summer camps, shared open-source curricula, and e-learning platforms designed to empower black men and boys to pursue STEM coursework at the secondary and collegiate levels. We are creating a pipeline of diverse socially responsible professionals choosing STEM careers.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

ELiTE broadens the horizons for black boys in NYC by providing access to resources, a network of professional mentors, quality instruction, and exposure to career opportunities at companies like Google. KW recently completed his freshman year at Bread and Roses HS in Harlem where he dreamed of becoming an engineer. He loves math and science but his school has very little to offer to prepare him for his future life as an engineer. The highest level math offered in the school is Algebra 2, and Physics nor Chemistry are offered this year. KW enrolled in an ELiTE supported summer program this year where he learned about robotics and computer programming and explored career opportunities in STEM. While KW was interested in Computer Engineering he did not seriously consider it a possibility for himself-- he was not a white male and he did not spend his days (and nights) behind a computer screen. Then KW visited the Google NYC offices with ELiTE and got to meet software engineers who looked just like him. Suddenly his dream seemed like a reality. Through mentorship and continued participation in the program his dreams suddenly seem tangible.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

ELiTE differentiates itself from other organizations focusing on STEM education such as CODENOW, Girls Who Code, ScriptED, and others by exposing students not just to programming but all major topics in STEM. Lead by trained engineers from top universities, ELiTE utilizes rigorous curricula to blend computer science with natural and physical sciences to design solutions to community problems. Students may combine their studies of electronic circuits, programming, and environmental science to design and build air quality monitors to measure and report data on air pollution in their communities.
About You
Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering, Inc. (ELiTE)
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering, Inc. (ELiTE)

Borough(s) where you are creating or plan on creating impact

Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan.

Organization Country

, NY

Country where your solution is creating social impact

, NY, New York County

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How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Social Impact
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you or the person who came up with your proposed solution to get started and/or to see the potential for it to succeed.

ELiTE was inspired by a 2009 research project I started with other Columbia Engineering undergrads to design an Engineering Summer Camp in a Box. Having never traveled outside the country, I bought a plane ticket to Ghana, loaded cardboard boxes full of science equipment, and embarked on my adventure. Within a week there were 60 students enrolled in the program. The success of year one has lead my team and I to think critically about the need for this work around the world. We’ve since developed a low-cost and scalable model for STEM education that we have used to educate 400+ disadvantaged students in Ghana, Jamaica, Tanzania, Mexico, and Harlem.

Impact: What is the impact of your solution to date? Also describe the projected future impact. (If your solution is an idea you can just describe projected future impact.)

ELiTE has had measurable successes both in the US and abroad. We are excited about the recent successes of our program abroad where our student was the first ever to take the AP Computer Science exam in Ghana-- earning a 4. And although we have only been working in Harlem for a couple of years, we have a number of success stories. The previously mentioned student, KW, is now working towards his dream of becoming a software engineer. Additionally, with support from Google, our school based programs at Bread and Roses and FDA HS have produced incredible projects including solar cell phone chargers, mobile robots, a $100 homemade computer, solar cells, and water purification systems leading us to scale up this year to support 5 schools.

Full Impact Potential: How do you plan on spreading your solution moving forward? (Please consider spread within New York City or beyond, policy reform, how you might get others to replicate/adopt your solution or other mechanisms)

ELiTE seeks to become a model of change for STEM programs in resource-limited communities. Our director, Chelsey Roebuck, has been invited to speak at events such as TEDx Columbia Engineering and the Google Roots in Science and Engineering Summit to share his ideas on improving access to quality STEM education. We will also bring our “STEM in a Box” kits and “STEM Cookbook” website to market soon sharing curriculum, experiments, and ideas with communities near and far. Also, in NYC we have established partnerships with Brotherhood Sistersol and the Columbia University School of Social Work to provide professional development and instruction to their students and staff for sustainable agriculture and robotics program design.

Tell us about your partnerships. If your solution is an idea tell us about who you would partner or plan on partnering with in order to make your solution a success.

ELiTE would not exist without strong community partnerships. We have established direct partnerships to provide STEM enrichment programming for four Harlem middle and high schools as well as Brotherhood Sistersol and the Columbia University School of Social Work for this coming academic year. All of these partnerships allow us access to more students and to share program expenses.