Waccamaw Siouan STEM Studio
Inspiring tribal youth and providing tools for success!
Welcome to Waccamaw Siouan STEM Studio!
We are an award winning, grassroots community led program founded by members of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe in STEM careers on a mission to increase our communities understanding of STEM, while providing STEM opportunities to our tribal youth and community. We are located in the Columbus and Bladen Counties of North Carolina, but reach our tribal members wherever they call home.
"Since our founding in January 2020, we have provided over 35 STEM events to the Waccamaw Siouan Tribal community, engaged with more than 1,000 tribal community members, provided $10,000 in STEM Kits to tribal youth, built 31 partnerships with supporting organizations at zero cost to tribal community members."
Our Mission & Vision
Our mission is to increase STEM awareness and opportunities within the Waccamaw Siouan tribal community through engagement in community-led STEM programming at zero cost to community members and honoring the family unit. Our programs are built on an Indigenous framework that focuses on giving and removing barriers for the community, including the use of technology to reach tribal members outside our territory. We support native owned businesses and continue to invest back into our community, while serving as a vehicle for non-native led organizations, businesses, and schools to engage with tribal youth in STEM. Our vision is to provide a steady variety of STEM activities and opportunities to the tribal community through ongoing family engagement.
The Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Communities are located in the most rural areas of the Columbus and Bladen Counties of North Carolina. Access to broadband is limited, school ratings are well below average, 40% of youth are living in poverty, and it is among some of the most food starved counties in North Carolina. The opportunities for STEM programing in the area is nearly nonexistent.
Our impact has been felt in many different aspects of life in our community.
On average, 25% of the tribal community participates in STEM Studio Programs and we have expanded beyond our community to reach other tribal youth.
More tribal youth are now interested in STEM careers, as evident through community interviews and testimonials from youth.
We have provided $2,000 in scholarships to Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Youth.
Our STAR Preservation Project has captured the eye of the entire tribal community: recording oral history, tribal history research using technology, and revitalizing a 300 year old once lost language.
We have hosted more than 35 in-person and virtual STEM events since 2020, challenging the youth to stretch their minds to utilize contemporary STEM education to understand traditional ways.
Inside STEM Studio
Behind the scenes, the Waccamaw Siouan STEM Studio is comprised of about 20 Waccamaw Siouan tribal members who work in various STEM fields. This team creates, develops, and executes projects that ultimately impact tribal youth, and others within our local community. Sub-committees are developed to build and execute specific projects and work with potential partners.
Our team members also have access to personal and professional development opportunities and a community of other American Indians with passions for STEM equity.
STEM Studio operates on a 100% volunteers basis. We operate on a very low budget, with all of the funding going back out into the community. We apply for grants that fit the communities needs, with fiscal sponsorships through the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe 501(c)(3) and Cape Fear River Assembly 501(c)(3). We are very thankful to our fiscal sponsors for their continued support of our mission.
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