During August of 2018, Ashna and Victoria met each other at a Speech & Debate summer camp. While coaching, Ashna felt herself growing confident in her own speaking abilities as she was able to meet and teach such enthusiastic kids. When learning, Victoria saw herself improving immensely as she worked directly with a high school mentor throughout the process. Both soon realized how lucky they were to have found experiences in Speech and Debate where authentic learning, original ideas, and genuine friendship came together. From their shared dream to find that desperately-needed community at the forefront of innovation, STEM & Buds was born.
Hoping to let kids explore STEM through experiments they chose to do, Ashna and Victoria started by recruiting their peers to volunteer as mentors for students at a neighboring school district previously lacking after-school programs.
From there, the two began to build their curriculum, allowing students to first explore the six key STEM branches through interactive challenges.
After, the team expanded the program by paving the way for young students to brainstorm a STEM project targeted towards social betterment, design and execute their experiment, and record and present their findings at end-of-program science fairs!
Through hundreds of hours fine tuning lesson plans, sending emails, brainstorming publicity and recruitment techniques, and networking with companies and other nonprofits, STEM & Buds has since been able to expand our mission to impact hundreds of students across the nation!
Change the narrative behind STEM to help every student feel confident in applying their skills to better their communities.
Establish a lasting peer network by building genuine friendships between high school mentors and middle/elementary school students.
Create an inclusive and accessible STEM environment through completely cost-free programs where every voice belongs.
Long defined by rigid curricula taught in school, STEM has become a place of apprehension. However, through organic experimentation, from Victoria trying to analyze the youth e-cigarette epidemic to Ashna attempting to create water-proof substances for refugees, and presenting our findings to like-minded peers and professionals, we have found a community within the field. All our programming revolves around the idea of project creation. We hope to be a place where students can follow their interests, develop their solutions, and create #theirproject.