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C5LA and BIVIUM: Inspiring the Next Generation of STEM Leaders

Bowling Green, KY (October 20, 2022) — This past week, Connected Nation had the opportunity to catch up with leaders of C5 Youth Foundation of Southern California (C5LA), following their first place finish at the national Kids Tech Summit in April. Our conversation with Director, Miguel Duncan, and Career Success Program Director, Rhiann Joshua, checked in on the status of C5LA and its BIVIUM program, which was created for the Kids Tech Summit.

C5LA is a youth foundation based in Los Angeles that supports “high-potential teens from under-resourced communities by inspiring them to pursue personal success, while preparing them for leadership roles in school, college, work, and their communities,” according to its mission statement.

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The BIVIUM program is committed to decreasing the disparity between STEM careers and minorities in under-resourced areas. According to BIVIUM, only 17% of the STEM workforce is made up of African American and Hispanic workers. C5LA is using its first-place prize of $7,500 from the Kids Tech Summit to fund the BIVIUM initiative.

“The purpose of our summer BIVIUM program was for the students to really focus in on what they were going to do” in STEM, said Miguel. BIVIUM “created pop-ups throughout L.A. County and reached out to other nonprofits, such as libraries and other organizations, to expose these kids to the opportunities of STEM.”

The most vital benefit of programs and organizations such as C5LA and BIVIUM is what students can achieve thanks to these opportunities. The life-changing lessons of working in a team setting, soft skills, accountability, and personal development have made a real impact on the students’ confidence.

“Since the competition, our kids have really found their voice and been able to take the processes into their own light,” said Rhiann.  

Events such as the Kids Tech Summit allow students of all backgrounds to be exposed to the importance of STEM in our world. They empower teens to share their talent with a wide array of like-minded individuals. Bringing awareness of these programs and STEM to under-resourced communities is the first step in inspiring the next generation of leaders.

At the end of the interview, both Miguel and Rhiann shared their vision for the future. “The future of BIVIUM is to make it into an actual organization and continue these lessons and experiences for future generations to come,” Miguel said. “In 10 to 20 years from now, it may be implemented nationwide to provide low-income and under-resourced areas with these pop-ups and experiences.”

“BIVIUM was created to reduce the disparity in STEM, and as time goes on, these students will be able to get the jobs they are passionate about, gain more autonomy in their workforce and build pipeline programs to really give back,” Rhiann added.

Programs like the Kids Tech Summit, C5LA and BIVIUM are key to empowering the next generation and leveling the playing field. Ultimately, the goal of both C5LA and Connected Nation is the same — to not leave anyone behind.

For more information regarding C5LA, BIVIUM and the Kids Tech Summit, visit any of the links below.

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