Jul 06 2023

ISTELive 23: Men of Color Lead the Way for STEM in Their Communities

A 2021 Code.org report notes that only 51 percent of high schools offer computer science coursework, and a 2021 Pew Research Center report shows that Black students earned only 7 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees in 2018.

Abran Maldonado and Norval Connell are working to improve those numbers by exposing more young people of color from urban environments to computer science.

DIG DEEPER: Learn how schools are working to reduce the STEM divide for Black students.

To stay up to date on all the goings-on at this year’s ISTE conference, bookmark this page and follow along on Twitter at @EdTech_K12 or with the hashtag #ISTELive.


    Abran Maldonado, Co-Founder, Create Labs Ventures

    Norval Connell, STEM Instructional Leader, Enlarged City School District of Middletown (N.Y.)

Video Highlights

  • Abran Maldonado is an artificial intelligence expert and co-founder of Create Labs Ventures, which built C.L.Ai.R.A., the first AI of color, in 2020. 
  • C.L.Ai.R.A. was created with the same technology as ChatGPT to be an ambassador for black and brown communities.
  • Maldonado is focused on hiring young people from urban environments and helping them build the computational skills needed to work in the technology industry.
  • Norval Connell, is the science, technology, engineering and math instructional leader at the Enlarged City School District of Middletown in New York.
  • Connell is the leading force behind a STEM program that is helping students build strong mathematical and computational thinking backgrounds to prepare them for STEM careers.
  • Though Middletown is a high-poverty district, its leaders provide students with cutting-edge educational facilities and partner with organizations, colleges and universities to give students access to technology certifications and dual-credit programs.