After School STEM Enrichment Program

Transform the lives of kids now, let them transform our lives later.

Photo of Emmanuel Bagirov
20 31

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Date Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Location of where someone is raised is a huge indicator of what resources they will have available as well as their success. Our goal is to go past their barriers that prevent people from accomplishing their dreams by focusing on kids while they are young, and enriching their scientific knowledge with fun experiments.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

I am planning on solving this problem by partnering with local schools and community events to help host Science clubs/events. To find volunteers, I have worked together with other college students to advertise our volunteering opportunities on campus and on social media. To plan out what we do, we find an experiment and write out a memo. Within the memo, supplies needed as well as instructions on how to perform the experiment are included. To expand our audience, we have begun contacting other schools and organizations asking if they would be interested in hosting a science based event. We have also been contacted by other local organizations asking if we could help volunteer or donate supplies to have them run the experiment themselves. Our goal is to make science as accessible to as many people as possible, so partnering with as many organizations and having enough volunteers is crucial. While what we do is local at the moment, I would be delighted to see other students across the nation work together on enriching their local communities in need. Not only will we see short term results in having students getting educated, but we will also see long term results for the future.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Involvement goes both ways, from volunteers to the kids. Volunteer wise, we have formed many new friendships through the club. As someone who has anxiety, meeting people can be difficult for me but it felt completely natural while running the organization. I now have a bigger network of friends that I can ask for advice and to network with. Some of the volunteers are younger than me, so it has allowed them to meet new people as well and to have a first look at what it is to interact with kids. Working with lower income individuals also opens up new perspectives as not everyone is privileged growing up to have the same opportunities as they did growing up. We once had a kid write a thank you card. It was awesome to see how thankful the kids are when it comes to appreciating what we do for the club.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Our focus is on lower income communities that may not have the funds to have after-school programs for kids to join. Our volunteering efforts have drove us to make sure no one is left out of new opportunities based on their background, whether it is race/sex/sexual orientation/religion/wealth. Everyone deserves a chance to be exposed to the scientific community to learn more about what career paths they can take as they get older. There is a huge possibility that someone may want to work with chemistry, but may not know it because they are not exposed to what exactly chemistry is.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

The club is split into two sections of grade levels, with one in session for the first half of the year with the other in the second half of the year. This past year, we had over 60 students participate in the club. It is amazing to see how many of these kids look forward to the next set of experiments, as well as their reactions when they are awed by the experiment taking place. We have also participated as judges at the Science Fair at the same school, which had dozens of kids from each grade level compete against each other for the most impressive experiment. We are looking forward to continue partnering with hosting the club and volunteering at science fairs at local schools. Many of these kids have exhibited great interest in science related fields as a result of how much fun they have while at the same time, learning about every day processes going on around us.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

To take the project to the next level, we are hoping to partner with even more schools, daycares, and after school organizations to help enrich science within kids across the nation. This upcoming year, we are integrating a more personal approach by having volunteers pair up with specific kids throughout the year. We are also looking into expanding into more local elementary schools. Other clubs on campus have been interested in partnering with us to expand the program to even more schools.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

The current.physical supplies we use is obtained through donations from parents as well as purchased materials using club funds. Some materials have also been donated by the Chemistry department at the University of Cincinnati. Digitally, we use Google services to host instruction documents and for planning events/RSVP. A centralized website would greatly help in accomplishing this changemaker. It could act as a database where any chapter can access activities to plan, or to submit brand new activities/enhance existing ones. Videos could also be hosted on the website to give a better understanding on how each experiment works. My goal is to make it as easy as possible for anyone to help set up within their local community.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

Partnering with other local colleges and schools, or even across the nation, could create a centralized network of Science Clubs. By sharing resources, guidelines, and ideas, the organization could be run smoothly due to being organized and focused.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
  • Middle Eastern or North African (for example: Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan, Algerian) (11)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Other

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?


Evaluation results

57 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 50.9%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 28.1%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 15.8%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 3.5%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 1.8%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 47.4%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 14%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 3.5%

1 - This entry is weak here - 1.8%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 42.9%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 17.9%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 28.6%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 5.4%

1 - This entry is weak here - 3.6%

No Answer - 1.8%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 48.5%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 24.2%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 6.1%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 3%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 56.1%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 24.6%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 14%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 1.8%

1 - This entry is weak here - 1.8%

No Answer or No Connection - 1.8%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Agilan Gunashankar

Wow! This project not only would be a great pastime, but it would also spark something in students that could very well influence future choices! Nice Job!

Photo of monika robinson

As a stem major myself I really love that you are doing this for children in lower income communities! I really feel that children are that fastest advancing in brain development during the early stages of their lives and that we as a community should take advantage of that exponential growth to help them develop into passionate driven individuals who will contribute to our society. I would love to help out with this project! My project is Plaestik.project which aims to clean up the environment by taking plastic out of the environment and through manufacturing process cleans, grinds, and injection molds that plastic into new objects. Id love to do a workshop with your students that teaches them how they could collect plastic in their environment to innovate products themselves!

Photo of Danielle Snyder Potter

Great idea!!! Can’t wait to see what happens in the future! Best of luck!

Photo of Tia Johnston Brown

Hello! I love your idea and reasons for making it happen. I love that you are creating an easy way for partners to help you run fun and interactive science experiments. Beyond after school activities it could be interesting to offering this during school hours to science teachers. This way you are reaching more youth and not just those who care enough about science to sign up for your after school activities. You have a great idea. Keep pushing forward and really focus on ways to reach as many youth as possible. I also agree with Kim, that you should research other STEM organizations who you could partner with to have even greater impact.

Photo of Kim Solem

Emmanual, so great to see you not only hatch the idea, but put it into action. You've clearly struck a chord with STEM in your community. I would encourage you to do some online research about other after school science clubs or STEM groups... there are many, and several are well funded. Tapping into those resources may give you access to additional supplies, curriculum, expertise, guest speakers, corporate partners, etc. You are an amazing changemaker!

Photo of Doug Cordray

I think this is a fantastic idea! The more we can do to get kids, especially those in under-served communities, excited about STEM programs, the better our collective future will be. Keeping it fairly simple and including a centralized website, as you've suggested, allows for the possibility to implement this across a broad spectrum of communities throughout the nation. I wonder if there are any community service organizations or college service organizations you could tap for additional volunteer power? Excellent work, keep it up!

Photo of Leilani Serbousek

Maybe we could collaborate and help spread STEM to lower-income communities, as you plan on doing, and we could help provide care packages to schools that get involved? The Nightlight Project(Helping Bring Light Into the Young Lives That Need it Most.) plans to send care packages with different themes to lower-income kids/teens in order to let them discover new passions they otherwise couldn't due to them not being able to afford it. We could work together to help give kids/teens in lower-income community have equal opportunities for jobs in STEM and beyond.

Photo of Emmanuel Bagirov

I definitely think care packages could benefit students. I remember in my last year of elementary school, we had a ‘teenager’ care pack that included small things like deodorant, a razor, a manual to help us understand what changes we’re going through, etc. Not everyone has access to those resources at home so it’d be great to donate them.

Photo of Sebastian Ibarraran

As a person who is passionate about STEM, I love how your project is trying to bring STEM to disadvantaged groups. Feel free to check out my entry Breaking Barriers to see if we can somehow collaborate in the future!

Photo of Emmanuel Bagirov

I just checked it out and loved your idea! I think it’s awesome to see a lot of us focusing on less privileged groups.

Photo of Kania Rimu

This is a great idea! STEM is an important subject to expose to children at an early age. As a low-income individual, I understand the difficulties participating in STEM activities. I wish you the best!

Photo of Jim Kline

I can’t wait to see what comes of this project!

Photo of Parker Bearington

Awesome idea! Really hope this makes it through.

Photo of Brian Reynolds

As someone with a STEM background, I think it is a great idea to offer this kind of enrichment program to kids and especially to focus on lower-income and underrepresented communities. These are the most in need of educational programs like this that will go beyond the books and get kids excited and involved in these important topics. Good luck!

Photo of James Mendez

I would love to see something like this come to fruition. Growing up in a low income family I can definitely attest to the struggles that are presented to those that don't necessarily have the means to better themselves and aren't given the same educational opportunities that people with higher incomes seem to have as an overabundance.

Photo of Luka Guzina

I can confidently and wholeheartedly say that I look forward to seeing Emmanuel Bagirov's contribution to the project. In a world where scientific issues are increasing in importance, Emmanuel Bagirov can bring further awareness to science. Bagirov is a leader, a phenom, and will set a good example for the youth involved with the project. With all of this being said, Emmanuel Bagirov has the capability to exceed expectations, complete the most difficult obstacles, and set a high standard of work ethic.

Photo of Krayne Porter

Now that I'm at an age where many of my friends growing up have children of their own, I am becoming acutely aware of the wealth of opportunities I had access to growing up, and what a tragedy it is that some growing up won't, either by not succeeding in getting into a STEM school or attending a school that has less funding compared to others. Much like food deserts, under-served communities of children, regardless of color or income, are starving for and deserving of exposure to the kinds of STEM subject matter that will ferry them into a future where the curiosity, wonder, and innovation they nurture in their youth will do them a great benefit. I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically champion this project and I look forward to hearing about how things progress for you. Thank you.

Photo of John Kee

Experiential learning is so important to young STEM learners. My friends and I are always talking about underrepresentarion of minorities in our STEM fields and it’s awesome that you are doing something to help make change earlier on in the lives of these underrepresented individuals! Great job!

Photo of Ezra Bram

Wow, Emmanuel! Awesome work. I can really tell that you have a genuine passion for kids to have a safe, welcoming, and stimulating place after school where they can belong. Thank you for sharing your personal story. I believe that sincerity like yours will take you a long way. I have a couple ideas to bounce off of you, too. I am wondering if you could partner with someone like iStudy and utilize the social networking and available time slot aspects in order to make it easier for kids and parents alike to plan their schedules. Does that make sense? I love the match-making side of your idea and I think that would be really easy to build off of! Best of luck to you, my friend. I can't wait to see this take off. Let us at CATALYST COFFEE AND TAPHOUSE know if you're ever in Denver and need connections!

Photo of Tyler Colon

Thank you Ezra Bram for tagging me in your comment and making me aware of Emmanuel's project. I love your cause-- being someone that benefited from countless after school and summer school programs, I completely understand their importance. I would love to help you build an academic support program for your students. If you're interested in working together, don't be afraid to reach out. Hopefully we'll be in touch some time in the future. Best of luck and best wishes to you!