Bulls-EYE Mentoring Program at USF Inspires Women to Explore STEMulating Careers

Bulls-EYE Mentoring is a new initiative at the University of South Florida funded through an Innovation
Generation Grant from Motorola Solutions Foundation.  The organization’s mission is to empower underrepresented STEM populations in the Tampa Bay community by promoting personal development, community values, leadership, entrepreneurship, and engineering problem solving. The program hires undergraduate students to mentor underrepresented middle school youth that are local to the University. It promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through an engineering problem-solving focus delivered within a family environment. The program builds strong relationships between program participants by introducing team building activities while also providing opportunities for one-on-one interactions between mentors and mentees.

The program has four tenants for Mentees: Potential, Humility, Empowerment, and Growth; and four tenants for
Mentors: Leadership, Closeness, Community, and Legacy. One of the primary focuses of the program is to make STEM careers as a more tangible option for young women, particularly young women of color, who embody these tenants.  The program draws inspiration from the late poet and cultural icon Maya Angelou who once said "We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."  Bulls-EYE Mentoring hopes to invest in the process many underrepresented students must undergo to become high achieving students and inspire these youth to grow into their full potential."

The program impacts two populations: 
  • USF undergraduate students who want to promote their personal success and make a difference in their local community through outreach, a heightened sense of belonging, and professional development.
  • Middle school students who are at risk for low achievement but may benefit from high expectations, life skills, and STEM learning.
Program participants complete a five week, summer program at the USF campus where activities are geared to
improve both life and technical skills. Lessons expose students to a broad array of engineering disciplines through hands-on activities, and showcase how engineers improve their community. Activities will foster the development of a new generation of STEM professionals—one that continues to champion diversity and the role of STEM careers for the betterment of society.

Bulls-EYE Mentoring will be hosting its first Robotics Summer Academy this summer from June 27 to July 31.
Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE, worked closely with Dr. Jonathan Gaines, program director for Bulls-EYE Mentoring in structuring the camp and curriculum by sharing ideas outlined in FLATE's summer camp best practice guide. The robotics camp will operate Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at USF.  The program is currently recruiting rising sixth graders and seventh graders and potential undergraduate students as mentors. Participants must apply online. Visit the Bulls-EYE website at http://bullseye.eng.usf.edu for further information.

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