Featured #MSUrbanSTEM Sustainability Fellow: Kenn Freeman

Sustainability Fellow: Kenn Freeman

Bio: Throughout my career, I’ve operated under the belief that creating sustainable success is best achieved through setting goals, executing action plans, and swiftly correcting problems in order to remain on target. During my 15-year career in the Information Technology field at AT&T and Motorola, I’ve utilized this approach to establish and maintain some of the most sophisticated technology environments within those organizations. As a Mathematics, Science, & Technology Educator in the Chicago Public School (CPS) System, I’ve continued using a process-management approach toward building academic excellence among adolescents in predominantly low-income areas. Since joining CPS in 2002, I’ve provided instructional leadership, process management, & change control training to individuals and teams in the education field.

Sustainability Project: STEM Career Readiness Program For Students

Developing the interest and providing exposure to High School youth lies at the heart of helping sustain the STEM talent needed in the technology sector. In order for tech companies around the world to keep up with the rapid-pace demands for more innovative and easy to use products and services, talented people resources must be developed and curated. Currently in the Computer Science industry, there is a workforce crisis in this regard. Basically, there just aren’t enough young people coming out of High School or College with the desire or the skillset, particularly in the minority and female demographics, to fill the STEM jobs that are available.

At Amundsen High School in Chicago, we have been working hard to help bridge this gap. Last year, we launched a credit required program of study in Computer Science aimed at exposing and influencing our urban youth to this field, in hopes of convincing them to pursue it as a career. This year, we were fortunate enough to launch a mobile app development class, designed to teach students the coding skills necessary to create real-world apps for iPhones and iPads. We received enough resources to implement the program through the 1st semester of this school year. Our current risk is that we will not be able to obtain the devices needed to test and perfect apps before they can be released to the public. We’ve initiating charitable donation efforts, starting with a GoFundMe.com/amundsen-ios-coders fundraising campaign, to help us acquire the money needed to continue offering this class through the 2nd semester.