A San Ramon high school junior is bringing science, technology, engineering and mathematics, otherwise known as STEM education, to less fortunate kids in Oakland and elsewhere.
California High School student Sayam De started the work two years ago because at a young age he saw a gap in resources between schools. This realization started when a babysitter told him that her school did not have the same resources, such as computers, that his school did.
“This was mindboggling to me,” De said in an interview.
He researched the education equity gap created by what he says is an unfair school system and decided to start a nonprofit called Pi Kids.
Education equity means every student has access to resources, support and opportunities for their academic success as other students, said Maureen Scharberg, professor and dean of academic programs and services at California State University East Bay.
Scharberg said the opportunities, support and resources might look different for each student because each learns differently and has different interests and goals.
De now has a team of about 20 high school volunteers who are helping kids in Oakland, New York and Hispanic areas of San Jose learn about STEM.
The team organizes pocket personal computer classes to teach other kids how to build pocket PCs and write computer code for video games.
“We try to make it fun and engaging for them,” De said.
De’s team uses Raspberry Pi pocket PCs in their classes.
“They are so enthusiastic about helping other communities where resources are limited,” De’s mother Debjani De said.
Sayam De and his team host classes and workshops in libraries and schools.
The team is also raising money to donate Raspberry Pi minicomputers to schools and libraries. Already, they have raised a few thousand dollars for libraries and organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club in Oakland.
After high school, Sayam De has his sights set on attending a university such as Purdue University or New York University to perhaps study management information systems.
Sayam De wants to grow Pi Kids beyond the Bay Area into a nationwide nonprofit, even holding workshops outside of the United States. He envisions obtaining government grants to help. Already, he has been in touch with his congressperson and other leaders.
Sayam De recently received recognition for his Pi Kids work from San Ramon Vice Mayor Sridhar Verose.
“Love your service to bring equity in technology education!” Verose wrote in an Instagram post to Pi Kids.