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“The Power of Diversity” Hallmarks STEAM: Coders Reception for Underserved Students Monday

Published on Sunday, April 23, 2017 | 8:19 pm

STEAM: Coders, a Pasadena-based nonprofit committed to helping educate underserved and underrepresented students in the fundamentals of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM), is holding is 2017 Spring Reception called “The Power of Diversity” on Monday, April 24, at the Westerbeck Recital Hall at Pasadena City College.

The program targets primarily elementary and middle-school children who may not have been informed about the potential educational and career opportunities related to STEAM, but are inclined to pursue these tracks in their progress.

Raymond Ealy, STEAM: Coders Executive Director and Founder, said they strive to address the very limited resources and opportunities for students to learn about STEAM, especially among the underserved families in the Pasadena area.

“The good thing about Pasadena is that we have a ton of world class facilities,” Ealy said, referring to Caltech, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the ArtCenter College for Design, and other Pasadena institutions.

“The unfortunate part is that many kids who grow up in this area who live in conditions that are at or below the poverty line never set foot on the ground,” Ealy continued. “So when we have a robotics class at Caltech and we bring in the elementary school kids, that’s the first time even the parents have ever set foot on the campus at Caltech. The parents may be in their 30s or 40s, grew up here, all their lives they’ve never been over there. We take them up to the ArtCenter College of Design, same thing – parents are in awe because they never even knew hese places existed.”

One of the speakers during the reception, Dr. Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College, is a proponent on diversity in the STEAM field.

“She’s going to speak about the impact that diversity has on bringing more people under the tent, to get them involved in the STEAM-related fields so we could mine their talents and hopefully come up with more brain power to help deal with some of the issues like environmental health or otherwise,” Ealy said.

The other speaker is Dr, Powtawche Valerino, a member of the Cassini and Solar Probe Plus Navigation Team at NASA/JPL.

Ealy said Valerino was born on an Indian reservation in Mississippi and obtained degrees at Rice University and Standford, and received her doctorate in engineering at JPL.

“We want the students to hear that story how someone came out of an environment like she was in, and persevered and took it seriously and moved up the food chain,” Ealy said. “The goal is to get the kids inspired to want to learn more about these areas and also to explore more of Pasadena.”

Ealy has over 25 years of management experience in the nonprofit, financial services and retail sectors with Bank of America, Countrywide Financial Services, Security Pacific Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank. He currently serves on boards of Innovate Pasadena, La Salle High School Board of Regents and LA’s BEST Advisory Board.

Previous board affiliations include the Pasadena Community Foundation and the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation. He resides in Altadena.

Monday’s reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. The Westerbeck Recital Hall is at Pasadena City College, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena.

To register for the reception, visit

To learn more about STEAM: Coders, visit

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