Baltimore, Dirt Bikes, social good, Stem, Women Stem

A new STEM pipeline for black youth

Young’s interest in science grew out of a chemistry set her parents bought when she was in the first grade. It turned the precocious learner, who recalls reading chapter books and writing in cursive by kindergarten, loose on the path to becoming an engineer.

She proved the stereotypes and naysayers wrong with stints at NASA, McCormick & Company, and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. While she loved the challenge of figuring out, for example, how to better move the seasonings for McCormick’s famous Old Bay Seasoning through a manufacturing plant, she ultimately found herself drawn to solving a more high-stakes problem: diversifying STEM and creating opportunities in those fields for youth growing up in communities like hers.

The premise of B-360, however, faced a substantial challenge. For nearly the past two decades, it’s been illegal to drive or ride a dirt bike in Baltimore, a law passed ostensibly out of concern for safety. The prospect of a misdemeanor charge hasn’t stopped people from riding, and the legal reality didn’t stop Young from making the machines the centerpiece of her STEM education program, either.

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