SMASH is committed to eliminating the barriers faced by young underrepresented people of color in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and fostering their untapped talent. While STEM occupation opportunities overall are increasing, Black and Latinx people remain underrepresented in STEM fields. SMASH is not only an education organization, SMASH’s four programs weave mentorship, social justice, career opportunities, and life skills into their STEM curriculums.
SMASH Academy, the flagship program, is a three-year college prep program that empowers students to deepen their talents and pursue STEM careers. In the summer the students attend tuition-free classes at leading universities like Berkeley, Stanford, and Morehouse and during the school year there is monthly programming. The students are coached by instructors of color, which both helps them to connect more deeply with the content and gives them role models representing their potential future.
After completing the SMASH Academy program, alumni benefit from the SMASH Rising program, which provides them with access to tech companies where they can gain real world work experience.
Even students not participating in SMASH Academy itself benefit from programming. SMASH CS works with non-SMASH students to prepare for the AP Computer Science exams and helps teachers build CS programs at their schools.
SMASH’s fourth program is a pilot project to scale the impact of SMASH Academy for online learning opportunities.
The efficacy and impact of SMASH’s programs is underscored by their evidence-based program design and pre/post impact survey results. Their 2017 alumni outcomes are above national average for graduation rates, Bachelor degree completion rates, and majoring in STEM. SMASH also measured social-emotional indicators and found significant growth. SMASH’s model opens doors for low-income students of color and demonstrates an impact on the availability of STEM interest, education, and careers for those students, which is why FBB has chosen SMASH as the Education beneficiary for Q1 2019.