STEAM and Global Citizenship Trip

Shifting Perspectives – Collective Impact

Strong TIES Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Mathematics (STEAM) Program and Life Paradigms, Inc. are organizing a STEAM and Global Citizenship Exchange trip to Ghana, West Africa.

Life Paradigms, Inc. (hence Life Paradigms) has provided leadership development programming, serving over 3000 youth in the metropolitan Phoenix area, through their Rites of Passage Programs, including Blueprint for Womanhood. Going into its 23rd year, Rites of Passage prepares youth, ages 12-17, for a successful transition into adulthood. Our mission is to implement positive change in under-served communities. Our intent is to create an awareness of the importance of personal, social and global responsibility.

Strong TIES, as part of its mission to increase students’ successful introduction and engagement of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math (STEAM), includes local and national partnerships that support K-12 STEM education and academic preparation for future careers.

Our program is aligned with Arizona State University (ASU), the nation’s largest public university, in their commitment to delivering quality higher education and outreach to deserving students. One of the areas of focus for ASU is ensuring our nation achieve its 21st Century goals, particularly in STEM education. Furthermore, this collaborative initiative aligns with Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD) and Life Paradigms. current engagement in the integration of Life Paradigms programs within their curriculum.

The Challenge

The challenge is real. African American girls are on the receiving end of punitive, zero-tolerance policies that subject them to violence, arrest, suspension and/or expulsion. It is well-established in the research literature and by educational advocates that there is a link between the use of punitive disciplinary measures and subsequent patterns of criminal supervision and incarceration [1].

Similarly, according to the National Science Foundation, African Americans make up just 4.0 percent of the 5 million scientists and engineers in the nation’s workforce. In Arizona, less than 2% of African American girls are prepared for STEM disciplines. Computer Science and Information Technology will lead the nation’s fastest growing employment trends and highest annual earnings over the next decade according to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics [2]. Unfortunately, African Americans girls are far behind degree attainment in areas of anticipated job growth due to gaps in science and math achievement. It is clear that serious interventions are necessary to alleviate the knowledge desert that exists around the lives and experiences of African American girls.

The Solution

Strong TIES and Life Paradigms provide alternative pathways through innovative and engaging programs offered annually to African American girls. Our programs place an emphasis on global citizenship, social justice, mental and emotional development and STEAM.

Through this collaborative partnership, U.S. African American girls will travel to Ghana, West Africa to foster dialogue with their African contemporaries and cultivate an awareness of their global responsibilities. By leveraging technology, we enable global exchanges and conversations between middle and high school students who otherwise would not meet. These exchanges promote empathy, peace, and build 21st century workforce skills.

Your Investment Opportunity

Sustainable community-building interventions are paramount to igniting interest, propagating the STEAM pipeline, and demonstrating diversity through a message of recognizing and appreciating the value of other cultures. We encourage those who are concerned about broadening participation of today’s youth in global markets and exchanges, to invest in our future innovators. Your investment is important in developing a diverse workforce and preparing youth to represent America as leaders ready to add innovative solutions for next generation critical issues. More importantly, your investment will Shift Perspectives and Change Lives.


[1] Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Over Policed And Underprotected, 2015. Center For Intersectionality And Social Policy Studies And African American Policy Forum,

[2] National Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

[3] Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) & The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls, A Call to Action for Educational Equity The NAACP, 2014

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