An Indigenous educator, inventor, author and environmental activist, Danielle Boyer has, at age 20, already accomplished more than most adults to increase diversity, accessibility and affordability in the STEAM education space — science, technology, engineering, art and math.

If you care about accelerating an equitable clean economy, then you need to care about STEAM — specifically, the woeful underrepresentation of women and people of color working in these industries, and the disparate access to quality STEAM education that precedes it. If we are to leverage the full potential of science and technology to address our most pressing global challenges, the people developing these solutions must represent society as a whole.

That’s why Boyer is working to solve this problem by getting to the root — ensuring that young people of color, particularly girls and those in Indigenous communities, have access to quality STEAM education. I caught up with her recently to talk about technology innovation and environmental education. The following conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

Shana Rappaport: Your work is rooted in the belief that ensuring equitable access to environmental education and engineering opportunities is a social and environmental imperative. Why is that?

Danielle Boyer: I believe that every child has the potential to be an Earth Innovator — someone who uses their unique talents, interests and skills to benefit our Earth. Unfortunately, not every child has the opportunity to discover their superpower, because they don't have access to learning technical skills — skills that will not only transform their future, but the future of our Earth, too.  I've centered my mission around providing resources to these kids with an emphasis on youth of color and girls, especially in Indigenous communities, like my own. I think that we all deserve to learn what our superpowers are and to be given the opportunity to use them.

Rappaport: Talk a little bit about the organization that you founded, STEAM Connection, and how initiatives such as your flagship program, Every Kid Gets a Robot, are designed to fulfill your mission.

Boyer: I founded the STEAM Connection in January 2019, which wasn't that long ago. Our work brings accessible, affordable and diverse STEAM education to children all around the world, and it has been such a cool journey. I work with a team of all minorities — we're all students in STEAM and we work to bring things like robotics, classes and more to youth.

Read the full article about women and girls in STEAM by Shana Rappaport at GreenBiz.