Recently launched within Vancouver Fairview, Ethọ́s Lab is an inclusive, collaborative space for youth to explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math (S.T.E.A.M.).
The lab is creating a new model of S.T.E.A.M. education and harnessing the power of diversity – something which has traditionally been lacking in the field.
Founder Anthonia Ogundele explains why she started the lab.
What is Ethọ́s Lab?
Anthonia: It’s a creative co-working space for kids; an after school enrichment program from 4-6 PM that gives them access to S.T.E.A.M. education and building opportunities.
What motivated you to start it?
Anthonia: I’m the mother of a 15-year-old, and when she turned 12 she found it extremely difficult to find programming for S.T.E.A.M. She was very passionate about it, but in programs she’d be the oldest girl, the only girl, and the only Black girl.
So I was thinking about creating spaces where my daughter and other teens would be comfortable. I knew this would look different than most spaces, and that’s how Ethọ́s Lab came about.
What are the benefits of multicultural, inclusive tech participation?
Anthonia: Right now we’re looking at diversity, equity, and inclusion at the back end. But we need to start with these things and embed them in the process of creation. When we create something, we must look at who we’re creating it for.
S.T.E.A.M. touches every part of life, including how we build cities, create products, and build services.
What changes need to be made for S.T.E.A.M. to become more inclusive?
Anthonia: Number one: every kid should have access to the networks, competitions, and opportunities that some of these places get.
There are many kids who are curious, who are entrepreneurial, who come home and build things or watch videos about science and technology, but they may not have the greatest grades.
Currently our education system doesn’t let students like that experience these opportunities. My daughter would see kids in gifted programs doing fun puzzles, going on special field trips, and getting to have all sorts of enriching experiences that weren’t available to her.
Kids should be empowered to decide whether the S.T.E.A.M. route is what they’ll pursue; they shouldn’t have someone else deciding for them.
How can people support the lab?
Anthonia: You can send your teens! We have two amazing summer camps: sustainable sneaker design camp and gaming camp. Donations also help us stay afloat, so if you don’t have kids that’s another way to help.
Learn more by visiting www.ethoslab.ca