From Rocket Scientist to EdTech Startup Founder, with STEMedia's Dr. Nehemiah Mabry

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From Rocket Scientist to EdTech Startup Founder, with STEMedia's Dr. Nehemiah Mabry

When Nehemiah Mabry was a PhD student at NC State University, he made a video for the national Engineering: Stay with It campaign launched by Intel, MTV and Facebook, which encouraged students to pursue a future in engineering.

“This is right in my alley,” Nehemiah said. “They might as well have said ‘Nehemiah, can you do something for us?’ Because I responded to it with such veracity.”

So, he and his friend submitted a video, and they won. They were featured on MTV, the two received a laptop from Intel and Nehemiah kept making videos.

After his success, the dean of NC State’s College of Engineering, Louis Martin Vega, started telling everyone about his “business.”

“That used to kinda scare me a little bit because I was like, ‘I don't have a business,’ I was just making videos,” Nehemiah said.

But Dean Vega’s comments got his gears turning, and his journey to creating STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—content that helped prospective students begin or continue their STEM education and know what they needed to create a successful career.

STEMedia was born.

Today, STEMedia is a platform and producer of educational content that serves over 20,000 students and young professionals, which are predominantly Black and Brown, and portrays STEM as what Nehemiah has always known it to be: fun.

Creating a successful digital media platform in an age where there is so much free content available presents a unique challenge, but Nehemiah reminded me that it’s not just the information that is important in attracting learners.

“At the end of the day, yeah, you may be able to learn Python in several places,” Nehemiah said, “but there's a certain teacher that when they're teaching Python, for some reason, they just seem to know exactly where you're coming from.”

Whether it’s their analogies, their cadence or even their sense of humor, we can all remember teachers that have made sometimes the most difficult subjects our favorite. That principle still applies to online learning, and it’s something STEMedia considers when creating their educational content.

Nehemiah also mentioned the importance of learning the content in a linear way that builds upon itself the more you learn, something else you can’t when surfing for STEM in different places online. Perhaps the most important piece Nehemiah mentioned, though, was the community.

“A large part of succeeding in something is not just it being made available, but to also be on a journey, or to feel like you're on a journey, with several other people heading in the same direction,” Nehemiah said “There's inherent accountability. There's inherent inspiration. There's inherent affirmation when you need it. That comes from doing things in a community versus doing it alone.”And with a team of 10 educators, Nehemiah isn’t going it alone with STEMedia. To learn more about their business and how Nehemiah found his own love for STEM, tune in to the latest episode of Founder Shares, available wherever you like to listen to podcasts.

The blog content should not be construed as legal advice.

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