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STEAM:Coders Connect with Students in Senegal

STEAM:Coders, an organization dedicated to preparing underrepresented students for careers in science, technology, engineering, art and math, recently teamed up with Nickelodeon, a leader in children’s television programming, and Black N’ Animated, an organization based in Los Angeles, focused on animation, to create the first-ever Animation Bootcamp for students in Dakar, Senegal.
The interactive workshops, held via Zoom recently, gave students from the Senegalese American Bilingual School the chance to discuss topics ranging from storyboarding, character design, production and more.
“For seven years, STEAM:Coders has exposed inner city youth in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area to diverse careers and fields of study. Due to our collaboration with SABS, Nickelodeon and Black N’ Animated, we have included underserved students around the world,” said Raymond Ealy, STEAM:Coders executive director and founder.
“We live in a global society and there’s a global talent market that continues to be excluded from certain fields,” Ealy said. “These kids are tech savvy, and to see how animated they became when engaging with the Nickelodeon team about topics of interest to them was truly inspiring.”
Neil Wade, Manager of Nickelodeon’s Animated Current Series and Director of Outreach for Black N’ Animated, collaborated with Nickelodeon’s Carson Smith and Harold Anderson to plan the workshops, is passionate about his responsibility as a black animator to increase career opportunities for historically underrepresented communities.
“I recognize that there are unique barriers that have minimized the black presence in animation, and I seek to remove those barriers to foster the growth of a greater variety of voices and perspectives being expressed through animated content,” Wade said.
Stephanie Kane, SABS director, said the Animation Boot Camp opened her eyes to the world of animation and allowed her to understand just how popular animation is among her students.
“I have been personally interested in drawing since I was little and have always wanted to try animation, but I did not know how,” Mingui Cho, a 12th grader, said. “I want to thank the bootcamp for showing me how to make characters and animate cartoons. The Bootcamp gave me a lot of information about art and even about life that we can’t find anywhere else.”


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