Woman to Woman
Kavelle Hylton takes STEM to teen moms
Kavelle Hylton

THE first encounter with Kavelle Hylton will no doubt include a conversation about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), as her life's passion focuses on improving the industry while bringing youngsters on the journey.

It is no surprise that, with over 12 years of STEM education and training, she has her own company, STEM Builders Learning Hub, where she works with students at all levels to build 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication.

And now she's working with young mothers — her next quest is hosting a STEM career expo and workshops for over 60 adolescent mothers from the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF). The event is being held on Tuesday at the Girl Guides Headquarters in Kingston, under the theme 'STEM Domestic Violence'.

"STEM builders provides the access that I have been craving for years to provide to students. I created a website where students would be able to find tutors in the different subjects and these tutors would be able to offer their services," she told All Woman.

Kavelle Hylton

"We know the global shortage of STEM teachers, especially right now because the United States and UK always try to recruit Jamaican teachers and many of them are leaving the classrooms for one reason or the other, so access is more important even now than ever before."

The event is being funded by the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation and the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) social impact grant which is part of the US Department of State's flagship programme for emerging entrepreneurs and business leaders from Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada.

Noting that it is the first time working with the WCJF, Hylton said she hopes the initiative will help to promote STEM as tools to encourage independence among women and reduce gender-based violence.

"It is really to promote using STEM as tools that women can use to empower themselves so that they will not only find jobs when they leave school to work in a minimum wage job, but that they can actually enter a career that will secure their future, as well as that of their child or children. That was the thought process behind it," she said.

Additionally, about 30 of the young ladies will participate in training in entrepreneurship, product development, social media marketing and website development.

Hylton admitted that as a youngster, she didn't have the opportunity that nowadays youth have with STEM. She pointed out that it was due to the lack of resources to enhance technical skills in science subjects at her high school.

On her journey to transform the STEM education landscape in the Caribbean, she has received several accolades including a YLAI fellowship and JMMB Accelerator, and is a Development Bank of Jamaica IGNITE recipient.

Asked what other profession she would pursue if she did not get one in STEM, Hylton chuckled and said, "I would have probably been a lawyer because I actually got into law school and I did A-level law and I was pretty good at it."

Kavelle Hylton

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