Skip to content


Cimone Wright-Hamor

2020 Scholarship Recipient

On behalf of the Jacobson Institute, we are proud to partner with Jewels Academy!
M. Hasken-Averkamp
Comment for University of Iowa’s Jacobsen Institute reguarding the STEM Innovation college course
“I value our partnership with Jewels Academy because they help us to understand the types of programming that will help young women see themselves as leaders in STEM fields.”
Amy Colbert
Pd.D. Professor and Department Executive Officer Department of Management and Entrepreneurship Trippie College of Business, University of Iowa
“After learning what Jewels Academy was about it made me want to pursue my career even more. Knowing that there is a group of people that want to see me succeed in civil engineering a male-dominated field. Jewels Academy inspired me and give me the boost I need to keep treading on.”
“While interning for two (2) summers with Jewels Academy, I was able to assist with their STEM programming available to young girls in middle and high school. This included setting up their math and science summer programs, planning and facilitating workshops, developing my organization skills and enhancing my ability to multitask around the office. I have enjoyed watching the young ladies light up with enthusiasm when you see that they “get it.” This has provided me with the confidence in regard to my communication skills when publicly speaking to a group of people or when giving instructions to peers. Jewels Academy has provided me with the opportunity of working in a fast-paced environment and I loved every minute of it. Jewels Academy inspired me to continue my education at Grand View University. I will be pursuing my career in the STEM field and achieving my degree in their Computer Science program.”
“Jewels Academy has helped inspire me to pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics because science has always been a part of my life. I was in Jewels Academy as a camper in 2012 and continued to go till I got too old. After that I was a Youth worker and help plan and set up the programs. Not only did I participate in Jewels Academy but I also participate in Meals with Mentors. Meals with Mentors was when you would have dinner with all types of women who have a STEM career. I always enjoyed going to these programs, and I don't know what I would major in if I could not pick a science major. The people in these programs have help pave my path towards the future and as I looked back I am proud to be the person I am and the person I will be in the future.”
“The year I started Jewels Academy my 4th grade teacher told my class that women were nurses and teachers while men did the hard work and became doctors and engineers. I had my mind made up that I would be an archeologist when I grew and that dream was shattered. After my first summer in Jewels Academy I was fired up and ready to dive deeper into my interest in science despite what my teacher had told me. We made rockets and were hands on learning about things that I was always taught was for boys. Dr. Kimberly Wayne made sure that each of us girls knew that women in STEM was important and essential. From then on I knew I wanted a degree in science and wanted to use it to help people. I was so mesmerized by the program that I devoted 7+ years of my life to Jewels Academy. If I wasn't a student I was a youth worker helping other young girls come to the same realization that I did. Without Jewels Academy I wouldn't be pursuing the degree that I am today.”
“Being an instructor for Jewels Academy has provided me with the reassurance that I am able to hone my craft and teach others as well. I often suffer from impostor syndrome and my confidence as an engineer is questioned time and time again. When I am in a Jewels Academy Y.E.S. workshop, the engagement of the girls with the projects and joy that they express when they complete a successful project, reassures me that I am in the right field. Jewels Academy has also provided me a space where I can meet other females in STEM that have been where I am and offers guidance to me. This is important to me because I have struggled with female mentors in the past that were not as encouraging in my development as an engineer and for that I am grateful. Mentoring the peer helper is also a joy because it helps me realize how far I have come as an engineer and a young woman and pass on the knowledge of my experience. Because of my time with Jewels Academy I found the spark again that motivated me to be an electrical engineer and also share my passion with the young ladies of the next generation.”
“As I recall the time I spent in Jewel Academy Workshops I can appreciate now, more than I did then, the way I was pushed to excellence. The Jewel Academy Workshops allowed me to explore fields and activities my school never provided. Giving me a safe space to explore the STEM field without the fear of being forced to embrace the stereotypes that were being put on girls. Although I am still looking into the future not knowing exactly what I want to do, through the Jewels Academy Workshops I have gained the confidence and experiences that show me I can be anything I want to be. My options are not limited to the standards and expectations that are put on to me. I can pursue and succeed in any career of my choice because of the experiences I had at the Jewels Academy workshops.”
“Initially, I was thinking about pursuing education in STEM fields but I began to reconsider after a while because my high school did not offer many STEM classes or programs to students. After joining a few workshops at Jewels Academy and really enjoying my time there, I became excited again about science. Jewels Academy sparked my interest in STEM again. I really looked up to the coordinator Kim Wayne because she was also African American and was pursuing a doctorate degree in engineering at the time. Jewels Academy taught me that women can be exceptional professionals in STEM because gender is not a determinant in my ability to succeed.”
“It taught and inspired me that even if I am not pursuing a career in STEM. That it is still a very big part of my life and that I want to teach kids and give them the opportunity to be able to learn about STEM. And that even if I am not good at science, technology, engineering or math that I want to show them how something so technical can be creative in a way to incorporate and include every single part of our life. It also inspired me to give students the opportunity to build creative skills and innovative thinking that Jewels Academy gave me. Stem education is designed to prepare students to be successful in any area of work they choose and in life. By exposing kids to stem even if it is just a five minute lesson gives them the opportunity to explore and to develop a passion for stem and hopefully go into the stem field. Just by teaching kids to build a Volcano or do money math even just by them building something as simple as a tiny rain shelter. Or just by them tinkering with the supplies to make something can help students realize they might want to pursue a career in STEM.”
“Jewels Academy students reminded me of the importance that representation has in our society. Representation is essential because the human imagination seems to be limited to what is visible. As a result, most humans may find inspiration in those who look like us. By seeing someone with similar features, the goals become more attainable. Many JA students voiced that they did not have female African American STEM instructors outside of JA and that they enjoyed my workshops because they were challenging, yet rewarding. My time as an instructor gave me the motivation to push through my degrees despite setbacks and challenges. The JA students help me identify missing prerequisites, instructions, and requirements by asking questions. The students ask questions that help me identify hidden assumptions and factors that I ignored their understanding of technology. This helped me become more comfortable with feedback and forced me to add content in realtime to enable students to complete the projects. As humans persons gain experience, we start to condition themselves to assume things and jump to conclusions. Working with JA has caused me to challenge my assumptions and understanding of the world around me. In my JA workshops, I had the privilege of seeing girls from different backgrounds working together on challenging problems.”

How Can We Improve?

Continuous improvement is a priority of our programs to ensure we meet the needs of under-represented and under-served populations. We welcome your feedback.