Kappa Psi's DC Rhinos Prepare for STEM Careers
Aspire 2 Inspire Mentorship Program's STEM Career Preparation Event "Electrifying"
Washington, District of Columbia — Led by Brothers Melvin Stalings Jr. and WJ Williams, the DC Rhinos STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Career Preparation event was another success for Kappa Psi's mentorship program. Brother Melvin gripped the students with his opening presentation, a primer on electric cars like those built by Tesla Motors. He spoke on the technologies that makes the cars run and their future potential. The mentees then got to get their hands dirty working on projects that would help them conceptualize themselves as the architects of such a vehicle.
Mentees were split into groups of five and given 25 minutes to build a four-wheel car out of candies and cookies. The car had to be able to roll down a plank without stopping or splitting apart. Brothers supplied the groups guidance with the non-technical aspects of the project, providing coaching on teamwork, patience, and perseverance. The project was difficult and many of the mentees experienced frustration; each group had several models that failed, and the temptation of the sugary foods was a constant potential distraction, requiring mentees exhibit even higher level of focus in order to progress. Omega men were on hand to give encouragement and support and see to it that the mentees did not become despondent, however as leading mentees took charge of their groups and the possibility of success came within reach, the Rhinos began to uplift their own low morale group members and charge towards the finish line. Despite the many challenges and temptations, the mentees predominately completed their task of rolling their car down the plank - to the exited cheers of the onlooking spectators. Overcoming their initial doubts, pushing through their failures and persevering through their various challenges and missteps to complete what initially seemed to be an impossible project is an experience and a memory that will serve each and every one of the mentees well when, in the future, they encounter similar apparently insurmountable obstacles.
After their completion of the first challenge, Brother Stalings broke out his heavy-duty RC cars. These cars were disassemble, and mentees were tasked with repairing the cars once they had been split into their constituent parts. Mentees would then be allowed to race the cars they had built around a track prepared on a separate floor of the house by Brothers for their enjoyment, providing a strong incentive for the mentees to focus on understanding and completing the project. The Rhinos enjoyed putting together the cars and they had more fun racing them, without a doubt a high point of the day for many of the mentees.
Brothers Stalings and Williams spoke extensively and convincingly on the attractions of a STEM career, advising the mentees to consider moving towards STEM fields as they approach manhood and begin to make the important decisions about the direction of their scholarship. The Omegas also offered guidance and material support towards the attainment of success in STEM fields; The DC Rhino's STEM Career Preparation Event's pièce de résistance was the offer by Brothers Williams and Starling to guarantee any and all interested mentees a spot in a paid STEM internship program, an opportunity of immeasurable value to young men whose futures have yet to be determined. With the confidence that the days experience, information, and assurance of future support have given them, who knows how high these Rhinos might fly.
Kappa Psi was chartered on the campus of Howard University in Thirkield Hall on November 19, 1926 by Bro. Dr. William Montague Cobb. We strive with the highest enthusiasm and commitment to uphold our Four Cardinal Principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift. Kappa Psi continues to serve the community of the District of Columbia as we are committed to continue to bring important community service projects in the District of Columbia.