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For​ ​more​ ​than​ ​a​ ​decade,​ ​Terrence​ ​Southern,​ ​a​ ​global​ ​leader​ ​in​ ​robotics​ ​engineering,​ has ​mentored youth​ ​in​ ​Detroit,​ ​MI​ ​and​ ​Dallas,​ ​TX.​ ​He​ ​saw​ ​a​ ​growing​ ​need​ ​and​ ​interest​ ​in​ ​underserved communities​ ​to​ ​have​ ​early​ ​access​ ​to​ ​industry-relevant​ ​STEM​ ​programming.

​​ ​In​ ​2012,​ ​Illuminate STEM​ ​was​ ​founded.​  ​Illuminate STEM continues to grow and currently serves more than 2,000 student across Dallas Fort Worth & Detroit, MI area ​annually.



Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are in critical demand. Between 2004 and 2014, U.S. employers hired 2.5 million STEM workers domestically and salaries are high: On average, STEM workers earned about 70% more than the U. S. average in 2005.

In Texas alone, more than 180,000 middle skill positions, many related to STEM, have remained vacant over a three year period. This giant bubble in the workforce pipeline increases the likelihood of reduced investment and even corporate relocation of our largest employers. 



Illuminate STEM is a local response to a national issue and our mission is to ENCOURAGE, EMPOWER and EQUIP K-12 students from underrepresented communities to innovate the technical future.

​We inspire and prepare students to compete and succeed in high paying careers related to Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math through career exploration, entrepreneurial endeavors and even global competition. We connect students to the skills and insight they need to leverage STEM careers to build their best lives.



Illuminate STEM’s vision is to match the needs of  people to the needs of employers. Our strategy is to move into dense pockets of poverty and grow talent from the inside. By investing heavily in specific areas we hope to not only rebuild communities, but also help fill the needs of employers so they can remain where they are. 

​While there is a current large scale focus on STEM education, the need for insight to the career paths of current STEM professionals has long been critical. We leverage our relationships to find mentors who are active leaders in the field to make Illuminate STEM an intersection of hard technological expertise and the social, emotional skills necessary for success.



Illuminate STEM gives students a running start on their path toward a STEM career, but our goal is to see them through to the finish line. Each year, Illuminate STEM equips more than 1,000 late elementary, middle, and high school students from under-represented communities, to compete and succeed in STEM fields at the college level and beyond. - 80% of participants say they now want to major in, or are interested in STEM related career fields. - 50% of participants say they are now considering a major or minor in a STEM field. - 90% will be able to program a robot at age appropriate benchmarks. - 90% of students will register in a STEM, ideally robotics program on their home campus. 


lluminate STEM alum have gone on to schools including Michigan State, University of Michigan, and Tennessee State University, within the Engineering and Mathematics departments. They have also secured roles as global leaders in technological innovation including GE, General Motors and most recently, Tesla!

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