BranchOut!, the 21st Century Multicultural STEM Education Project, is a non-profit, 501(c)3 program, co-founded by Dr. Yuhsien Sharon Wu and Mr. Richard Wang. Our mission is to promote STEM education and close achievement gaps by promoting cultural understanding and civic engagement. As a youth community outreach program, we work to connect communities by promoting a passion for learning as well as establishing a place for collaboration, support, and inspiration.
Branch Out! was inspired by a talk by Dean Jim Ryan of Harvard Graduate School of Education and Dr. Chad Womack of the United Negro College Fund in late 2015. The talk was about how to prepare students for 21st century careers and develop students’ interest in STEM. Dr. Wu, a Harvard Graduate School of Education alumna, responded to the call. In a few short months, BranchOut! was created to bridge achievement and cultural gaps in the current system.
The program began in 2016 with 20 high school students from the DC area who served as mentors at the DC International Charter School. Since then, we have expanded to include almost 600 students volunteers coming from 4 different states serving 15+ locations/organizations.
The program is continuing to grow with support from members of Congress and prominent school board officials. Through our student leadership program, we hope to create a diverse future in STEAM education!
Veritas Education Leaders
Veritas Education Leaders, a 501 (c) 3 organization, BranchOut's parent organization, believes in the importance of lifelong learning. The team is in the continual pursuit of fresh ideas and excellence and growing together with students by energizing them to strive for an education that rewards their creativity, strengthens their thinking, and pushes them to live their best lives. We challenge our students to live ethically, think critically, plan logically, communicate clearly, produce creatively, and as a result, grow organically.
What Makes BranchOut! unique?
Guided by education theory:
BranchOut! mentors learn how to teach students of various age groups effectively and are supervised by trained and experienced educators as well as other experts in the fields of mentoring, motivation, learning, and cultural sensitivity.
BranchOut! is cross-cultural in nature, allowing student mentors to enhance their cultural awareness and communication skills. It is managed and led by a Harvard alum with the aim to address learning and cultural gaps.
After the BranchOut! team mentored a group of middle schoolers in a summer remedial program at the DC International School, an analysis conducted by the school found that students who received mentoring from BranchOut! outperformed students who did not by 13 percentile points in math.