1751 Pinnacle Dr #600, McLean, VA 22102 | velbranchout@gmail.com 

About BranchOut!

Branch Out! The 21st Century Multicultural STEM Education Project is a non-profit program co-created by Dr. Yuhsien Sharon Wu and Mr. Richard Wang to promote STEM education and close achievement gaps.

 

Our 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 100 mentors from 30 different schools.  

 

Our 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 STEM education!

About Veritas Education Leaders

Veritas Education Leaders as an 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.  To learn more about our parent organization, click here.

Mission Statement

The goal of BranchOut! is to create a win-win situation for both the mentors and mentees participating in the program.  Student mentors get the opportunity to develop their leadership and communication skills through working with students from different backgrounds. 

Student mentees have their interest stimulated in STEM through peer mentoring.  

Program Impetus​​

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, the co-founder of Veritas and a Harvard Graduate School of Education alumna, responded to the call.  In a few short months, she created a mentoring program to bridge achievement and cultural gaps in the current system.  That program has become BranchOut!

Uniqueness of the Program

  • Guided by education theory

  • Supervised by trained and experienced educators

  • Cross-cultural in nature to enhance students’ cultural awareness and communication skills

  • Student mentors receive training from experts in the field on mentoring, motivation, learning, and cultural sensitivity

  • Managed and led by a Harvard alum with the aim to address learning and cultural gaps

  • The program is effective! The team helped a group of middle schoolers in a summer remedial program at the DC International School, a charter school in DC.  The school conducted a pre and post analysis using NWEA MAP, a measure of academic progress, and found the following results:

    1. Students who attended the summer program (low math performing students) outperformed DCI students by 3.49 percentile points in math.

    2. The growth of the summer school (treatment) students’ is compared with a matched set of low-performing (control) students who did not receive the intervention. The result shows that the treatment group outperformed the control group by 13 percentile points in math.