Cass Tech grads create STEAM-based subscription education box for kids

For the last five years, Cass Tech graduates Deirdre Roberson and Dr. Alicia Gabriel have been on a mission to make science, technology, engineering, math and the arts - also known as STEAM - accessible for all students. So the chemists came up with this subscription box called The Lab Drawer.

"The lab drawer infuses the STEM and the arts, doing cross-functional learning to make STEM education engaging," said Roberson.

"I wanted to make sure young people have access to STEM education," said Dr. Gabriel. "We already know and we can see this day and age that everything is about tech."

Every month students get a different experiment delivered to their door, complete with all the materials and instructional videos. Demand for this initiative skyrocketed during the pandemic. 

"When parents were at home and they were tasked with teaching their students STEM education and they realized they were not equipped, we had phone calls, meeting requests," said Roberson.

Now they make TicTok videos and do Facebook lives to continue connecting with students. 

They say The Lab Drawer is geared most towards middle schoolers. All the experiments are designed to meet learning standards set up by the state. Proceeds also go towards their nonprofit, The Motor City STEAM Foundation, which puts on events for kids who can't afford a subscription. 

"Everything that we do is very oriented in making sure that young people in disenfranchised communities can get access to STEM and STEAM education, even through The Lab Drawer. 

Now, these chemists say they're thrilled to be able to do what they love most - helping their community and teaching students about STEAM.

"We've been able to give back to young people who need access to stem and help parents in a time where they might feel overwhelmed because they don't know how to teach STEM and STEAM education," said Dr. Gabriel. 

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