STEMGuyana with Karen Abrams

Karen Anne Abrams is Dr. Foster’s guest on this episode of Fostering Solutions. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Howard University and an MBA degree in Marketing from California State University at San Francisco. Ms. Abrams spent more than ten years as a Technology Executive in Corporate America working for Atlanta based Mindspring Networks and later Southern California based, Earthlink Networks. Karen is the pioneer who championed the introduction and national expansion of STEM Robotics, targeted to school aged children in Guyana. Abrams was determined to ensure that Guyanese youth be granted access to the same opportunities and preparation in technology education that is routinely afforded young people in wealthier countries and more frequently to youth from nearly all countries in the world. To that end, in 2016 Ms. Abrams worked with The First Lady’s Office, the Diaspora, her own children and various public and private agencies in Guyana to introduce four robot building and programming camps at the Lusignan and Buxton villages and at two locations in Georgetown, Guyana. More than two hundred children and ten future club coaches were trained and certified in Lego Mindstorm robot building and programming under this program. Those seeds of technology planted, gave birth to an expansion to over seventy STEM clubs across all ten regions in Guyana and more than one hundred unanswered requests for club expansion into far flung communities: resulting in the exposure of thousands of Guyanese youth to robotics. In March of 2017, Ms. Abrams recruited and helped to prepare a novice Guyana national robotics team, to a tenth-place world ranking out of one hundred sixty countries at the July 2017 First Global Robotics Olympics held in Washington DC. In 2019, the Guyana robotics national team won the prestigious Albert Einstein gold medal award from among one hundred ninety participating nations at the First Global Robotics challenge in Dubai. Karen Abrams also helped to pioneer the development of a Ministry of Education sponsored National Grade Six Assessment test preparation mobile app and a national pilot Robot building and Scratch programming league, to engage and educate Guyanese youth in robotics and coding. All of the STEM initiatives organized by STEM Guyana, an organization co-founded by Abrams and her college-aged children, will strengthen collaboration, conflict resolution and communication among youth, while developing their creative, problem solving, technical and academic skills. Ms. Abrams’ history of giving back goes back to representing Guyana at the National Level in the Caribbean National Basketball championship for more than 5 years; helping to win the National Championship for the Guyana Women’s team in 1992, introducing a high school basketball league to Guyana back in 2008, investing in call center business in the 2000’s and 8 years of contributing to the private sector development with her weekly column in Stabroek News business section. Karen was also recently presented with the prestigious Guyana 2018 Golden Arrow Of Achievement award for her work with STEMGuyana. Karen Abrams is married to former National Basketball Player Leon Christian. They have four children, three of whom are in college at Stanford University, Cornell University and New York University. The entire family remains committed to making ongoing contributions to the growth and development of Guyana.

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