Let our founder, Niamani Knight, explain the origin of S.T.R.E.A.M.:
When I was 13 years old and as a middle schooler I loved sports, basketball was my favorite. As a starter for the team in my 8th-grade year, and as a member of Peer Leaders and student in Lego Robotics, my schedule was pretty busy...or so I thought. On this particular day, as my mom drove me to school, she shared with me an opportunity coming to our local community, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA), a program designed to teach middle schoolers business principles. As she explained the program, she “volun-told” me that this was something that I had to apply for.
As I navigated the waters of the program I realized, with help from my parents, my heart to help my peers. Sitting in the classroom in October 2014 and after much research, I began to see the growing trend of youth in underserved communities not having access to education and career opportunities. I wanted to help change that.
In May 2015, we launched the first-ever S.T.R.E.A.M. Kids Expo in our local community. With participation from 400 people I quickly began to realize this was much bigger than one school, one school district, or even just me. It was going to take a community working together, to create equal access on a global level. That is when my mom and I launched S.T.R.E.A.M. Global Innovations.
Niamani Knight is the 20-year-old Founder of S.T.R.E.A.M. Kids Expo™ and Co-Founder of S.T.R.E.A.M. Global Innovations alongside her mother, Nikia Richards.
After being selected at the age of 13 to participate in the first Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA Program) in Lancaster, CA, Knight realized many of her peers (and students in general) seemed to struggle with some of the basic educational skill sets required for short and long-term success. She understands that these academic rocks can only be climbed through industry expert exposure, interactive learning, and peer support. Therefore, instead of producing a product to sell in the YEA program, Knight created a platform for students and businesses to showcase their talents and discuss possibilities.
In 2015, she founded S.T.R.E.A.M. Kids Expo™, which emphasizes Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Manufacturing. The event also includes entrepreneurship as she believes taking ownership of one's passion and purpose inspires results.
Since the program's launch, Niamani has accomplished direct work with over 31,000 of her peers in 24 states and 12 countries and reached over 100 million through electronic and printed publications, social channels, and live streams. Through her non-profit organization, S.T.R.E.A.M. Global Innovations, Knight's vision is to create a memorable experience for kids, schools, and communities. She also wants to increase access to S.T.R.E.A.M. programs in underprivileged and low-performing neighborhoods to encourage a movement where kids are empowered to reach their fullest potential. In the future, she hopes to create a center where kids will have access to S.T.R.E.A.M.-based learning daily. Until then, Niamani is both honored and humbled to have developed relationships with some of the world's leading companies like Amazon, Lockheed Martin, PPG, and many more.