White House Recognizes ‘Champions of Change’

On Friday, June 17, the White House recognized several innovators from all over the United States as “White House Champions of Change for Making” during the National Week of Making.

New Orleans resident Bahiy Watson was among the 10 makers selected as part of the Nation of Makers initiative President Obama launched back in 2014.

The White House said these individuals were selected for their personal passion and tireless efforts to make advances in technology and platforms, educational opportunities, or spaces that empower even more Americans to become tinkerers, inventors, and entrepreneurs.

President Obama asks that “all Americans to help unlock the potential of our Nation and ensure these opportunities reach all our young people, regardless of who they are or where they come from.”

Watson runs the 1881 Institute of Technology, a company working to create pathways for underrepresented populations to enter STEM careers by creating hands-on projects directly impacting the surrounding community.

The startup recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise raise funds to help 10 students this fall.

A higher percentage of African Americans have an interest in STEM careers, but have the lowest percentage of students who obtain a STEM degree or enter into a STEM career,” explains the campaign. The $31,500 goal will help 1881 Institute reach its goal of impacting these students.

Find out more about the Institute and the campaign here.