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The Nigerian-born Mother Who Created The First Interactive African-American STEM Doll, Which Recently Won An Award

bukola somide daughter creators somi STEM doll

 

A mother and daughter have lately written their names in the annals of Black IT innovators. Bukola Somide and her 8-year-old daughter, Olusomi, are the creators of the first African-American interactive STEM doll, “Somi.”

The team recently received the 2022 ExCITE Innovation of the Year award from CodeCrew. According to Black Business, “having my work recognized by my colleagues is a huge honor, and it pushes me to do more to positively impact the lives of our children.”

Bukola, who was born in Kaduna, Nigeria, was motivated by her daughter to build the interactive Somi doll in order to inspire youngsters, particularly Black females, to learn computer science in order to effect change. Somi is a 14-inch doll designed to make playing both instructive and enjoyable. The doll has 12 voice-overs that help teach Computer Science concepts in a fun way while also discouraging cyberbullying.

The Somi STEM doll was inspired by the main character of Somide’s children’s book “Somi, The Computer Scientist: Princess Can Code.” Somi is a curious, clever, witty, and attractive young girl who has a natural interest in learning Computer Programming ideas from her mother, as depicted in the book.

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Her eagerness to know and learn more enables her to relate what she’s learning to real-life events. As a result, Somi’s persona was developed with the intention of appealing to young learners who would find her relevant and desire to befriend her.

“My passion is to bring computer science awareness to underserved communities while deterring cyberbullying. I’m so excited for everyone to experience Somi, The Computer Science doll!” Somide said.

The 14-inch Somi Computer Science Interactive Doll is suitable for children aged three and up. Somi has been described as a “really informative, engaging, and inspiring tool for young learners, as well as a keepsake to commemorate milestones for young people.”

Somide initially published a children’s novel titled “Princess Can Code” in 2018 through Innovant Technologies LLC in Phoenix, which received five stars on Amazon.com. She also released a computer science activity book for boys and girls, as well as the “Somi Computer Science Coding Workshop” for children.

Somide’s vision is to expand the “Somi, The Computer Scientist” series with more children’s storybooks, to publish more Computer Science Activity books to cover more advanced concepts, and to develop a mobile application to disseminate online materials such as eBooks.

Somide is an inspirational speaker, entrepreneur, author, and Project Management Professional in addition to being a software engineer. The Phoenix mother has worked in information technology for nearly two decades. She first heard about computer science in 10th grade after migrating to the United States with her family as a youngster. She constructed a workable software using C-programming language after attending a minority-based program, BRIDGE, in the summer preceding her first year of college.

“I was in awe and loved the critical thinking aspect of coding. That was my AHA moment to continue pursuing a degree in Computer Science,” she told Urban Geeks. “I was always the only Black woman on the Software Development team,” she said of her experience in tech. “My innate confidence helped me to thrive in this male-dominated industry. I was confident enough to speak up when needed.”

Somide has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park and also holds a Master’s degree in Technology Management from UMUC as well as a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate from PMI.

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Written by How Africa News

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