The First Interactive African American STEM Doll Trailblazes the Tech & Toy Industry Black History Month

The beautiful “Somi” is an interactive African American doll that focuses on exposing kids to Computer Science (CS) concepts in a fun way. The speaking doll cultivates children’s logical reasoning, problem solving skills, and boosts their creativity. Somi also touches on cyberbullying, to bring awareness to what it is and encourage better online conduct. Somi has caught the attention of media outlets, many giving high praises. Afrotech was quoted as saying,

“The interactive [Somi] doll uses real-life situations to explain coding terminology to children, and hopefully, to break down educational barriers. As studies show, access to computer science is a common obstacle for Black and Hispanic children who exhibit greater interest in technology but lack the resources to hone those skills.”

The founder and entrepreneur, Bukola Somide, has worked in the IT industry for 17 years. She recalls being the only Black person or Black woman on the Software Development team. After years of thriving in her field, Somide wanted to give back to the community. Her vision was to help increase the number of minority girls thriving in the Computer Science (CS) industry.

“Representation matters in tech because it gives hope to under-served children who may otherwise think their dreams are impossible due to lack of accessible role models. A child seeing a doll who looks like them, engaged in Computer Science, helps to shatter a mental ceiling by reshaping their perspective.” -Bukola Somide

Internal research demonstrated that there is a perception among young Black girls that 1) Computer Science is boring; 2) It’s too hard/complex so they feel they’re not smart enough; and 3) They do not have access to relatable mentors. These findings inspired the birth of Somi the Computer Scientist.

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