The Miami Foundation and Philanthropy Miami annually present the Emerging Philanthropist Award to a young donor who uses charitable giving to drive measurable results around a local cause, broadly improve the lives of Miamians and encourage others to give.
In 2020 that distinguished honor was awarded to Ms. Amaka Amalu, Founder of Tech Girl Power and TutusandCars, a STEM T-Shirt Brand for Girls. She received the award On Friday March 5th at Jungle Island during Philanthropy Miami’s 2020 Donor Next Door Awards Luncheon.
As the sole female mechanical engineer in her firm of 400 employees, Amaka Amalu recognized the need to invest in STEM education for girls. She founded Tech Girl Power in 2016 to provide access and mentorship opportunities for youth in Greater Miami. Through the organization, Amaka hosts STEM workshops at local nonprofits, including His House Children’s Home and Branches Miami.
What sets Ms. Amalu’s nonprofit apart from other STEM initiatives, is that her STEM workshops include presentations on self esteem and self efficacy building blocks (to help improve science and math scores and navigate thru a though life and/or male dominated work fields). Working with girls from lower socioeconomic communities of South Florida, these additional elements are integral to her program because these girls have more obstacles to overcome than the average girl.
With Miami having one of the highest rates of income inequality in the nation, Amaka believes having the girls go into the growing field of STEM, where 93% of the starting wages are above the national average, will in turn help break the cycle of poverty in these communities. Working alongside other non profits that are inline with her mission, like Branches Inc, it ensures that the girls who show interest from her STEM workshops have access to tutoring and other programs that can aid in their success in school in order to pursue a STEM field.
In addition to dedicating her own time and treasure, Amaka has motivated others within her network to join the cause. Hardesty and Hanover, the 130-year-old infrastructure engineering company where she works, now sponsors Tech Girl Power workshops, and Amaka’s colleagues have stepped up to serve as mentors and volunteers in the program.
About Amaka Amalu
Amaka was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and moved to South Florida at the age of nine for better educational opportunities. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of Central Florida. She currently serves as an associate and lead mechanical engineer at Hardesty and Hanover.
She is on a mission to show girls that STEM is fun! In addition to the STEM non-profit she founded, she also started a STEM Brand company for girls called Tutus & Cars which features fun STEM themed t-shirts and toys. And she started a YouTube Channel called Engineer Emma, where she does fun STEM projects with her 7yr-old niece who wants to be an engineer also.
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