Project Exploration’s Team Expands!

Project Exploration is pleased to welcome Kamentha Pillay who is now serving as Operations Director. Kamentha started this role in March and has had a whirlwind of an experience so far!  In the last two months she has been on live TV, she has met CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, and helped PE to hit the reset button with internal systems and procedures.

Why STEM?

Kamentha has STEM her blood!  Both sides of her family were teachers, and both of her parents have their bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.  Kamentha’s mom was the first woman to graduate in Electrical Engineering from her university. She currently has her Master’s in teaching, and has taught high school and college level physics, math, and circuits classes.  Kamentha’s dad has his PhD in Electrical Engineering, and is a Professor at Concordia University. Kamentha went into engineering because it’s what she knew. She was “good at math and science”, and she knew the type of lifestyle she would be able to support as an engineer.  At the time, she didn’t realize how fortunate she was to have parents who supported her and exposed her to math, science, politics, religion, and an overall well rounded background. Kamentha loves learning new things, and she has a strong drive to help others. Kamentha recognizes Project Exploration as the perfect opportunity where her background, strengths, and passions all come together.

Kamentha’s Start with PE

Kamentha started at Project Exploration as a STEM facilitator, running the Sisters4Science program at Spencer Elementary Technology Academy. She found the job posting and was drawn to the description because of her passion for volunteering and youth education. “As a female and minority, there were many times at work that I was the only girl in the room, or the only minority in the room (or both).  It is so important to have people from all backgrounds sitting at the table who have different perspectives to offer (K. Pillay)”.

Kamentha has always loved sharing with students the endless possibilities of what having an engineering background can provide you. Kamentha knew that she had the ability to broaden a student’s horizons and expose them to various disciplines through forming connections. She was drawn to PE as a way to give back.

I loved watching my girls in the Sisters4Science program develop critical thinking skills.  It is so heartwarming when a student would ask if program could be held more often, or when you witness the look of accomplishment on their faces after succeeding at a problem they’ve been trying to solve.  We did a couple of memorable projects, one was a making a cardboard pinball machine after discussing mechanical engineering, and another was the Gingerbread Village we built, where we discussed infrastructure, civil/structural engineering, and urban planning. (K. Pillay)

Kamentha is able to take experiences from her role as STEM Facilitator to help make informed decisions to the back office!

Transition to Operations Director

Starting as a STEM Facilitator Kamentha was introduced to the inside view of the world of Project Exploration.  Kamentha knows that our STEM Facilitators are one of the most important pieces of what we do, and helping them reach students is a priority.  She is excited to work on streamlining some of the behind the scenes processes, and providing our facilitators with professional development, and program opportunities.  This is key to making their jobs easier and bring new, fresh ideas and approaches to all of our students!

Kamentha is always helping people!  As Operations Director Kamentha will be able to flourish and bring her love of a well organized, thoughtful approach.  She is able to help the Project Exploration team by handling day to day operations, supporting long term goals, and providing direction for the team to become more efficient!

Looking Ahead to PE’s Bright Future

Part of PE’s vision to Change the Face of Science is to tie together formal and informal teaching, and Kamentha has the capability of doing that well.  Having an engineering degree gives Kamentha an incredible understanding of what is in front of our kids, should they choose to follow that career path, and she can help guide those fundamental concepts that all STEM professionals have; a critical mindset, curiosity, and the ability to question and think through problems. Kamentha is excited to ready fill her space with this opportunity.  “I think we have the most incredible team, and I cannot wait to see where the future takes us! (K. Pillay)”

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