Your Details

Your job title:

Founder & CEO

Your organization name:

The STEAM Connection

When was your organization founded?

January 2019

In what city, town, or region are you located?

Troy, MI, USA

In what city, town, or region is your organization headquartered?

Troy, MI, USA

In which countries does your organization currently operate?

  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • Canada
  • China
  • India
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Sri Lanka
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
About You

Why are you applying for The Elevate Prize?

Indigenous peoples are grossly underrepresented in technical careers. In fact, according to Intel and their racial breakdown in the “Overview of Diversity in the U.S. Technical Workforce”, we don’t even have our own category, we are placed in the “Other” category. This category is only 1%. Not only is there little representation, but there are also few educational resources that are culturally competent and accessible. I want to amplify our cause and to receive the necessary support to make our big dreams a reality.

We are in the process of scaling our work at The STEAM Connection for Native youth. We are introducing the SkoBots Shop program that provides free technical education for Native youth. We are launching Future Entrepreneurs to train middle and high school students how to assemble our robotics kits and teach younger students with them. We are translating all of our educational resources into the four most common Indigenous languages in North America. We are creating an upcoming photo series that intersects technology and tradition to showcase the diversity of everyday STEAM changemakers in regalia. All of these resources require much support, but we know that they have the potential to be life-changing for Native youth.

Tell us about YOU:

My name is Danielle Boyer and I am a young Indigenous (Ojibwe) and Queer robotics inventor, author, activist, and tireless advocate for underserved youth who has been teaching kids since I was ten years old. After seeing my younger sister not be able to engage in Science and Technical classes at a young age, I knew that I had to do something. Now, I create innovative learning solutions utilizing robots that I invent and give to kids for free to make technical education accessible. Armed with a desire to make the technical space an equitable one, I created The STEAM Connection, a nonprofit that has helped me reach hundreds of thousands of children worldwide with life-changing education. Our affordable tools champion the educational space and cost less than 20 USD to manufacture. I have been named one of PEOPLE Magazine’s Girls Changing the World and a L’Oréal Paris Woman of Worth and currently mentor 35 youth robotics teams. I am currently studying Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering with goals to discover how I can use technology to create positive change in the world.

Video Introduction

Pitch your organization.

The STEAM Connection is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization based out of Troy, MI USA that I founded in January 2019. The STEAM Connection creates and distributes diverse, accessible, and affordable Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) educational materials and resources for children for free. We have reached hundreds of thousands of children worldwide. We are all minorities and students in science and engineering careers who create innovative resources for youth.

Advancement in technology is a pivotal element of our ever-evolving society. Each day, improvements that raise the capabilities of what can be achieved are made, adversely creating an accessibility gap for Indigenous youth. The needs of our evolving global workforce create an economic and social imperative to ensure students in lower socioeconomic brackets are equipped to engage in the STEM sector at parity with their peers. When not exposed to essential programming focused on robotics, digital design, and coding, it is near impossible to break into the most influential fields and also to progress as a professional in nearly every industry. We believe that robots can close this gap for Native youth, and we are the ones inventing them.

Describe what makes your work innovative.

What makes us innovative is simple: We created and manufacture affordable robots that cost less than 20 USD to make and send them to kids for free. We partner the robots with culturally competent educational resources and access youth who are minorities. 

More about Every Kid Gets a Robot (EKGAR): Every Kid Gets a Robot is an educational robotics kit that costs $18.95 USD to manufacture and is sent to children, primarily girls and BIPOC students, for free. I invented EKGAR in January 2019 after seeing how the youth robotics teams that I mentored couldn't afford the team resources or fee. The app-controlled robot was designed to be simple to manufacture and assemble from anywhere in the world, consisting of four 3D printed pieces and low-cost WiFi and Bluetooth compatible ESP32 technology. This is a forward-thinking educational solution that is a game-changer for many traditionally excluded populations. Since early 2019, we have distributed over 4,800 robots for free worldwide ourselves and have helped facilitate tens of thousands of kits through our virtual Make-A-Robot platform.

About Our Robots

How and why is your organization having an impact on humanity?

We focus on providing representative, original, and free STEAM educational content that is diverse, culturally competent, and accessible. We have reached hundreds of thousands of youth and have spoken on our cause in front of global audiences. STEAM education accessibility is a human rights issue. We need to enable students to engage in technology, to fight our climate crisis, to recognize and disrupt racist algorithms, and to create the change that they want to see. Our students have gone on to found their own nonprofits, begin their own podcasts, create their own inventions, and start their own movements. 

According to our poll on EKGAR recipients, 83% of students said that the robot made them want to pursue a technical career when they had previously not wanted to.  We have created six books that have gone to 15,000+ youth for free, two educational robots, mentor hundreds of students, and in 2020 donated/fundraised over 50,000 USD to Indigenous educational causes. 

We created a knowledge assessment for youth utilizing our robots to see how well they are learning and applying mechanical, electrical, and coding skills. Of the 25 question assessment, students on average score a 20% before utilizing EKGAR and a 70% afterward. 

Select the key characteristics of the community your organization is impacting.

  • Women & Girls
  • Children & Adolescents
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your organization address?

  • 4. Quality Education
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 10. Reduced Inequality

Which of the following categories best describes your work?


Solution Team

  • Danielle Boyer Youth Founder & Activist, The STEAM Connection
to Top