“In order to create change within ourselves and the community, we need to start at the root of the problem; for me, that’s through education.” -Claudia Gourdet
STEM Access For Girls started as a call-to-action in 2016 by Claudia Gourdet, a young Haitian Diaspora. She was born in Mirebalais, Haiti. She came to the United States at the age of 9 and spent years engaging in community organizations that exposed her to new opportunities. She participated in various programs that led her to become passionate about math, science, and technology, and to develop the skills she needed to be successful in her personal and professional life. For this reason, she took action to empower other young girls through STEM education and provide them with similar opportunities to those that were given to her.
Brett McNaught joined the Board of STEM Access Access for Girls in 2019. Brett is an alumni of the National Urban Fellows Executive Leadership Program and the Miami Foundation Miami Leaders Program where he attended the FIU High Potential Leader Program. Before Brett’s current position as the CEO of Educate Tomorrow, he was an officer of buildOn where he led their International programs from 2005-2012 overseeing the construction of over 1,000 classrooms for more than 40,000 children in rural Haiti, Nicaragua, Senegal, Mali, Malawi, Niger, Nepal and India. Brett served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa from 2001-2003. Brett has an M.S.Ed in Community and Social Change from the University of Miami. He is currently a board member of Hope for Haiti. He is co-chair of the Education and Employment Committee for Helping Our Miami Youth (HOMY). In 2018 Brett received the Child Welfare Champion award from the Florida Department of Children and Families for his work on increasing college access and success for former foster youth statewide through the Positive Pathways program.
Wendy Joseph joined the board of STEM Access for Girls in 2019 as the Secretary. Wendy Joseph is a Child Welfare/Higher Education Professional. She is currently a College Coach at Miami Dade College and has worked in the field of child welfare for 14 years. Her experience with case management, residential care, and clinical work has allowed her to have a deeper understanding of the underrepresented students with whom she works.
Sandra Seymour Obas joined the STEM Access Board in 2019. Sandra is skilled in performing advocacy work for culturally diverse youth and adolescents through the educational sector. She is most interested in the opportunities to serve students impacted by the dependency system and those who have experienced homelessness in their transition to higher education.
Sandra has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Florida and a Masters of Social Work (MSW) from Florida International University. Sandra supports the mission of increasing the retention and completion rate of students by bridging support-service programs throughout college/university campuses throughout the state.