When 12-year-old D-J Comeaux of Minneapolis, Minnesota, saw Black Panther this year, he left the theater inspired—but not by the movie’s main superhero. Instead, D-J was fascinated by the character Shuri, a teenage engineer whose inventions power the fictional nation Wakanda. Now, D-J wants to inspire kids like himself to learn about engineering and robotics.
D-J created the AfroBot Boyz initiative to get black boys and girls in his area involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities. African-Americans are underrepresented in these fields. “I want to show nerdy kids like me how awesome they can be,” says D-J. “It’s not uncool to do robotics—it’s actually really interesting.”
This fall, D-J and his mother hosted an event in their hometown where volunteers from the community taught kids about computer coding, designing websites, and other high-tech skills. “Together, we can inspire, collaborate, and educate,” says D-J.