After a thorough environmental scan of local bioscience assets, iPraxis realized that its location at the University City Science Center provided access to academic institutions and bioscience companies throughout the region that are powered by STEM subject matter experts. These experts were surveyed and iPraxis found that they were willing to volunteer to work in public schools to enhance STEM learning by making presentations, mentoring, leading hands-on projects, and providing teacher development.iPraxis became a bridge between higher education and industry and middle schools to bring real-world science to middle school children. iPraxis launched iNSPIRE, which in its early years, was self-funded and started with forty students at one middle school to complete science fair projects. The organization began to create relationships. iPraxis joined the Philadelphia Zoo, University of Pennsylvania Engineering, and University of Penn Education to operate a science enrichment program in several middle schools with both in-school and summer components. iPraxis ran the science labs and provided mentors. It worked with the Philadelphia School District on a robotics exhibit called Artbots held at the Science Center’s Klein Gallery.
Initially starting in Henry C Lea Elementary School, iPraxis expanded to four additional middle schools. We began with science fair mentoring and expanded to include science fair judging, in class presentations and workshops, field trips, after school clubs and more. We expanded our relationships with academic institutions and businesses to recruit more Scienteers and expanded our base of funders and sponsors.
In the 2013-2014 school year, we accomplished the following:
- Judged over 920 science fair projects
- Mentored over 415 students on science fair projects
- Supported 60 students who participated in George Washington Carver Science Fair
- Supported 15 winners in the Carver science fair and 5 in the Del Val Science fair competition
- Secured 59 presentations on STEM topics and careers
- Provided mentors for 4 after school programs
- Secured over 100 volunteers
Jeremiah J. White Jr. ~ President
For the past 30 years, Jeremiah White has built, restructured, and managed a number of highly successful businesses and non-profit organizations in the Greater Philadelphia area. Known for his strategic leadership, dynamic interactive style, and entrepreneurial determination, Jeremiah’s leadership has made a positive and enduring impact on quality of living for thousands of citizens residing in low to middle-income multicultural communities throughout the region.
Jeremiah began his work in education and youth work in the early 1970s as a African American history instructor and soccer coach at Solebury private school in Solebury, Pa. After a year, he left Philadelphia and joined RAP, Inc. in Washington, DC and designed and implemented several youth programs. The most important of which was the Chancellor Williams Youth Learning Center. Jeremiah directed a team of educators and cultural experts to design a color of man curriculum that was an interdisciplinary approach to education with a strong emphasis on youth growth and development, values clarification and social learning. Upon returning to Philadelphia and assuming leadership at the Philadelphia Refugee Services Center, he build a strong multicultural youth program focusing on intercultural learning and science.
In 2004, while chairman of the Osiris Group, Inc which was located in the University City Science Center, Jeremiah joined with several business leaders and educators to create iPraxis to bring knowledge and skills residing in the knowledge economy and its institution to communities in need. The starting point was creating a vehicle to bring STEM content experts into middle schools to assist students to learn the scientific method through engaging and thoughtful science projects.
A passionate advocate for serving the needs of diverse low and moderate-income communities, Jeremiah has championed major causes for community engagement, economic development, entrepreneurship, education, health and human services, and the life sciences. He has demonstrated exceptional talent in cultivating and managing influential alliances with strategic business partners including community leaders, business executives, and elected representatives.
With a record of accomplishment as a social entrepreneur and a policy advocate, one of the skills for which Leann is noted is the ability to see both ‘the forest and the trees’ and to help organizations and coalitions navigate between the two. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College and a Masters of Government Administration from Fels School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Leann comes to iPraxis after five years representing an evidence-based best practice youth development program, the national Teen Outreach Program sponsored by the Wyman Center in St. Louis, MO.
In the early 90s, she was the first director of a children’s health insurance access partnership in Philadelphia, which resulted in local enrollment saturation of the projected eligible population for Medicaid and CHIP. In the mid-90s, she was the first Executive Director of Philadelphia’s multi-system Family Centers initiative and later named Executive Director of the Mayor’s Children and Families Cabinet. After her selection for the Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellowship in 2000, she directed or consulted to multiple start-ups nationally including directing KidZone Philadelphia, and serving as the founding Director of The Benefit Bank of Texas.
Leann’s experiences in Philadelphia cut across the agencies which serve children and families and demonstrate a lifelong commitment to partnering with parents to improve the life chances of Philadelphia’s children and youth. There is no better way to use these experiences, than to support iPraxis’ mission of offering exciting science enrichment to all middle schoolers and presenting them with the vast array of opportunities in STEM fields, mentors with whom they can identify who currently work in STEM fields, and a viable pathway to pursue a STEM career.
She resides in Philadelphia with a daughter who is currently in City Year at a Philadelphia public school. Her son is attending community college in Texas. Both are bright and spirited, so when it comes to youth development she knows that, as the kids would say, the struggle is real.
Leann Ayers ~ Program Director
Bill Shorts ~ Volunteer Manager
He has also worked extensively as both a call center manager and trainer, and a quality assurance manager.
If you register with iPraxis as a volunteer, by going to www.surveymonkey.com/r/Scienteer - Bill will reach out via email to lead you to the next steps, and our entire team will prepare and support you prior to and throughout your experience!
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Adeboye Adejare, Ph.D. (Chairman & Secretary)
Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of the SciencesCalvin B. Johnson, M.D., M.P.H. (Vice President)
Principal, Altre Strategic Solutions Group, LLC
Ryan Walter (Treasurer)
Jeremiah J. White, Jr. (President)
Frederic M.N. Bertley, Ph.D.
Melanie Hidalgo Britt
Deanna R. Brown
Renold J. Capocasale
Executive Director, PHL Life Sciences
A Division of Philadelphia Convention & Visitors BureauAlexander Grimwade, Ph.D.
Consultant, Science Publishing
Bruce K. Redding, Jr.
Kindra C. Sloan, PHR, CPP
George L. Spaeth, M.D.
Joseph I. Wells
Honorable Tania E. Wright
Clarence L. Young, M.D.