QuantHub Welcomes BreakThrough Birmingham as a Partner

Mariohn Michel, BreakThrough Birmingham Executive Director
Mariohn Michel, BreakThrough Birmingham Executive Director

Breakthrough Birmingham, one of Breakthrough Collaborative‘s 25 affiliates across the US, is dedicated to reversing educational inequity in the communities we work with in Alabama, namely Birmingham and Talladega.

We deeply believe in empowering youth at all levels through our pillars: Relationships, Growth, and Exposure. Using a students-teaching-students model, we recruit high-impact undergraduate students from across the US and within Alabama to coach them on teaching and mentoring our middle and high school programs. Since 2013, our free, year-long, multi-year programs have allowed us to work closely with over 700 scholars from their middle school years to the end of high school.

Our programs focus on academic enrichment, social-emotional development, and offer exposure opportunities comparable to those available to individuals from affluent backgrounds. 69% of our scholars attend college (20 points higher than Birmingham City Schools, 12 points higher than the state average) despite 95% of them coming from low-income backgrounds.

Why do you believe achieving data literacy is important for students today, during their post-secondary experience, and as they enter the workforce?

As educators, we know that the world we are shaping students in today will not be the world they experience tomorrow. Those who will succeed need to be fluent in understanding data and how to interpret its insights. As a former data analyst, I believe that it was exercising those particular skills which has enabled me to be successful in building our organization into what it is now. More and more, the working world is beholden to effectively using data­–so employers need a workforce that knows how to effectively interact with that information and put it to use. Especially because we seek underrepresented students to participate in our programs, we want to make sure that the support we are providing our scholars allows them to be agile with their post-secondary decision-making. This, in turn, helps promote their own agency in breaking generational cycles of poverty. In short, understanding data provides freedom to have options.

What do you hope the students in your program will learn through QuantHub and extended experiences? What are your goals?

Our scholars deserve the highest quality of exposureto new people, ideas, perspectives, and experiences. A partnership with QuantHub will help them with understanding how to capitalize on the opportunities in front of them while building the necessary skills to make the most of those opportunities. I also want them to continue to understand that developing discipline in the academic and workspace can also be tied to fun. While what they are working on in the short term will be great for resume-building and searching for college, in the long-term, I want them to be life-long learners who seek to know more about the world around them.

Any additional information you would like to include?

Breakthrough Birmingham is incredibly grateful that an opportunity like QuantHub exists. The state of Alabama needs companies such as this to build a workforce that is prepared for the future while providing avenues for their continued growth.

Learn More about the Alabama Data Literacy Project.

Learn More about BreakThrough Birmingham.