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While TPF started like a “traditional” foundation, by focusing on funding (beginning with scholarships), we quickly identified that the number of STEM candidates from low income communities were limited. As a result, we shifted our focus to programming to expose young people to STEM at their most impressionable stage, middle school. Thus, S.T.E.M.ulating Minds was born
In 2004, Tonya Parris founded a scholarship program for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who were pursuing degrees in STEM disciplines at Binghamton University. Parris being the first in her family to attend college and raised in public housing (from low income family) has the background to relate to the economically distressed communities that TPF serves
The partnerships and programs of the Parris Foundation are built upon the foundation laid by Parris’s experiences working with the scholarship recipients during and after their undergraduate studies
TPF volunteers are a dedicated group of corporate professionals, educators, artists and collegiate students who are passionate about working to increase participation in STEM opportunities for low-income families and students.