James Coleman (courtesy of Coleman)

Who is Jason Coleman?

A product of the Chicago’s public schools, Jason Coleman, 34, has always been a nerd when it comes to science and math. He fulfilled his passion with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Southern California.

A career in Corporate America followed, including a three-year stint at BAE SYSTEMS. He later joined the ranks at Motorola, where he developed mechanical layouts for cellular phones.

Despite success in his professional career, Coleman grew increasingly concerned by the paltry representation of minorities, women and the underserved in engineering.

Why is he on theGrio 100?

In 2009, Coleman was one of a trio of young African-American men who decided to do something to tackle the problem. They co-founded Project SYNCERE, an educational not-for-profit organization dedicated to exposing inner-city minorities and underserved communities to a curriculum in STEM.

“It’s a huge issue that there aren’t enough American students to fill STEM positions that’s why we need to make math and science fun for students,” said Coleman, executive director.

Project SYNCERE offers a range of courses  in school, after school and summer programs. The majority of its programs target middle-school children but it also offers programs for high-school students.

In 2012 Project SYNCERE was among 30 innovative programs around the country to receive an NBC Universal 21st Century Solutions grant. The grants are awarded to non-profit organizations who have a large impact on their communities. SYNCERE was recognized as a progressive program, working to create positive change in Chicago.

Now in its fifth year, SYNCERE has had a huge impact on the youth throughout Chicago.  Through partnerships with schools, universities and other community organizations it has been able to serve more than 5,000 young people since its inception.

Currently operating in more than 30 schools in Chicago, with two sites in Atlanta, the goal is to create a national organization that reshapes the way STEM is accessed and taught to students throughout the nation.

What’s next for Coleman?

In addition, Coleman has been recognized and awarded for the work that he has done to ensure equal access to STEM programming by the Conversation Awards as well as the AKA Monarch Awards.

“My goal is for SYNCERE to continue to grow and expand in Chicago, with a focus on minority students in underserved areas. Long term: “I want to make Project SYNCERE a household not just in Chicago but nationwide and across the world.”