Maydm’s new office provides community members and high school students a safe space

(L-r) Rebecca Hildebrandt, Melissa Pfahl, Dr. Cristina Outlay, Ben Pate, Jessica Hernandez and Carmelo Dávila
(Photo by Angelica Euseary)

Last August, the Maydm team moved from their office space off University Ave. to their new and improved building, located at 203 S. Paterson St., Suite 400, on Madison near east side.

This is their first summer actively engaging with high school students and interns in their new space and Maydm Executive Director Dr. Christina Outlay talked with Blueprint365 about the new space and future goals for the organization. 

“We wanted to be able to offer a lot more programming,” Outlay said. “We also want to be able to provide resources to youth who aren’t necessarily coming here for a program, that they’re working on projects that maybe they don’t have the equipment that they need to work on, or they need help with their some tech assignment or math assignment.”

Maydm’s mission is to provide girls and youth of color, grades 6-12, with skills, experiences and connections to pursue careers in and change the faces of STEM. 

Outlay and her team have worked extremely hard over the last few years to expand their outreach to high school students and other community members in Dane County.  

“Our ultimate goal is for it to be busy all the time for students,” she added. “Maybe they’re working on a project and they come in so that they can use our systems to do some more work. We really want to be a community resource that’s available.”

(L-r) Gray Mwangi, Lin Chung, and Sreenath Pillai, CTO of Flow Enterprises
(Photo by Angelica Euseary)

She and her team are also excited about expanding their internship offerings, specifically to high school students. Their new office is important to their programming because it provides a space for students to come and work in community together. 

“Students are tired of being online and working remotely coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “They’re not very eager to work a remote internship. Many companies are working remotely, there’s just no getting past it, and having this office space enables us to still work with partners who are remote, but also to provide a supportive and social environment for our interns.”

Carmelo Dávila serves as the program outreach manager and has been with Maydm for a little over two years. He works to ensure that communities understand the depth of programming and internships that Maydm offers. 

“My job involves working directly with students, families and partners,” he said. “When it comes to recruiting students, I go to the schools, talk to the students, and get them excited about what we do and give them an idea of what was in it for them during the summer.”

Dávila and the team knew as soon as they began working with their interior designer on their new space that they wanted to create a welcoming environment for students to come and learn. 

“We want students to know that Maydm’s doors are always open for students,” he added. “It’s not only about our educational mission, to get students into STEM, but also to create a safe space where students can come anytime to learn or just to get involved with the kind of work that we do.”

Instructor Jaylen Johnson and a high school student in the Creator’s Lab at the Maydm office.
(Photo by Angelica Euseary)

For the Maydm team, it is also critical their programming be appealing to all students. They wanted to create an environment where students can participate in activities and learning, but also have fun with each other. 

“We wanted our space to also be a place where the students can meet other students and make new friends,” Dávila added. “That’s why I think this space is so unique. Because as soon as you come in, you can feel that this is a space to gather and to feel that you could spend time here and have a great time.”

Gray Mwangi is a student at Sun Prairie West High School currently interning at Flow Enterprises through Maydm. 

Through this internship, they and the team are building a website for coding courses that anyone can take. They signed up for this internship because they thought it’d be a great opportunity to gain some work experience.  

“It’s been pretty fun,” they said. “I’ve met a lot of new people and the building’s actually really nice. I just love walking around. Honestly, a lot of people here like Christina and Rebecca, they’re really, really nice. I feel like I can get the help I need whenever I need it.”

Maydm recently launched their “Celebrating Our Students” campaign, and each week they will highlight a Maydm student and their experiences within the program. The goal of the campaign is to raise $25,000 to expand their outreach to more students and introduce them to possible internships and careers in the STEM fields. 

Dr. Outlay added that there will be an internship celebration on Aug. 11 at Madison College-Goodman South location for families, students and community members to come and celebrate the amazing and hard work of the Maydm high school student interns this summer. 

To learn more about Maydm and their internships and programming for high school students, visit their website.