A local scientist has been serving his community, helping youngsters learn at the Citizen Science Lab in the Hill District.
Those pupils include the 5th graders from Pittsburgh Miller. When Channel 11 visited the team, which is made up of 11-year-old girls, they were hard at work building an underwater robot for a nationwide competition.
Andre Samuel had a vision as a PhD student for setting up a lab where underserved children could have access to the sciences right in their neighborhood. He said getting girls introduced to STEM is an important piece of that.
"We hear all the time how girls are under-represented in STEM," Samuel said. "Girls all across all races and socio-economic classes."
Samuel said he noticed a lack of diversity while in school and wanted that to change.
"When I was doing my grad studies, I was the only black student in my program for six years," Samuel said.
The lab is located in a refurbished building in the heart of the Hill District. It's a full-service lab funded by donations from foundations and private individuals.
Andre says thinking about the impact he has on the students' lives and the impact they have on him can be overwhelming.
"Couple of days ago, I was like 'I gotta go, see you later girls,'" Samuels recalled. "One of them just comes up and hugs you and you're not expecting it."
The girls say the lab makes a big impact too. It gives them a chance to make friends while learning and build connections for success in the future.