February 7, 2022
Edited: July 5, 2022
Ogundele and the Ethos Lab
With everything Anthonia Ogundele has going on, it’s a real mystery how she finds time to sleep. Being on the UBC Board of Governors is just one of the many roles she’s taken on in recent years. Anthonia spends much of her time empowering youth as the executive director of Ethọ́s Lab, an extracurricular learning academy for teens that uses culture and diversity to bring greater representation to STEAM. She founded Ethos Lab after unsuccessfully looking for an ideal place for her daughter to learn and have fun that also reflected her cultural identity and met her social needs.
“When I look and see who is shaping the world, it doesn’t represent the community around us,” says Anthonia. Despite not having a science background, the self proclaimed problem solver took matters into her own hands by doing the relevant research and creating a diverse space for kids. “I’m taking an anti-racist lens to this work,” she says. “There’s a real underrepresentation in STEM. Why? It’s a consequence of our cultural issues.”
Diversity in STEM: It’s a good thing
Although Anthonia set out to create a space inspired by the humanity of the Black experience, what she has found is that the scope has widened to include others as well. “We have a lot of BIPOC young people, many of which are girls,” she says. Anthonia didn’t intend for Ethọ́s Lab to cater to any one gender or cultural group but she’s delighted by how everything has turned out. “When you start to build an inclusive environment it starts to include… everybody!” she says with a laugh.