Growing up, We Energies employee Eron Missick thought engineering was for “nerds.” As a Black man growing up in the Bahamas, he didn’t know anyone that looked like him who could have made science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) seem cool or exciting.

“I didn’t feel like school was fun,” Missick said.

Eron described his younger self as a competitive athlete. His mother took that competitive spirit and challenged her son with a bet that he couldn’t get a degree in a STEM-related field. Not one to turn down a challenge, Eron won that bet by coming all the way to Milwaukee to get his degree from the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

“After graduating, I had to bring back my degree to show my mom that I did it,” he said.

His journey inspired him to give back and encourage a new generation of Black youth to learn more about STEM.

“It’s important for young people of color to see people like them in successful environments, so that it can be normalized within our communities,” said Missick, adding that he wants kids to know they don’t have to fit a stereotype to be an engineer.

Eron developed a STEM problem solving curriculum to teach at an after-school program at Messmer Preparatory Academy in Milwaukee, in which the students learn the basics of computer programming with the goal of programming a light show on the Hoan Bridge.

“There is lots of cool stuff in STEM that can create so many future opportunities for kids,” said Missick.