By: Julie Marie Bedas
Like most mothers out there, Ameka Ali is fond of reading books to her children and watching television with them. What she didn’t enjoy however was the lack of diversity in children’s literature and media. When Ameka noticed this, she did not search very far but instead decided to establish Higher Mind Apps.
Real solutions for empowerment
“Less that 6% of children’s literature have diverse characters, only 36% feature a girl in a lead role, and in cartoons, I can only think of 2 girls leading a show that are not Caucasians,” Ameka observed. “And, of the books and shows that do exist with a female lead, how many are focused on making science cool and interesting?”
Ameka believes that Higher Mind Apps is here to change all this. “I was once a young girl and seeing someone who looked like me making science fun and engaging would have been amazing.”
The company’s flagship brand Ameka Love©™, an animated series, will pave the way for girls everywhere. “Our goal is to make science real for girls by inspiring and motivating children to explore their world with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics),” Ameka said.
“I knew I had to do this because based on the current track record if I didn’t do it, I felt like it probably wasn’t going to happen.”
Shaping the minds of children today
What is a scientist to you? What does that look like? These are some of the questions that Higher Mind Apps©™ and the Ameka Love©™ STEM-enrichment animated series are trying to challenge. Ameka’s company is shattering stereotypes of what scientists look like and making science more exciting for girls.
“Only 24% of women work in S.T.E.M. careers,” Ameka laid down the figures. “Minority women comprise fewer than 1 in 10 employed scientists and engineers.”
“As an entrepreneur, my company is here to spark girls’ interest in the amazing world of STEM and inspire girls to go into these amazing fields too,” Ameka proclaimed. “I have created something that is making science relatable and making it easier for girls to see the possibilities of STEM.”
“Children who engage with Ameka Love©™ today will be entering the workforce by 2040,” she went on. “Children’s interest in STEM needs to be cultivated as early as possible, in early education.”
Technical difficulties experienced
“Ameka Love©™ is a STEM animated series with life skills emphasis on yoga, meditation, community gardening, astronomy, etc. teaching positive lessons and encouraging curiosity,” Ameka said.“The struggle was finding a creative and efficient way to explain the subject matter to 3-8 year old audience.”
When Ameka started the her business venture, she was clear on the direction of the first project, but it wasn’t until she actually started writing when it hit her that converting the subject matter was a little tricky. The challenge was in simplifying and explaining complicated subjects especially the metaphysical aspects like chakras, yoga, and meditation.
But Ameka was more determined than ever. “I better figure out how to do this because it has to be done.” She believed that she knew the subject matter thoroughly so it was just a matter of condensing the layers of information down.
“I approached each story and subject like a project and identified the key meanings, use, function, etc. of the particular STEM, meditation or yoga topic,” Ameka explained. “Then I found creative ways to tell a story and create artwork and animations that brought everything to life in a colorful, intelligent, and entertaining way.”
Achievements and current projects
Higher Mind Apps’ first project, Ameka Love©™, an interactive picture book series that speaks to children between the ages of 3-8, is currently available on the App Store and Google Play.”
The company is also developing the Ameka Love©™ S.T.E.M-enrichment animated series as well as appisodes (episodes with interactivity). Once the Ameka Love©™ animated series is released, they will start producing games and animated shows featuring their second hero, Alem Supreme©™.
“We are currently running a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the creation of the animated series, producing theme music, and the animated show intro,” she revealed.
“My advice is to be clear and concise about what you need the resources for, demonstrate that people’s money is going towards a positive cause and always be appreciative and show gratitude,” she asserted. “People have many choices on how they can spend their time and money and for them to take the time to support you means something.”
She reminds each one to always be thankful.
Her top two inspirations, however, are two empowered women.
The first is Dr. Mae Jemison, who was the first African-American woman in space. “She was my Ameka Love©™, a female who looked like me, who loved science like me, and she made a life for herself with science,” she shared.
The second inspiration is Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States of America. “Her grace, elegance, charisma, intelligence, and passion for the causes she supports is inspiring.”