Making STEM a household name
CREATING KITS THAT INFORM AND INSPIRE. Oscar Pedroso, Founder and CEO of Thimble, created his company to inspire kids to become more aware of the educational and career opportunities that often they’re not aware of or always think they have access to get excited about.
“In college I was working in admissions part time for the University of Rochester in the school of engineering. Which allowed me to go into high schools to talk about the college and our programs. But so many kids didn’t even know what engineering was or how computer science worked. And it shocked me.”
Because Oscar realized that it wasn’t just the schools that offered influence, but what happens at home too. “I know parents want their kids to explore smart career options, but that doesn’t mean they always have the skills or insights to help.”
Enter Thimble, a live and on-demand robotics and coding class and kit delivery box subscription program that gives both kids and parents (and soon teachers) the tools they need to talk about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), computer science, engineering, and all of the amazing career opportunities that exist.
“When I think about impact in education, I always envision a team working together. Sure someone might have a mentor or favorite teacher, but if a team of people, my team, parents, teachers, the students, their friends, can get excited about technology, about learning, these kids are unstoppable.” Oscar explains.
BUILDING A RICH TAPESTRY OF NETWORKS AND PEERS. Oscar (and ultimately Thimble) has truly figured out how to learn to surf when one can’t always control the waves since launching. “We’ve learned how to pivot when necessary and how to take smart advantage of what’s already available to get people excited about our work. We used Kickstarter to raise awareness and $300,000 in capital, but we’ve also realized that we can branch out since the pandemic, looking more closely at schools and teachers who are excited about our work, and not just always thinking home-based or parents as our core market.”
And as an out gay, Latino founder, the need to learn to swim as a entrepreneur and founder is also often part of the landscape. “While being LGBTQ hasn’t been a huge part of my formative experience in this space, I do find that other LGBTQ people are often grateful to meet me and fold me into their networks. I’m in the Buffalo NY area, so the pools can be small, but when I’m in larger cities or in more progressive communities, it can be existing to meet other gay or trans founders, meet my peers.”
“Every day I ask myself, how can Thimble grow and how can I deepen my relationships and networks. This makes me a kind of social-social entrepreneur. And I’m proud of that fact. When you surround yourself with new people, new opportunities, new worlds you find new ways to make your life work better. You see challenges differently. You learn to thrive in any environment.”