Terrence SouthernFOUNDER, ILLUMINATE S.T.E.M.
Terrence is a nationally recognized leader in the field of Robotic Engineering. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee in 2003, he began his career at General Motors as a Robotics Project Manager. Throughout Terrence’s 15 year career, he has worked for multiple Fortune 100 companies influencing the innovation and future of robotics.
Mr. Southern wears many professional caps. He is currently working for GE Transportation as a Robotics & Automation Engineer. Simultaneously, he is owner of Southern and Associates where he also functions in the role of chief consultant and his chief responsibility is advising and mentoring individuals and entities as well as providing strategic planning and project management solutions. While this and his other corporate positions have been a source of great productivity and professional growth, Terrence’s heart has remained close to the children who are products of communities where there is restricted access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. His own humble beginnings have fueled his passion to shed light on the possibilities of a career in the sciences for these children. From the heartbeat of this desire, came a non-profit organization called iLLUMINATE S.T.E.M. where the mission is to sustain talent and elevate minds. Through this program, Terrence seeks to advance future workforce opportunities for K-12 students in related areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through interactive curriculum and competitive learning concepts. Illuminate S.T.E.M. will develop curriculums and activities to ENCOURAGE, EMPOWER and ENABLE students to innovate the technical future of tomorrow. This non-profit unites with people of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities who share this same desire and want to help make dreams come true.
Terrence has been quoted as saying, "By giving back of our time and talents, we bring the future [our students] forward. I challenge everyone to get involved in the lives of young people. Everyone has something to give. We’re using our education and careers to help students be successful in life."With a humble quarter of a million dollar annual budget, iLLUMINATE S.T.E.M. is well on its way to giving back by lighting up the inner cities with programming, mentoring and hands on experiences that will give children the head start they need to be leaders in the sciences.
Terrence Southern is not just a man with a big heart and a vision. He has been the recipient of numerous awards for service to the manufacturing industry and community at large for his work, dedication and fortitude. These acknowledgements include the Black Engineer of the Year Awards "Most Promising Engineer in the Industry" (2012), US Black Engineer & Information Technology Magazine; HBCU Distinguished Alumni Recognition (2011), Engineering Society of Detroit’s Excellence in Leadership Award (2009), US FIRST Lego League Michigan Adult/Mentor Award (2008), and the Black Engineer of the Year Award Modern Day Technology Leader (2007). While of all of these honors, his most cherished was the invitations to serve as a keynote speaker for several industry and youth motivational conferences. Terrence has been featured in Dallas South News and the official Frito-Lay website for his work coaching and training seventh and eighth grade students at Sarah Zumwalt Middle School who were preparing to compete during National Robotics Week for a championship where their LEGO® made robotics would literally fight for the title. His long-standing record of robotics team coaching and teaching the fundamentals of robotics and coding to young children has earned him respectability and creditability among his colleagues and students alike.
With every accomplishment recognized and every accomplishment achieved silently, Terrence does not rest on his laurels. He is constantly looking for new means by which to stimulate young minds and to cultivate our new generation of leaders.
"By giving back of our time and talents, we bring the future [our students] forward. I challenge everyone to get involved in the lives of young people. Everyone has some thing to give. We’re using our education and careers to help students be successful in life."
Illuminate S.T.E.M. (Sustaining Talent and Elevating Minds) was founded through the vision of Terrence Southern, to promote educational opportunities and mentoring in the fields of Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics for students in underrepresented communities, grades K-12. Uniting with people of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities who share this same desire and want to help make dreams come true, Illuminate S.T.E.M. develops curriculum and activities to ENCOURAGE, EMPOWER and ENABLE students to innovate the technical future of tomorrow.More information can be found at our website: www.illuminatestem.org.