Arianna McCray: TRAK’D
During this past summer, Arianna McCray continued her work with TRAK’D. TRAK’D is a nonprofit designed to improve the quality of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Athletics and Math) education within its community and to provide a source from which the parents and youth of every community can benefit. She serves as the Social Chair and PR Assistant to Executive Director/Founder Dr. LaChelle Waller. For the past three years, TRAK’D has provided a STEAM Summer Camp targeting K-5 students in the tricities area of Virginia—specifically targeting the impoverished students living down the Jefferson Davis corridor.
This year, TRAK’D hosted the camp at L.C Bird High School, the Governor’s Academy for Engineering, and our students (known as #STEAMers) focused on this year’s theme of sustainability. The STEAMers worked with numerous community partners including Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, Thomas Dale High School, Science Museum of Virginia, GE, Bon Secours NFL and over twenty more companies to engineer ways to better care for the environment. Last year, McCray created and spearheaded the media initiative #STEAMtalk, which is the camp’s YouTube show that showcases what the students are learning, as explained by them. Every episode features two of the STEAMers and the community partners, who they interview to provide more insight on how they utilized and applied STEAM that day. At the camp, STEAMers did everything from fruit DNA extractions to coding and robotics to monitoring their activity in the gym with chip monitors and tablets.
McCray was able to effectively run the media and networking side this year thanks to her Social Media team, which is full of minority middle and high school students known as the STEAMbassadors. During this time, she had the opportunity of mentoring and exposing the students to the business side of the camp so that they could effectively provide media for newspapers, local newstastions, community partners, and website and social media accounts. This year’s camp ended with a recap presentation created by the students with the help of the Carpenter Theater, which was presented to their families and members of the Chesterfield County School Board. Finally, students also received an invitation to attend a VIP Day with the Washington Redskins at their Bon Secours Training Camp where they met and played with the players, coaches, Dale Earnhardt, Jr, and the mayor of Richmond, Mr. Levar Stoney. The biggest focus of the camp and other community events TRAK’D hosts is to illustrate to the STEAMers that they can achieve anything regardless of their background, ethnicity, and the limitations society has set for those who have been overlooked, disadvantaged, and/or at-risk. This is done by ensuring that the students see people who look like them and are excelling in careers that they aspire to have.
After the camp ended in July, TRAK’D became involved with the newly-established non-profit Enon Marguerite Christian Athletic Association. The two schools combined, and neither has had a football and cheer program for the past few years due to lack of parent involvement and funding because of demographics with redistricting. As a member of TRAK’D, McCray was asked by EMC’s President Dr. Waller to continue with our mission of having academically strong athletes. McCray, now, is the Secretary on the EMC’s Executive Board and Flag Cheerleading coach to twenty amazing young girls. This past weekend, Dr. Waller and McCray organized and hosted the Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony sponsored by TRAK’D– where they received physical support and recognition from the CCPS Superintendent Dr. Lane, Board of Directors Representative Carrie Coyner and the Papa Company of Fort Lee for their work in the community.
Agents of Change
Arianna T. McCray is currently a senior at MBU from Chester, VA. After realizing that she did not want to placed in the box of a Fortune 500 Company, she began finding a way to chase my passion of women’s empowerment, community engagement and being an entrepreneur, which brought her to MBU where she is a Social Entrepreneurialism major.
Two years ago, she was made aware of her younger brother (now 8 years old) after their father suddenly passed. She received sole custody of him, and transferred him from Petersburg Public Schools to Chesterfield County Public Schools—where he has made a complete 180 in regards to his confidence in academia, self-worth, and appreciation for life, education and community. By seeing first-hand how surrounding a child with a positive community, mentors and encouraging can change their trajectory on life and their potential—she since has felt the need to continue to have that impact on my community and the world.
“My ultimate goal in life is to own several businesses and to train an army of women-both young and old-who are resilient and capable of shattering the glass ceiling that has oppressed us for so many years. I plan to do this under my non-profit mentoring program IMAGE: Imagine Me – Achieving, Growing and Empowering.”