“The most important thing for you is your mind, and your mind is something that no one can take away from you,” said Atlanta Falcons linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee.
Ellerbee’s nonprofit Bee’s Believers aims to bridge the gap between student-athletes and science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
“Our mission is to offer students opportunities through athletics and STE (A) M, so that they have the chance to discover new passions, on and off the field”, indicates the association on his website. “No child should be limited in what they seek to accomplish in this life, and we made it our mission to help them raise.”
Ellerbee, a product of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, said it was his geometry teacher who told him that at the end of the day he must have more than just playing football.
“Bee’s Believers was an idea that really developed when I was at Strake Jesuit,” Ellerbee said. “Everyone at this school made sure that what I was doing on the football field was not a total synthesis of who I was. They always made sure I had it in class too.”
So that’s exactly what he did. Ellerbee had two dreams: playing in the NFL and getting a civil engineering degree.
“When I left school and during the recruiting process, a lot of people said to me, ‘Oh, you’re going to have to choose one or the other. be a great athlete. I was like ‘Why can’t I do both?’ ”
Ellerbee received her civil engineering degree from Rice University and is still living her NFL dream.
“I don’t think anyone’s dreams or what they want in life will ever be easy. You always have to go through trials and tribulations, hills and valleys, to be able to make sure it comes true. you have to kind of be stubborn with how you approach your dream, ”Ellerbee said.
He said he hopes his experiences will encourage all athletes, especially blacks and Latinos, to consider STEM as an option.
“There are a smaller number of African Americans in STEM careers, as well as Hispanic Americans,” Ellerbee said. “For us, it was about going to inner-city schools and just giving them the opportunity to have that exposure that they usually wouldn’t have.”
In March 2022, ninth grade students are invited to a seminar hosted by the nonprofit association, where students will be introduced to other like-minded student-athletes from other high schools in the region of Houston. In addition to meeting other students, they will also be able to meet and talk to former and current professional athletes who are now pursuing careers in STEM. Students will be able to experience and learn firsthand the many layers that STEM has to offer.
“We believe that when we welcome people of different beliefs, origins and socio-economic status, you would be able to create a better world because everyone understands the difficulties that others are going through,” said Ellerbee.
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