Chelsey Roebuck is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering, Inc (ELiTE). ELiTE is a community based youth development organization that utilizes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education to empower students from underserved communities to realize their academic and career potential, in Africa and the Americas.
ELiTE was founded out of an Engineers Without Borders (EWB), USA, project 9 years ago where Chelsey and classmates from Columbia University, USA, developed low-cost portable labs and programs to introduce the underlying engineering and biochemistry principles for the solar powered boreholes and source-separated latrines that Columbia EWB was building in Obodan and neighboring Eastern Region villages.
Chelsey’s vision for ELiTE was to bring practical and low-cost science and engineering learning experiences to youth in rural communities in Ghana, which was quickly scaled to communities in the USA, Tanzania, Mexico, and Jamaica through programs ranging from software development and bio-instrumentation to ecology and astronomy.
ELiTE currently facilitates intensive programs to provide hands-on learning in computer science and engineering for students from underrepresented populations across the globe, impacting over 500 students each year in 8 schools in the Harlem and Bronx sections of New York City in addition to empowering approximately 150 students each year in Ghana through our Long Vacation Camps and school based clubs. Over the years, ELiTE’s programs have directly impacted over 2,500 participating students globally, of which more than 700 were through programs in Ghana.
Owed to the quality of ELiTE’s programs, organizations such as Google, Facebook, and the City of New York have continued partnerships with ELiTE to develop and conduct programs in computer science and engineering. Over 12,000 students globally have been impacted through such programs.
In recent years, ELiTE students and alumni have reached the final rounds of the National Science and Math Quiz competition, won international engineering competitions, and matriculated to or graduated from every major university offering engineering coursework in Ghana including KNUST, Legon, UCC, Academic City, Ashesi, and GIMPA, where they routinely finish first in class in Computer Science or Computer Engineering.
In addition to his work with ELiTE, Chelsey also serves as a co-founder and advisor for dotLearn, an ultra data-light digital education platform to increase access to online educational resources in emerging markets. Since graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University in 2010, Chelsey has created meaningful impact towards addressing STEM education inequality as a means to close the achievement gap and provide opportunities for economic mobility for thousands of youth across Africa and the Americas. Among Chelsey’s numerous awards and recognitions include being named by Forbes Magazine as one of ‘30 Under 30 in Education’ in 2016, a prestigious Echoing Green Fellowship in 2013, and being honored alongside President Barack Obama as the recipient of the Evelyn Kamen Rising Star Award in 2017. Chelsey is also a Speaking Ambassador for the US Department of State, and serves on the Board of Directors or Advisory Board for a number of social impact organizations including Global Code (UK), dotLearn (USA), Tech Leads Ghana (GH), and Girl Be Heard (USA).