Born to Trinidadian immigrants and raised in Boston, MA, Jamal Grant always had an appreciation for education. His early years in college, however, presented a reality of educational disparity that he had not previously experienced. Both through personal experience and those of his peers with similar backgrounds, he began to recognize what he describes as the “vast inequality that colors public school education in the United States.” These experiences propelled him into a world of activism and advocacy for education improvement in Boston, particularly in the realm of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). After graduating from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2015, Jamal sought ways to advance his activism and tie his work to larger communities. He joined the inaugural Humanity in Action John Lewis Fellowship in Atlanta in the summer of 2015. On his first Humanity in Action experience Jamal said
“Humanity In Action exposed me to what collaborative activism looked like in practice and demonstrated the significance of solidarity between people and movements in the struggle for human rights.”
After the Fellowship, Jamal implemented his Action Project, The NET Mentoring Group, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization he founded to address the STEM academic achievement and opportunity gap in Greater Boston. The NET Mentoring Group went on to serve underrepresented minorities and young girls in the Boston area through providing STEM programming, mentorship and access to resources in the city. Subsequently, Jamal and The NET Mentoring Group became a recipient of the 2017 Humanity in Action International Grant Competition.
Jamal’s NET Mentoring Group went on to serve underrepresented minorities and young girls in the Boston area through providing STEM programming, mentorship and access to resources in the city.
Jamal’s work with Humanity in Action has continued since his initial Fellowship through involvement as a 2016 participant on the Humanity in Action Rwandan Genocide study trip to Kigali, Rwanda and then again as a Senior Fellow of the inaugural Humanity in Action Detroit Fellowship in July 2017.
“Each time that I traveled with Humanity in Action, I found my beliefs being challenged, my perspectives more informed and my solutions to the problems I was passionate about more refined. Humanity in Action has helped me gain a priceless appreciation for experiential learning and travel as a tool to better understand the world.”
Currently Jamal works as a mechanical and aerospace systems engineer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and will be joining the Master in Public Policy class of 2021 at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Recently, he has taken his experiential learning to new heights in organizing a documentary film project trip to South Africa in March 2019 where he and a team of three other researchers explored wealth inequality in South Africa 25 years since the first democratically-elected government. Jamal plans to continue searching for new ways to enact change and hopes to help the world become a place where economic mobility and quality education are accessible to all.
Learn more about The Ase Research Film Project here.