Prepare2Nspire | What We Do

students in a classroom holding up their phones with a banner across the front reading "celebrating 10 years"

Our mission

Prepare2Nspire’s vision is to provide urban middle and high school students with weekly mathematics tutoring and mentoring. The program builds confidence and prepares students for post-secondary mathematics study by supporting students in 8th-grade algebra through high school calculus. The goal is to inspire participants to pursue postsecondary education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. 

How Prepare2Nspire works

Prepare2Nspire is a tiered mentoring program. Undergraduate students studying in mathematics become trained as math mentors for high school students. The high school calculus students, in turn, mentor 8th grade algebra students. Students that take part in tiered mentoring become deeply involved as both learners and mentors in a community centered around learning in the STEM fields. 

Why Prepare2Nspire works

As the first African American in Minnesota to receive a PhD in Mathematics Education, Prepare2Nspire founder Lesa Clarkson witnessed what the data shows: Diversity decreases as math courses become more advanced. She realized a key piece of what was missing for underrepresented students was having a community of peers for support. Prepare2Nspire creates an informal (non-classroom) space for students to communicate, study, and participate in math. After participating in the program, students are more confident after participating, more confident in both in their math knowledge and in their school classrooms. Several of members of the first 8th grade cohort are now receiving their math degrees from the U of M and have become mentors for high-school students.