Auntaria Tennille-Johnson, M.Ed, Ed.S – President/CEO of The Dennis Project, Inc.

auntaria small headshotMrs Tennille-Johnson will be the guest speaker for our upcoming Tele-conference call, “Budgets, Funding, and Grants Oh My!” on February 11, 2016.  She is a dedicated worker and genuinely committed to helping today’s youth succeed. We are so glad to have her on our team of Leaders guiding, mentoring, and encouraging girls to be their best.

PLWG Network: Ms. Auntaria, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Auntaria Tennille-Johnson:  I was born and raised in the housing projects of Miami, FL. I am a teacher by nature and a lifelong learner. I’ve taught Pre-K through 12th grade in the public and private sectors for over 15 years. I now teach adult education, employability, & life skills at the Step-Up Apprenticeship program at the Housing Authority of Ft. Lauderdale. My B.S. is in Early Childhood Ed., 1st Masters in Education, 2nd post Masters (Ed.S.) in Educational Leadership, I am a current student at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) studying for a MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. My intention is to own and operate my own private school. I was a teen mom, and for many years a single mom to a wonderful son (David). In 2014, my husband (Ivory) and I married and I am now the mother of 3 (David, Kiros, and Denice). I love listening to soulfully good music; those rare times of doing absolutely nothing; and a good Auntarias Family Picinspirational, tear jerking movie. My circle of friends include: people who are passionate and challenge me, and possess advantageous skills/talents/characteristics that I do not. Most importantly, I love God with all my heart, for without Him I AM NOTHING!

 

PLWG Network: What is The Dennis Project? 

Auntaria Tennille-Johnson:

Mission:

The Dennis Project (TDP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit formed to enrich, empower, and engage underserved youth in education programs that promote science, technology, engineering & math (STEM), 21st century career planning, personal development, and family involvement. As a result, young people are better equipped to become the next generation of successful leaders. History: The Dennis Project, Inc. was founded in 2012 in celebration of the Dennis Family. As MiamiDade County Public School teachers, community leaders and positive role models the Dennis family women have influenced others to uplift their community by becoming a positive change. Although faced with many adversities these phenomenal women have held true to their faith, family tradition, love of education and willingness to help others. Their roots are established in the inner-city community, where they have made an incredible impact

 Programs:

  • Girls Represent! (STEM awareness for girls),
  • Super Science Explorers (STEM awareness for K-12 students),
  • New Generation Empowered (teen enrichment & teen summit),
  • Fathers Stepping Up Fatherhood Program (fatherhood initiative)

Program Objectives:

  • Encourage positive “can do” attitude toward overall academic success
  • Improve attitudes toward STEM fields and careers
  • Increase awareness and access of minorities and women underrepresented in STEM
  • Improve 21st Century skills: critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, & leadership
  • Increase parental involvement

TDP News articlePLWG Network:Please share with us the inspiration behind The Dennis Project?

Auntaria Tennille-Johnson: After working for many years at a science museum, I noticed our program lacked African American participation. I took action and designed a program and applied for funding exclusively for minority girls entitled: Girls Exploring Engineering (GEE). Sponsored by Girls RISEnet (Raising Interest in Science and Engineering) Museum Network, we partnered with local youth organizations to facilitate a “one-time” engineering program to stimulate the interest of 100 minority, low-income girls in middle and high school, held at the science museum. In pre-evaluation surveys and discussions the girls were asked the likelihood of entering college to pursue a STEM related career. 80% of the girls expressed they were exposed to very few hands-on experiences in school and found science “boring”, “too hard”, and/or “for boys”. Postevaluations revealed that with the help of female STEM mentors, the girls’ perception of women in science had changed, and they’d acquired a new, empowered outlook on STEM related fields. 90% of the girls were able to use their creativity and resourcefulness to build complicated circuitry projects, with little to no assistance. Furthermore, after a follow-up we learned that an 11th grade participant had recently applied at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) to pursue a degree in engineering. She explained the GEE workshop increased her confidence in her abilities, and influenced her decision. The project’s success soared well beyond the pilot stage and the Dennis Project was born. It has been developed into a multiple level outreach program, and we have served more than 1,000 minority boys and girls.

PLWG Network: What are some of your goals for The Dennis Project?

Auntaria Tennille-Johnson: Along with the outreach programs, we would like to acquire funding for a facilitytdp vision board workshop where we will facilitate ongoing programming for middle and high school girls and a summer camp for lowincome boys and girls. Our long term goal is to own and operate a learning academy that promotes STEM and the overall well-being of students in grades K-8.

PLWG Network: What advice do you have for African American/Black Girls?

Auntaria Tennille-Johnson: No matter what “they” say, NOTING is out of reach!

PLWG Network: Thank you Ms. Auntaria! We certainly appreciate your experience, helpful input, and very valuable knowledge.

The Dennis Project

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DennisProject/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DennisProject

 

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One Comment


  1. PLWG Network, 1 year ago Reply

    Thank you Auntaria. We really appreciate having you on our team.


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