Bukola Somide Creates STEM-Focused Doll To Inspire Young Black Girls

Bukola Somide wanted to make a difference in STEM while inspiring the next generation. After working in the IT industry for 17 years, Somide created the “Somi” doll, an interactive African American doll that focuses on exposing kids to Computer Science (CS) concepts in a fun way. The speaking doll aims to engage, educate, and inspire children while also touching on cyberbullying.

Somide recently spoke with ADW to shed light on her career in tech and the creation of “Somi” doll. 

Before creating the Somi doll, you worked in tech. What was that journey like?

I’ve worked in the computer science industry in corporate America for 17 years. I got to a point in my life where I was feeling unfulfilled and I really wanted to give back to the community in a way that really resonated with me. And being that I’m usually the only woman on the software development team, I embarked on the endeavor to help increase the number of minority girls that are thriving in this field. I wanted to do it in a way that was fun and innovative because I know the pain points of our community. This is really a male-dominated industry so it really takes some self-confidence to know how to thrive in this space. So I created this character called Somi. She’s a young, beautiful Black girl who is curious. She’s smart. And she’s interested in learning about computer science concepts from her mom, who’s her mentor. 

How has it resonated with some of your early testers and individuals who have experience Somi?

When I see reviews that says she’s smart and beautiful, it’s great to see that folks get it. This is making an impact and it really encourages me as a creator to keep pushing me to do more more great stuff. The most profound feedback I’ve received more recently was from a mom of this 9-year old Black girl. She interacted with Somi and now she’s talking about engineering. This is the beauty of the impact. I’m creating to help increase the interest in STEM fields, especially young Black girls.

This is Women’s History Month. What’s the biggest advice that you have for all women?

I believe we’re all in this world for a purpose and to add value. We are all given a gift, one or many. So to utilize your gifts, actually find a need and you will find true fulfillment in your life. I wasn’t seeking to be an innovative or a trailblazer or create the latest and greatest gadget. I was seeking fulfillment through community impact. And by doing that I had to think creatively in regards to the solution I created. And that’s how I created this. It wasn’t expected. So that’s what I would advise. Be purpose driven in what you do in everything you do. Let it help other people and it will come back to you.


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