will.i.am is here to tell your kids that science rocks

Will.i.amScience is awesome! Who said that? Maybe DJ Lance Rock. And parents trying to convince skeptical kids.

Well, now we parents have the help of
mega pop star and Black Eyed Peas front man, will.i.am, of all people. He is currently using his star power and celeb connections to support a side project meant to get the brainy science kids some positive attention and the respect they deserve.

And it involves something even the most reluctant, science-phobic kid can appreciate: Robots.

{keep reading to see our exclusive interview with will.i.am}

Kicking off with a special program, i.am.first- science is rock and roll, which aired recently on ABC, will.i.am introduces kids to the world of FIRST Robotics Competitions. The i.am.first website dedicated to this program features loads of interviews from everyone from Miley Cyrus to Jack Black and Justin Bieber talking about why more kids should give science the props it deserves.

I was a bit skeptical hearing that “big names” were coming together to tell kids how cool science is. Shouldn’t we be hearing from scientists and not a bunch of celebrities? But I had the unique opportunity to ask will.i.am some questions about the project and was surprised by his passion on the subject and the purity of the mission. - Stephanie M

Q. I love that you have been dabbling in children’s and family related media in recent years. Most often actors/musicians who become parents make that transition. What’s been your motivation? 
A. I teamed up with famous inventor Dean Kamen to get kids excited about math, science and engineering. Dean invented the Segway Human Transporter – I love riding on it when I’m backstage in big arenas. The kids have been my motivation. I love watching them get excited when they talk about their robots, all the different parts to it- different functions, different buttons. That’s my motivation. 

Q. Obviously empowering children to make the most of their education is of great importance to you. Was there someone in your youth who encouraged you the same way? 
A. I attended public schools and was lucky that my mom pushed hard to get me into magnet schools that were not in my neighborhood which offered underperforming schools. I owe a huge thanks to my own mom and uncles for keeping me focused, nurturing my talent and making sure I had the desire to go to school every day and soak up knowledge. 

Q. Why FIRST? What captured your attention about this specific competition? 
A. I created this TV special to get kids excited about math and science, using the FIRST Championships and entertainment to help make science and technology cool. When I attended my first FIRST event as a guest of inventor and FIRST Founder Dean Kamen, I was blown away. I asked him why more people didn’t know about FIRST. Dean has made FIRST great, but we agreed that my role was to make it loud. One thing led to the next, including taking the BEPs to St. Louis to play a special private concert, which then led to creating the TV special “i.am FIRST: Science is Rock and Roll” 

Q. I find it very interesting that so many big names came out specifically in the name of science, robotics even more specifically. Something that might have been considered geeky when I was in school is now formally being branded cool. Why do you think people are more accepting and appreciative today? 

A. I think people are more accepting, but need to be even MORE accepting than they are. That’s part of the reason I am doing this. To show people it’s not “geeky” to like technology. Science is cool. 

Q.What do you hope children take away from the special?
A. Showing that the smart kids can also be the cool kids is important. I want people who love technology and the skills behind it – math and science – to be celebrated as the rock stars of technology.

Q. In January Intel named you Director of Creative Innovation- do you have any grand plans you can share with us?

A. I’m up in the Silicon Valley regularly to meet with Intel’s executive and engineering teams. We have some amazing things going on in the lab, but it’s top secret right now.

Visit iamfirst.dipdive.com to watch science themed videos from will.i.am’s celebrity pals and to see clips from the i.am.first back-to-school special. And special thanks to will.i.am for sharing his thoughts with us!

Stephanie M.

Stephanie Mayers is entrenched in the kindie rock industry, a former gallery manager, and a self-proclaimed foodie who doesn’t get out to eat much. (Darn you, parenthood.)

Be first to comment. It makes us happy.