Landon Taylor Fills in STEM’s Diversity Gap

Deep Dive Rising Tide Rising Tide - Nov '19
November 19, 2019 By Grace Wood

Base 11’s CEO has made it his passion project to help underrepresented students enter the STEM fields – one location at a time.

Students explore the 3D printers at the Base 11 lab space at UCI Beall Applied Innovation. Photo: Julie Kennedy

Although the business and science sectors have taken steps to improve diversity issues, there is still a gap when it comes to inclusion. Landon Taylor, CEO of Base 11, understands the need for minorities in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries.

And he has the experience to make a difference. Taylor has held senior executive roles at many companies, including First American Financial Corporation, where he implemented housing programs and guidance to help marginalized communities. Now, he continues that legacy through Base 11, an organization that helps women and minorities enter the STEM fields.

Base 11, a STEM workforce and entrepreneur accelerator, provides students at the middle school through college levels with programs, mentorship and access to lab space at locations like the Cove @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation.

“If you have diversity of thought and diversity of perspectives, then you have a greater opportunity to create innovation, new products and breakthrough solutions that are solving some of the world’s biggest problems,” said Taylor.

Taylor founded Base 11 in Orange County in 2014 after a friend approached him about the lack of diversity in the STEM industries. Sin ce then, he has opened locations in Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Bruno, Compton and Irvine.

All of Base 11’s regional locations include the STEM Entrepreneurship program, which teaches students to apply classroom knowledge to the business sector and make their innovations profitable. Taylor has also formed partnerships with organizations like the Deloitte Foundation and Pier 70 Ventures, which support diversity through programs like a data analytics training curriculum for high school students.

Taylor’s second Base 11 Innovation Center, an MIT-inspired fabrication laboratory (“Fab Lab”), opened at the Cove in 2017 after talks with Richard Sudek, UCI chief innovation officer and executive director at Applied Innovation. At this location, students from across Southern California have access to 3D printers, a laser cutter and lab space to experiment with and develop projects.

“To give students the opportunity to come into a place like the Cove, it’s transformational,” said Taylor. “It was clear to me when I saw the facility and the leadership that we wanted to have a partnership with Applied Innovation.”

In addition to the lab space, Base 11’s partnership with Applied Innovation includes access to Cove events and workshops.

Taylor hopes student entrepreneurs will pursue this opportunity with a sense of passion – much like he does with Base 11.

“When you’re trying to create companies, it’s hard and, in most cases, you don’t get it right the first time,” said Taylor. “The only way that you’re able to have the conviction and the energy and the ‘stick-to-it-ness’ to persevere through those roadblocks is if you’re passionate about it.”

Learn more about Base 11.

*Main photo: Landon Taylor, Base 11 CEO, in front of the Base 11 lab at the Cove @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation.
Photo: Julie Kennedy

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