DJ Grand Hank can work the turntables and a chemistry set.
For Tyraine Ragsdale, hip-hop goes well with STEM; he lives in a world where science and hip-hop co-exist . That’s because the West Philadelphia native spends his life performing and teaching two things he loves; science and music. He goes by the name DJ Grand Hank.
DJ Hank asks, “Why don’t we use music to teach science to show people that science is doable and fun,” He will soon open a STEM center in East Germantown to inspire Philadelphia youth.
“I wanted to create a learning environment where kids could come and learn things that they might be interested in, that they never even knew existed,” Hank says.” Then they might say, I want to be a scientist, I want to be an engineer, I want to get into medicine,’ because they’ve been exposed to it.”
The STEM Center will operate under Grand Hank Productions, a multimedia educational production company that provides educational training and instruction to students, educators, and administrators of grades K-12 through the use of STEM-based material and beats.
Tyraine Ragsdale toured as Grand Hank and performed worldwide to increase people’s interest in science and technology. The former pharmaceutical chemist with Johnson & Johnson also worked with the Philadelphia School District to develop two television series.
Ragsdale came up with the idea of teaching STEM-based material with hip-hop more than 30 years ago. He says, “ So that was the beginning of me, beginning to reach people through a medium that they love.”
Now that Ragsdale is retired, his tour earnings are invested into The Grand Hank STEM Center. He purchased the center located at 501 Armstrong Street 11 years ago and has spent the time investing in the building and acquiring materials needed for students.
The center will serve all of Philadelphia and will be located in Germantown. When it opens, in a few months, the Grand Hank STEM Center will join several other centers in the city like Esteem Girls STEM Center, Tech Girlz and more.