History of AES
ACCESS Educational Services, Inc. was founded in 2005 by Gwendolyn Brantley, a native of Bridgeport, CT and former Human Resources Professional. In her early career years she worked in various industries including Technology, Health, and Education where she quickly learned that the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math would be the careers of the future. While working for these industries as a single mom, she became concerned about the disparities and lack of exposure that her own son faced as an African American male in emerging STEM fields as well as for every young person in the community in which she grew up in and still resided. Recognizing this need, she charted a Pre-College Initiative program that falls under The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), commonly known as ACCESS NSBE Jr. Chapter as an idea and mission to expose underserved youth to STEM.
The first group of students included her son, children of relatives, and close friends. Thanks to one of the city’s oldest organizations like Bridgeport’s Black Pride, they gave Gwen the platform to promote NSBE and STEM in the earlier years which laid the foundation to the many successes ACCESS achieved over the past 15 years. ACCESS received it’s 501c3 status in 2012 and has grown the organization to offer several different STEM focused academic programs, partners with other non-profits, corporations, and educational organizations. Gwen also works as a Consultant with the United Way of Fairfield County, leading the efforts of The Greater Bridgeport STEM Ecosystem, a global initiative that along with over 35 community and business partners is improving STEM educational opportunities for hundreds of Pre-K through 12th grade school students.
About the Founder
ACCESS Educational Services, Inc. was founded in 2005 by Bridgeport, Connecticut native and former Human Resources professional, Ms. Gwendolyn Brantley. In the early years of her career, Ms. Brantley worked in various fields including Technology, Health, and Education where she quickly learned that the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) would be the careers of the future. While working in these industries, she became concerned about the disparities of representation and lack of exposure that her son faced as a Black male in emerging STEM fields as well as for every young person in the Bridgeport community. Recognizing this need, she charted a NSBE Jr. Chapter, a Pre-College Initiative program of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). The ACCESS mission is to expose underserved and underrepresented students to meaningful STEM education through hands-on and project-based activities that provide early exposure to careers and build student confidence in their science, technology, engineering, math, literacy, and communications skills.
The first group of students back in 2005 included her son, children of relatives, and close friends, and was extremely successful. An early partnership with one of Bridgeport’s oldest organizations, Bridgeport’s Black Pride, provided Gwen the platform to promote NSBE and STEM which laid the foundation for the organization’s many achievements over the past 18 years. ACCESS received its non-profit status in 2012 and the organization has grown to offer several STEM-focused academic programs, and partner with other nonprofits, corporations, and educational and faith-based organizations. ACCESS currently offers Afterschool and Saturday STEM programming, summer enrichment opportunities, and STEM events. Ms. Brantley also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Bridgeport and a Consultant with the Bridgeport Prospers/United Way of Fairfield County, leading the efforts of The Greater Bridgeport Learning STEM Ecosystem, a global initiative that along with over 35 community and business partners is improving STEM educational opportunities for hundreds of Pre-K through 12th-grade students. ACCESS has had the opportunity to impact the lives of thousands of students since its inception.
Current Board Members
Vice President, Programs & Partnerships
Senior Manager, Packaging Sustainability
ACCESS Board President
Director of Procurement
ACCESS Board Secretary
CEO/Owner of Gymlifefitness LLC
Our goal is to help children envision their future and strive for academic excellence in primary and secondary educational institutions. We stimulate enthusiasm about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), encourage students to graduate high school and pursue degrees in STEM fields and we raise awareness of the importance to give back to the community through service projects. We also aim to increase the number of Bridgeport students attending and graduating from college.
Funders and Partners
On behalf of ACCESS Educations Services, Inc. Executive Director and our Board of Directors we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our Funders and Partners over the last 15+ years.