National Society of Black Engineers National Advisor Dr. Gary S. May Honored by President Obama

Gary S. May, Ph.D., national advisor, lifetime member and former national chair of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), has been honored by President Barack Obama with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). Dr. May, dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech, received news of the award on Friday, March 27, during his attendance at NSBE’s 41st Annual Convention, in Anaheim, Calif. He will receive the award during a White House ceremony later this year.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring is given to individuals and organizations to recognize “the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering — particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields,” a White House news release stated. “By offering their expertise and encouragement, mentors help prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers while ensuring that tomorrow’s innovators represent a diverse pool of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics talent throughout the United States.”

“These educators are helping to cultivate America’s future scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” President Obama said. “They open new worlds to their students, and give them the encouragement they need to learn, discover and innovate. That’s transforming those students’ futures, and our nation’s future, too.”

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National Society of Black Engineers Supports and Promotes Next Generation of STEM Hopefuls at 41st Annual Convention

NSBE Convention Attendees (Photo Courtesy Christina Sykes)
NSBE Convention Attendees (Photo Courtesy Christina Sykes)

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), an organization that seeks to increase the number of black engineering professionals, is currently holding its annual convention in Anaheim, California through March 29.  The 41st Annual Convention is being held at the Anaheim Convention Center and neighboring facilities, and is expected to draw more than 8,000 attendees.

NSBE’s largest event, the Annual Convention has been a turning point in the lives of countless black college and pre-college students over the past four decades. The convention showcases black students and professionals who have a passion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), who are high-achievers in these fields and who are channeling their passion to advance their communities and society at large.

NSBE’s members will be joined by local leaders and celebrities such as Devon Franklin and Laz Alonzo, in activities and events spotlighting the next phase of engineering and centered on the conference theme: “Innovation & Excellence: Reimagining Your Future.”

NSBE 41st Convention Attendees (Photo: nsbe.org)

As the convention prepares to get underway, the Society’s executive director says NSBE’s chief focus is achieving one goal of its new strategic plan: to graduate 10,000 black engineers with bachelor’s degrees, annually, by the year 2025.

“We view our Annual Convention as a time to show the world what excellence in engineering looks like,” says Karl W. Reid, Ed.D.  “As we continue to advance NSBE’s mission to increase the number of black engineers, we are also focusing on making engineering the career of choice for many more black children around the world.  We are committed to reimagining our children’s futures.”

Sossena Wood, a Ph.D. student in bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, is NSBE’s national chair, the organization’s top-ranking officer.

“NSBE’s Annual Convention has been a big part of my personal development,” she says. “Six years ago, in Las Vegas,  as a first-time member of the NSBE Senate, I was actively involved in deciding what path the Society would take in the coming year. Now, as we prepare for our convention in Anaheim, I have come full circle, as I share with the Senate the path the Society should take until 2025.”

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New List Celebrates the Beauty and Brains of Black Female Scientists

(Photo Credit: KylaMcMullen.com)

With her list of 73 sexy Black female scientists, Kyla McMullen is dismantling multiple destructive stereotypes about Black women. Not only are we beautiful and intelligent, but Black women are pursuing the highest levels of education in the much discussed STEM fields.

Kyla explains, “The face of Science needs an extreme makeover. If the current generation is going to be engaged in scientific careers, we need to dispel the stereotypical image of a scientist as being a white, glasses wearing, socially-inept nerd.”

Representation matters, and it’s important to show the world, not to mention the little girls who might want to enter these fields, that Black women are in these fields and their education does not strip them of their desirability. The list features a wide array of women who’ve pursued a host of different fields.

View the full list here.

article via theculture.forharriet.com

Black Students Shine At Greene Scholar Programs Science Fair In California


The Dr. Frank S. Greene Scholars Program dedicates its focus on preparing and challenging students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, also know as the STEM fields. Now in its 12th year, the Greene Scholar Programs (GSP) Science Fair, held this past weekend in San Jose, Calif., has been one of the most-dynamic events focusing on the excellence of African-American students in the Bay Area.

The San Jose Mercury News reported on the event, and spoke with several of the young participants, ranging from grades from third to 12th. One sixth-grader’s science presentation was rather impressive given his young age, and the 11-year-old raised a fine question with his experiment regarding the Tesla Motors electric car.  “As a car guy, I wondered if this small change would alter the aerodynamics of the car,” said Ayinde Olukotun, who attends Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School in Palo Alto.

Olukotun’s experiment studied the effect of the electric car manufacturers’ decision to raise the body of the Model S version of the vehicle after some reported battery fires. Olukotun compared the energy efficiency of model cars of different shapes and sizes, although he notes Tesla did the right thing in addressing the issue while possibly raising another. He says he “might e-mail” Tesla concerning his finds.

Program Director Gloria Whitaker-Daniels, who began at Dr. Frank S. Greene Scholars Program as a parent volunteer in 2001, has been heading the GSP for the last five years. With the South Bay area’s lower number of African-American residents, Ms. Whitaker-Daniels boasts that 100 percent of its students enter college and that 90 percent of them graduate.

More than 40 percent of GSP participants major in STEM fields, which reportedly is five times the national average for Black students.  Learn more about the excellent work of the Dr. Frank S. Greene Scholars Program here.

article by D.L. Chandler via newsone.com

Girls From Displaced Families Get Introduction to College and Engineering at Cal State Long Beach

Courtney Shumate, 10, of Compton, is spending a week living at Cal State Long Beach, learning about college life and engineering. Twenty-nine girls participated in the program August 8, 2013, in Long Beach. During this workshop, the participants built prosthetic arms. (Francine Orr, Los Angeles Times / August 7, 2013)

Submerged underwater, a robot built out of PVC pipes snaked back and forth near some foam “sea sponges.”  Next to the small wading pool, 11-year-old Nailah Lewis intently worked a set of controls on top of a wired plastic box. Her electrical engineering experiment had entered its final testing phase.  The task: Design a tool to pick up objects underwater.  Around the pool, a group of young girls leaned over the edge, dangling their hands in the water and shouting encouragement. Nailah’s 8-year-old sister, Ayailah, called out: “Come on, Ni Ni!”

Watching proudly nearby with a camera in hand was Nailah’s mother, Dana Lewis, 39, who is determined to see her both young daughters go to college.  She found a positive motivating force in a new Cal State Long Beach program.  The program, “Engineering Girls — It Takes a Village,” is unusual in its focus on recruiting young girls, ages 9 to 15, from displaced families.  Over the last four months, school officials worked with the Century Villages at Cabrillo, a transitional housing community, to recruit girls and bring them to the university in August for one week of engineering workshops.

Officials said that the program, which began Aug. 5 and ended Sunday, was specifically designed for girls because the engineering field is dominated by men. But coordinators also aimed to expose an underrepresented community with limited opportunities in science, math and engineering.  It came along with a full taste of college life, with the girls sleeping in the dorms and eating three all-you-can-eat meals a day.

Of the 29 girls who participated, 25 came from homeless families. All were African American, and most lived in single-parent homes.  Three were being raised by their grandparents.  “A lot of these girls are underprivileged, so an experience like this not only changes and impacts their lives, but re-creates their future,” said Lewis, who was one of several women who accompanied their daughters and participated in the program. Lewis moved into the Villages with her mother and two daughters when it opened five years ago.

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White House Recognizes Tech Leaders As ‘Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion’

BQh2fIYCMAAL-UvThe White House gathered a group of non-profit workers, educators, and startup founders to be honored on Wednesday as “Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion.” As part of the White House Tech Inclusion initiative, the event recognized tech leaders working to expand opportunities within the tech field for young innovators, specifically minorities, women and girls, and individuals underserved or underrepresented.

Kimberly Bryant, founder and executive director of Black Girls CodeKathryn Finney, founder and managing director of digitalundivided, and founder and executive director at iUrbanTeen Deena Pierott are among the 11 change-agents that were honored during the event.  President Obama and his administration are committed to expanding opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), vowing to increase the number of STEM graduates by one million over the next ten years. That prompted the chief executive to launch White House Tech Inclusion efforts, which are geared toward providing tech skills and opportunities to the next generation of innovators in the United States. Comedian and author of New York Times bestseller How To Be Black Baratunde Thurston served as moderator for the Champions of Change discussion.

In January, the Obama administration organized the White House Tech Inclusion Summit where five new programs were announced.

article by Janel Martinez via blackenterprise.com

California’s Greene Scholars Program Seeks to Place Black Youth in STEM Jobs

The 6th Annual Atlanta STEM Career Fair organized by the Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link Inc. (Photo by Ojo)
The 6th Annual Atlanta STEM Career Fair organized by the Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link Inc. (Photo by Ojo)

Over the next few days, 95 academically gifted African-American children with an aptitude in math and science will attend a highly-competitive summer camp in California’s Silicon Valley. The Greene Scholars Program, established in 2001, works with 3rd to 12th graders to cultivate academic abilities in science, technology, engineering and math.

“What’s unique about the program is that we’ve a long-term initiative to help stimulate the intellectual capacity of our kids to pursue STEM (sciencetechnologyengineering and mathematics) field careers,” says program director Gloria Whitaker-Daniels. “I feel in love with the model,” says Whitaker-Daniels, who initially was a parent-volunteer whose brood all completed the program.

“We stay with kids when they enter the program till they enter college. I have not found another program that does this over this duration.”

Every Greene Scholar goes to college

Since its inception, every GSP scholar has gone on to college. “The majority takes up STEM related bachelor’s degrees but of those that don’t we are confident they can face the world with a good grasp of math and science,” she says.

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Chicago Teen Anthony Halmon Earns Full Ride to Cornell & Journey to White House Science Fair

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 12.20.58 PMObama congratulates Anthony Halmon (left) and other students at White House Science Fair. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(The Root) — When President Obama announced the first-ever White House Science Fair back in 2009, he said, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you’ve produced the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”

Nineteen-year-old Chicago native Anthony Halmon was among the 100 students from more than 40 states who received that recognition at a daylong celebration of the power and potential of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at the fourth-annual event on Monday.

But in Halmon’s case, the fair also marked a celebration of what he calls his “transition” — from a life in Chicago that could have gone the way of the worst headlines about the plight of young black men in the city, to participation in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship program, to a handshake from the president and a full ride to Cornell University, where he’ll go in the fall.

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Talented Teen Computer Programmer Seeks Funding for Hacker School

Martha ChumoThe Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields are often devoid of color. The creators of Google: white and male. The creator of Facebook: white and male. The creators of Yahoo: one white male, one Asian-American male. Women of color in STEM are often obscured, unless they’re being terminated for addressing the sexism of fellow conference attendees.

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found blatant sexism in STEM, with less than 20 percent of college-educated women pursuing careers in computer science. Despite the odds, Martha Chumo, a 19-year-old computer programmer from Nairobi, Kenya, is determined to excel in software development. She fell into programming during a summer internship and is smitten with computer science.

“During my internship last summer I got access to a computer on a daily basis. It was pretty much the first time I had a computer all to myself. I started googling how the Internet and computers work,” she writes.

“Soon, learning code became my obsession. In June 2012, I took the little I had saved and bought a computer, installed Ubuntu and quit my internship.

I spent hours practicing at the Nairobi iHub. Online resources combined with the community helped me learn fast and in July I landed a job as a developer with a local Ruby on Rails boutique.

Programming opened an unknown world to me. I was planning on going to medical school, like most top-students in Kenya do. Now I’m taking a year off to explore software development. I’m especially excited about the world of open source software.”

The self-taught programmer has been accepted into Hacker School, a New York-based institute that teaches the tricks of the trade to up-and-coming programmers. It is a competitive program, but Chumo had the chops and earned admission.

Now she needs the funds to attend. Chumo has launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund her trip to Hacker School. She hopes to raise $4,200 to cover the costs of a visa, a round-trip airline ticket and a new laptop.

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Go, Zora! 7-Year-Old Is World’s Youngest Mobile App Game Programmer

Soon, officials from digital game creators EA Sports, Activision and many others may beat a path to the doors of the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School, especially if the school continues to turn our prodigies like first-grader Zora Ball.

Ball has become the youngest individual to create a full version of a mobile application video game, which she unveiled last month in the University of Pennsylvania’s Bodek Lounge during the university’s “Bootstrap Expo.” Seven-year-old Ball has also become a master of the Bootstrap programming language, and when asked, Ball was able to reconfigure her application on the fly using Bootstrap.

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The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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