On the heels of President Barack Obama’s “Computer Science for All” initiative launched earlier this year, the Washington, D.C. Metro HBCU Alumni Alliance (DCHBCUAA), Inc. announced a partnership with Project Stem 2016 to participate in the 2016 HBCU Science and Engineering Pavilion. The Pavilion will be part of an overall promotional partnership with the USA Science and Engineering Festival.
Taking place from April 14-April 17 in Washington, D.C., the festival is the largest and only national science and engineering festival in the United States. And if the activities at last years festival were any indicator of success, science enthusiasts are in for a treat again this year.
The festival is designed around the theme of getting young people and even older people who are young at heart interested in science. The whole D.C. Convention Center will be turned into a laboratory designed for excitement. Last year, there were experiments of all kinds; the U.S. Air Force brought simulators in; there were drones flying around in the air; NASA brought some of their astronauts and space vehicles; and Walmart brought in a brand new computer operated transportation truck that was an 18-wheeler and looked like a spaceship on wheels. It was nice to see the joy on the kids faces and be able to relate that science is more than what you get in the classroom, Joel Harris, founder, Project STEM 2016, told TNJ.com in a recent interview.
Last year, a record 300,000 people attended the event over a 3-day period and Harris is glad Project STEM can be a part of it.
At Project Stem, we support HBCUs in the STEM fields. We know that moving forward, our young people will have to get on, what I call, the STEM train to be able to have a future in this country because everything now is STEM related; we have to find ways to encourage our young people to take it seriously and get involved with STEM education and STEM careers, shares Harris.
For the Alliances part, it was formed to create a central point to reach out and touch HBCUs and alumni, says Harris.
Our work is never done alone; we collaborate with several organizations as we work toward a common goal. Because we believe there is strength in numbers, we leverage relationships and collaborate with like-minded organizations such as Project STEM 2016 because we know it is one of the most powerful and productive investments we can make, said Jamie Tettey, Hampton University alumnae and DCHBCUAA president, in a recent statement.
About aligning with HBCUs, Harris told TNJ.com, We have found that the majority of African American people in the STEM fields have attended HBCUs, which are very nurturing environments for students to get degrees. So we, at Project Stem, talked to the Alliance, which exists to represent all HBCUs. They understand what we are doing at the festival; in addition to all of the activities, we are doing an awards program to highlight African Americans in the STEM fields. We look forward to celebrating Black professionals who have been at it for a long time but have not been acknowledged by the marketplace or the media. African Americans have jobs in all aspects of STEM, so we are there to celebrate that also.
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