NNPA Annual Convention Highlights 195 Years of the Black Press with Tributes From Readers, Politicians and Entertainers

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

NEW ORLEANS, LA—The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) kicks off its annual convention in New Orleans this week with a slate of panels aimed at informing and inspiring Black America and increasing voter registration rolls among individuals of color.

The NNPA is a trade association representing the more than 230 African American newspapers and media companies that comprise the Black Press of America.

In celebration of the 195th anniversary of the Black Press of America, the overall theme of the four-day convention is “Amplifying Our Voices for Freedom, Justice, Equality, and Equity.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone, including the hotel staff,” stated Cheryl Smith, an NNPA board member and publisher of Texas Metro News, the Garland Journal, and I Messenger Media.

On June 22 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, the convention begins with board meetings hosted by the NNPA and the NNPA Fund.

A Chairman’s Reception formally starts the convention with greetings and acknowledgments from NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards, NNPA President Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., NNPA Convention Planning Committee Chair Terry Jones, New Orleans Tribune Publisher Beverly McKenna, Louisiana Weekly Publisher Renette Hall, and a proclamation from New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

The reception also will feature acknowledgments from convention partners, sponsors, and other guests.

Video and in-person tributes will include Vice President Kamala Harris, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty, Universal Hip Hop Museum Executive Director Rocky Bucano, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, California Rep. Barbara Lee, and Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland.

Among the expected highlights are panel discussions like “Amplifying Voices of Generation Z and Millennials Through the Black Press of America,” moderated by Mark Thompson, the host of “Make It Plain.”

The panel plans to explore how young African Americans view the importance of the future of the Black Press. Featured panelists include Houston Forward Times On-Air Personality Jonita “Go JJ Go” Buchanan, Media Personality DaNeshia Bell, Videographer Joshua McMillian, The Bridge Publisher Lafayette Barnes, and New Orleans Data Weekly Journalist Melony Mainor.

Dr. Chavis will moderate “The Path to Inclusion is Electric: How GM Is Building an All-Inclusive Workforce to Build an All-Electric Future.”

Melinda Hightower, the managing director, and head of multicultural strategic client segments at UBS Bank, will host the session, “The Black Press on Equity and Wealth Building for Black America.”

Rosetta Miller-Perry, the publisher of the Tennessee Tribune, will join Baltimore Times Editor Paris Brown, Inglewood Today Publisher Ken Miller, and Washington Informer Reporter James Wright for the session.

Attorney Barbara Arnwine, the founder and president of Transformative Justice Coalition (TJC), and Daryl Jones, TJC’s chairman of the board, will host “Black America Get Out the Vote and the Black Press.”

Northern Kentucky University Professor Dr. David Childs will lead Defender Network Managing Editor ReShonda Tate-Billingsley, and Defender Network Social Justice Journalist Aswad Walker in a discussion about “The Black Press and the Antidote to Racism in America.”

The NNPA Fund will present its 2022 Messenger Awards during a dinner on Thursday, June 23.

Dr. John Warren, the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint publisher, plans to provide the invocation, while Mississippi Link Publisher Jackie Hampton will announce scholarship recipients.

NNPA Fund Chair and Wave Communications President & CEO Pluria Marshall Jr. and Fund Treasurer and Times Weekly Publisher Jayme Cain Casimere will present the Messenger Awards to NNPA journalists and publishers.

On Friday, June 24, the NNPA will host its 2022 Lifetime Achievement and Legacy Awards Gala. This year’s honorees include Westside Gazette Publisher Bobby Henry, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Jackson State University Football Coach Deion “Prime” Sanders and recording superstar and actress Stephanie Mills.

With hits like “Home,” “Never Knew Love Like This Before,” and “I Feel Good All Over,” Mills will speak about the importance of the Black Press in her life and perform a medley of her songs.

Source and images: Black Press USA

A Little About Me:
I’m the co-author of Blind Faith: The Miraculous Journey of Lula Hardaway and her son, Stevie Wonder (Simon & Schuster) and Michael Jackson: The Man Behind The Mask, An Insider’s Account of the King of Pop (Select Books Publishing, Inc.) My work can often be found in the Washington Informer, Baltimore Times, Philadelphia Tribune, Pocono Record, the New York Post, and Black Press USA.


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NNPA 2022 | 195 Years

State Legislative Bodies Advance Computer Science and Technology bills for High School Graduation and new Workforce STEM Requirements

NASHVILLE, TN—Tennessee’s General Assembly reconvened January 11, 2022 and on April 14, 2022 the Tennessee Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 2406 (SB 2406) requiring their Department of Education (DOE) to adopt standards for computer science education by the 2023-2024 school year. Under the new bill, by the 2024-2025 school year all high school students in Tennessee would be required to take a full year of computer science education in order to graduate and middle schoolers would have to take at least one computer science course.

CodeCrew Code School helps connect families and young adults in Memphis, TN.
Photo courtesy: CodeCrew Memphis

SB 2406 and its companion bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives, HB 2153, stipulates Tennessee [DOE] will provide in-person and online computer science courses for public school students at no charge by the start of the 2023-24 school year. To this end, DOE would also provide a computer science education professional development program at no cost to educators. Additionally, SB 2406/HB 2153 creates new computer science requirements and stronger academic standards for K-12 students with a requirement Tennessee schools implement these standards beginning in the 2024-25 school year when enacted.

BDPA Alumni and BDPA Memphis Chapter Student Members with (L-R) Bryce Ellis, Naim Hakeem, Kareem Dasilva, Judy Lane, Melaati Jayah, Jada Thorium Mykaila Johnson. Photo: BDPA Memphis

Nebraska Advances High School Computer Science and Technology Bill

Nebraska lawmakers also approved a bill last month to ensure students receive computer science and technology education prior to high school graduation. Introduced by Senator Terrell McKinney of Omaha, LB 1112 would require every public school district in Nebraska to include computer science and technology education within legacy instructional programs of its elementary and middle schools beginning in school year 2024-25.

Nebraska’s students would be required to complete at least one five-credit high school course in computer science and technology prior to graduation. These courses can be provided across traditional in-person classroom settings or blended learning environments.

Upskilling JROTC with STEM Education and Cybersecurity Training for Workforce Pipelines  

JROTC Cadets from Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. attending BDPA-DC’s annual Community Technology Awards. BDPA photo © 2019 by Roy Lewis

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2022, Public Law 117-81, authorized $187.6 million and modifies a grant program supporting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in JROTC to include quantum information sciences. NDAA 2022 also requires the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) to submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate (SASC) and the House of Representatives (HASC) a briefing on the status of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs of each Armed Force. SECDEF’s briefing must include the following:

(1) an assessment of the current usage of the program, including the number of individuals enrolled in the program, the demographic information of individuals enrolled in the program, and the number of units established under the program

(2) a description of the efforts of the Armed Forces to meet current enrollment targets for the program

(3) If applicable, an explanation of the reasons such enrollment targets have not been met
(4) a description of any obstacles preventing the Armed Forces from meeting such enrollment targets

(5) a comparison of the potential benefits and drawbacks of expanding the program; and

(6) a description of program-wide diversity and inclusion recruitment and retention efforts

Tech Industry Certifications Before High School Graduation

In Virginia, the commonwealth’s  Board of Education has approved many exams for the purpose of awarding verified credit, specifically designated as “Student-Selected Verified Credit.” In Fairfax County, just outside of our Nation’s Capital, many  Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses prepare students for industry certification opportunities. Students who desire this professional credential must pass an industry-developed, industry evaluated exam at the end of the CTE course. Earning an industry credential demonstrates professional skill levels students and JROTC cadets have achieved while providing industry-recognized proof that students are prepared for career-related responsibilities or post-secondary education or training.

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) provides a broad range of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) opportunities and academic opportunities that support pathways to STEAM jobs and careers. In Fairfax County, and across the National Capital Region, the greatest job growth continues to come largely from STEAM-related professions.

Sources: Tennessee and Nebraska General Assemblies; FCPS; Code Crews; BDPA Memphis; and BDPA-DC. Cover photo credit: Charlie Perkins, National BDPA. BDPA Southern Minnesota Coding Team shown during National BDPA’s annual High School Computer Competition (HSCC).

FCEDA

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OSTP Policy Statement on the 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON (White House) — “The passage of the bipartisan appropriations bill that is now headed to the President’s desk gives fresh momentum to the urgent science and technology priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration,” said Dr. Alondra Nelson, who is performing the duties of Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). “From the creation of Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H), a new agency to kindle bold research and innovation on cancer and other deadly diseases, to new funding for science at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that advances actionable information on climate change, this spending bill charts a hopeful course to the future.”

Since 1978, BDPA co-hosts regional career fairs and national technology conferences. — BDPA photo

“As our nation emerges from a pandemic that illustrated the life-saving importance of investment in biomedical and public health innovation, we are grateful to see a strong commitment to build on that success,” said OSTP Deputy Director for Health and Life Sciences Dr. Carrie Wolinetz. “Not only does the omnibus include $1 billion in funding and related authorities to stand up President Biden’s proposed ARPA-H, but it provides significant investments in public health infrastructure and workforce, readying us to meet the social and scientific challenges of emerging variants and future biological threats. In addition, as we move forward with our Community Connected Health initiative, which marries telemedicine technology with community-based health delivery, we are delighted to see the critical extension of telehealth flexibilities included in the bill.”

“We are grateful to Congress for providing increases for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Energy, the U.S. Geological Survey, the US Department of Agriculture, and other science and technology agencies,” said OSTP Principal Deputy Director for Policy Kei Koizumi. “It is especially heartening to see NSF receive resources to establish a new directorate to support research for breakthrough technologies, for solutions to our challenges, for strengthening our global economic competitiveness, and to support a diverse and equitable STEM ecosystem across all of America.”

“With increases to the budgets of NOAA, NASA, and NSF, this omnibus will strengthen our efforts to confront the climate crisis with strong funding for climate research and mitigation,” said OSTP Deputy Director for Climate and Environment Dr. Jane Lubchenco. “The science that this bill will support will strengthen our resilience and better enable us to preserve the natural world so heavily impacted by the climate crisis.”

“Increases in funding for the Department of Energy’s game-changing research in clean energy technologies will increase the technology options for meeting our climate goals and increase our energy security” said OSTP Deputy Director for Energy Dr. Sally Benson. “The bill also marks a turning point, accelerating the development of fusion power by providing funding for the Milestone-Based Development Program that supports public-private partnerships to develop practical approaches for making electricity from fusion, the same process that powers the Sun.”


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Virtual Earth Day Tech Summit 2022
April 22-23, 2022

Earth Day Tech Summit
CyberEarth22—Earth Day Tech Summit 2022

P&G Aims to Improve Portrayal of “Black Life” on Screen, Expands Inclusion Efforts for Black Creators

CINCINNATI—The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) today announced the creation of an expansive content creation, talent development and partnership platform that enables and advocates for increased inclusion of Black creators across the advertising, film and television industries. Titled “Widen The Screen,” it will include new films and initiatives that feature more diverse storytellers, combat bias against all people fueled by misrepresentation, increase investment in Black-owned and operated media and employ more diverse creators in a way that improves their trajectory for long-term success.

The anthem film “Widen The Screen” premiered during the 2021 NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, March 27 with a call to action to portray a more holistic view of Black life – one that is layered, beautiful and dynamic – not one that simply reinforces commonly told stereotypes. The film, created and produced by a team of largely Black creators in collaboration with Grey, and narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali, ends with the line “Let’s widen the screen to widen our view” and challenges the expectations viewers have about the characters and stories often played by Black actors – fueled by a limited view of Black Life on screen.

The film and additional content at www.pg.com/widenthescreen helps people learn about how disparities in representation behind the camera lead to misrepresentation of people and communities that fuel bias in real life.

“While we’ve made equality a top priority within P&G and worked with other companies to do the same, we recognize that is just not enough. We have to address the systemic inequalities that exist in our industry, and that’s why ‘Widen The Screen’ is a critically important initiative, not just for P&G, but for the industry,” said Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble. “In stepping up and leveling the playing field for Black creators, we will enable change that will benefit all under-represented groups and result in higher quality, more relevant film, television and advertising content that deepens our appreciation of the richness of our society.”

“It is my hope, through this campaign, to encourage image makers to reveal the fullness of who we are as Black people. We don’t have to be ‘exceptional’ to be respected and valued. Our humanity isn’t dependent upon us being doctors, lawyers, engineers, or famous,” said Kevin Wilson, Jr., Director, Widen the Screen. “Yes, we are those things, but we also take up many spaces in this world and the love we share should be depicted as well. We are more than the brutality we often see in our depictions in television and film. We are the joy we experience with loved ones and the passion we have for one another.”

Widen The Screen is a significant expansion of prior P&G efforts aimed at increasing inclusion and representation of people of color in the advertising industry. Building on this success, Widen the Screen will provide even greater access and opportunity to break into an industry notorious for being difficult to enter, with an immediate focus on Black creators, and runway for future expansion.

Queen Collective, P&G’s signature multicultural talent development initiative returns for its third year in 2021. A partnership with Queen Latifah, Flavor Unit Entertainment and Tribeca Studios, this effort accelerates gender and racial equality behind the camera by opening doors to the next generation of up-and-coming Black women directors through mentorship, production support, and distribution opportunities. Two films were produced in each 2019 and 2020, and P&G is doubling production in 2021, greenlighting four documentary-style productions for women filmmakers.

This summer, P&G is increasing creative output for Black creatives and filmmakers in partnership with UNINTERRUPTED and SATURDAY MORNING, Black-owned creative and production partners, to help the world see their passion, potential and power – and to tell previously untold stories. P&G and UNINTERRUPTED, an athlete empowerment brand within The SpringHill Company built by LeBron James and Maverick Carter with the mission of empowering greatness in every individual, are collaborating on a project that will take viewers on a journey of a father and his son using the power of imagination to explore a range of opportunities beyond athletics. The film and associated community programs are intended to show young Black men that they can follow and achieve their dreams outside of sports, which aligns with UNINTERRUPTED’s “More Than An Athlete” mantra. P&G’s partner for “The Look,” SATURDAY MORNING is a creative agency that brings awareness to and shifts perceptions on racial bias and injustice. With SATURDAY MORNING, Tribeca and dozens of black creatives, P&G is creating scripted stories told in 8 minutes and 46 seconds to tell life-affirming stories of joy, love, and resilience.

P&G also announced support for efforts to increase the number of Black creators entering the industry through programs like the Marcus Graham Project and the One Club for Creativity’s One School Initiative; continued support of critical talent development initiatives like ADCOLOR; and increasing investment in a broad range of Black Owned and Operated companies and media platforms. Widen The Screen also includes important collaborations with a variety of majority-owned advertising agencies and partners, as they too strengthen their efforts to ensure increased representation and inclusion.

“True inclusion leads to greater creativity and innovation, provides access to opportunity, and leads to equity in income and wealth creation. Our hope is that we will create a ripple effect and the rest of the industry will follow suit,” Pritchard added.

Source and photo: Procter & Gamble/Business Wire


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CyberEarth21 A BDPA Virtual Earth Day Tech Summit April 22-24, 2021

Call for “SMART City” presenters or panelists on or before April 10th, 2021. Email us at → events@bdpadc.org or visit → https://www.bdpadc.org/cyberearth/

The Gula Tech Foundation Announces Winners of $1 Million Grant Program

COLUMBIA, MD—Gula Tech Foundation, a nonprofit focused on awarding $1,000,000 in competitive grants to cybersecurity nonprofits several times each year, announced the winners of its initial competitive grant program. This competitive grant focuses on funding nonprofits with the mission to increase African American engagement in cybersecurity.

“We reviewed over a hundred submissions from impressive nonprofits impacting the cybersecurity industry. So many of the nonprofits that submitted are making a noticeable change in the industry and driving our industry forward,” said Ron & Cyndi Gula, Co-founders of The Gula Tech Foundation. “It was difficult to choose, but the three winners truly exemplify the mission, persistence and vision needed to succeed in this environment.”

2021 Winners:

First Place: $500,000

  • Black Cybersecurity Association: BCA creates a multigenerational pipeline of qualified professionals to enter the workplace and has more than 2,000 cybersecurity mentors enabling a variety of programs.

Second Place: $300,000

  • NPower Inc: NPower’s advanced Cybersecurity program is currently offered two times per year starting March or July for 100 students. The program is 14 weeks of full-time virtual classroom training followed by 12 weeks of on-the-job training and professional development through a paid internship in the cybersecurity departments of NPower’s corporate partners.

Third Place: $200,000

  • Girl Security: Girl Security provides multi-disciplinary, equity-informed programming through its “SEA Model,” where girls and young women are Secured, Empowered, and Advanced.

“We are thrilled to be announced as the first place winner of this initial competitive grant program. With a keen focus on creating qualified Black professionals to enter the cybersecurity workforce, this grant will enable us to accelerate this effort to reach 10,000 professionals by 2030,” said Darold Kelly Jr., President & CEO of Black Cybersecurity Association.

The Gula Tech Foundation’s March 2021 grant will support nonprofits that demonstrably raise public awareness about cybersecurity. Public awareness about cybersecurity is part of the Gula’s initiative to expand cybersecurity into the “Data Care” industry.  Applications for a competitive grant open March 22, 2021 and the winners will be announced May 20, 2021 as part of the 2021 RSA Conference.

“RSA Conference is very proud to partner with The Gula Foundation in their efforts to increase understanding of personal responsibility to care for data and, in doing so, positively impact inclusivity and diversity of those who seek out a career in our industry through their ‘Data Care’ grant,” said Britta Glade, Senior Director of Content & Curation for RSA Conference. “The ‘team sport’ vision that a Data Care term implicitly carries with it can help broaden the lens of who feels like our field is a possible career option. The Gula Foundation’s ‘Data Care’ Grant is a great way to move this important effort forward.”

To learn more about the next competitive grant competition, visit: https://www.gula.tech/foundation/.

About Gula Tech Adventures
Founded by cybersecurity entrepreneurs Ron and Cyndi Gula, Gula Tech Adventures invests in companies and nonprofits that help close the gap in needed technology and workforce to defend the country in cyberspace. They work directly with cybersecurity startups, investment funds and nonprofit organizations. Since 2017, the Gula’s have made more than 40 investments in cybersecurity startups like AutomoxCybraryHuntress and Scythe, cybersecurity funds including Inner Loop CapitalDataTribe and Forgepoint Capital, and also supported cybersecurity nonprofits like Defending Digital Campaigns and voting.works.

— Source and images: Gula Tech Foundation

President-elect Biden Announces Key Members of his White House Science Team

These diverse, deeply experienced scientists and experts will play a key role in shaping America’s future — and will prepare us to lead the world in the 21st century and beyond.

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WASHINGTON ― President-elect Joe Biden announced his White House science team — a deeply respected group of diverse and eminently qualified scientists who will marshal the force of science to drive meaningful progress in the lives of people. They will help the Biden-Harris administration confront some of the biggest crises and challenges of our time, from climate change and the impact of technology on society to pandemics, racial inequity and the current historic economic downturn.

The president-elect announced that Dr. Francis Collins will continue in his role as Director of the National Institutes of Health. The president-elect also wrote a letter to Dr. Eric Lander, the Presidential Science Advisor-designate and nominee for Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, tasking him to work broadly and transparently with the diverse scientific leadership of American society and make recommendations on how the Biden-Harris administration can harness the full power of science and technology on behalf of the American people. As a part of this announcement, the president-elect is elevating the role of the Presidential Science Advisor to the Cabinet level for the first time.

President-elect Joe Biden said, “Science will always be at the forefront of my administration — and these world-renowned scientists will ensure everything we do is grounded in science, facts, and the truth. Their trusted guidance will be essential as we come together to end this pandemic, bring our economy back, and pursue new breakthroughs to improve the quality of life of all Americans. Their insights will help America chart a brighter future, and I am grateful they answered the call to serve.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said, “From the coronavirus pandemic to our climate crisis, this past year has reaffirmed the importance of listening to scientists when it comes to meeting the unprecedented challenges facing the American people. These world-renowned scientists and experts reflect the very best of our nation and we are sending a clear message by naming them to these important roles: in our administration, decisions will be informed by the best available science and evidence.”

The science team includes:

Dr. Eric Lander
  • Dr. Eric Lander will be nominated as Director of the OSTP and serve as the Presidential Science Advisor. The president-elect is elevating the role of science within the White House, including by designating the Presidential Science Advisor as a member of the Cabinet for the first time in history. One of the country’s leading scientists, Dr. Lander was a principal leader of the Human Genome Project and has been a pioneer in the field of genomic medicine. He is the founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, one of the nation’s leading research institutes. During the Obama-Biden administration, he served as external Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Dr. Lander will be the first life scientist to serve as Presidential Science Advisor.
  • Dr. Alondra Nelson will serve as OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society. A distinguished scholar of science, technology, social inequality, and race, Dr. Nelson is president of the Social Science Research Council, an independent, nonprofit organization linking social science research to practice and policy. She is also a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, one of the nation’s most distinguished research institutes, located in Princeton, NJ.
  • Dr. Frances H. Arnold and Dr. Maria Zuber will serve as the external Co-Chairs of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). An expert in protein engineering, Dr. Arnold is the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Dr. Zuber, an expert in geophysics and planetary science, is the first woman to lead a NASA spacecraft mission and has chaired the National Science Board. They are the first women to serve as co-chairs of PCAST.
  • Dr. Francis Collins will continue serving in his role as Director of the National Institutes of Health.
  • Kei Koizumi will serve as OSTP Chief of Staff and is one of the nation’s leading experts on the federal science budget.
  • Narda Jones, who will serve as OSTP Legislative Affairs Director, was Senior Technology Policy Advisor and Counsel for the Democratic staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

The following announcements for the new White House science teams were made by the transition team this week.

Eric S. Lander, Ph.D., OSTP Director and Presidential Science Advisor

Eric Lander is one of the leading and most highly cited scientists in the country, and was one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project. He played a pioneering role in the reading, understanding, and medical application of the human genome — including developing powerful methods for discovering the molecular basis of human diseases.

Lander is president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, one of the leading non-profit biomedical research institutes in the world, which brings together biologists, clinicians, chemists, engineers, mathematicians, software engineers and computational scientists to propel the understanding and treatment of diseases — and which, since March 2020, has also been a major COVID-19 viral testing lab, processing about 1 in every 30 COVID-19 tests nationwide in recent months and focusing on the needs of public and non-profit settings.

Lander served as co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) during the Obama-Biden administration. He served as a member of the Defense Innovation Board, advising the Secretary of Defense on matters related to technological and organizational innovation. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine, and has received many awards, including the MacArthur Fellowship and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. He was appointed to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences by Pope Francis in 2020. Lander is also Professor of Biology, MIT and Professor of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School. He received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his DPhil from the University of Oxford.

Alondra Nelson, Ph.D., OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society

Alondra Nelson, President of the Social Science Research Council and Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, is an acclaimed researcher and author who explores questions of science, technology, and social inequality.

Nelson serves on the Board of Trustees of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Russell Sage Foundation, and on the Board of Directors of the Teagle Foundation and the Data & Society Research Institute.

Nelson is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Medicine. Nelson received her B.A. from the University of California, San Diego, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her Ph.D. from New York University in 2003. She lives in New York City with her husband and stepson.

Frances H. Arnold, Ph.D., Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology 

Frances Arnold, Ph.D. is the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry and Director of the Rosen Bioengineering Center at the California Institute of Technology. Arnold is the first American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2018). Active in technology transfer, Arnold co-founded three biotechnology companies in sustainable chemistry and agriculture and has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Arnold is a Director of Illumina and Alphabet. Arnold received the Charles Stark Draper Prize of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama. Arnold was the first woman to be elected to all three National Academies (of Science, Medicine, and Engineering); she was appointed to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences by Pope Francis in 2019. Arnold received her B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Maria Zuber, Ph.D., Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology 

Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research and E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics, is responsible for research administration and policy. She oversees MIT Lincoln Laboratory and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research laboratories and centers. She leads MIT’s Climate Action Plan. Zuber has held leadership roles associated with scientific experiments or instrumentation on ten NASA missions, notably serving as principal investigator of the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission.

Zuber is the first woman to lead a science department at MIT and the first to lead a NASA planetary mission. She has won numerous honors, including membership in the National Academy of Sciences and American Philosophical Society, and fellowship in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, President Obama appointed Zuber to the National Science Board, and in 2018 she was reappointed by President Trump; she served as board chair from 2016 to 2018. Zuber earned a B.A. in astronomy and geology from the University of Pennsylvania and an Sc.M. and Ph.D. in geophysics from Brown University.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., will continue in his role as Director of the National Institutes of Health. He was appointed the 16th Director of the NIH by President Barack Obama, confirmed by the Senate, and sworn in on August 17, 2009. On June 6, 2017, President Donald Trump selected Collins to continue to serve as the NIH Director. Collins oversees the world’s largest supporter of biomedical research, spanning basic to clinical research. He plays a pivotal role in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collins is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project, which culminated in April 2003 with a mapping of all the genes of the human genome. He served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH from 1993-2008.

Collins is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2007, and received the National Medal of Science in 2009. In 2020, he was elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (UK) and was named the 50th winner of the Templeton Prize.

Kei Koizumi, OSTP Chief of Staff

Kei Koizumi (he/him) is the Lead for the National Science Foundation Agency Review team and a member of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Agency Review team on the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to the Transition, he was Senior Advisor for Science Policy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In the Obama-Biden administration, Mr. Koizumi was Assistant Director for Federal Research & Development and Senior Advisor to the National Science and Technology Council at OSTP. He was also the OSTP representative to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Previously, he was previously the Director of the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he is from Columbus, Ohio, and now lives in Washington, D.C. with his husband Jeffrey Dutton, who is currently serving overseas with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service. Mr. Koizumi is a graduate of Boston University and George Washington University.

Narda Jones, OSTP Legislative Affairs Director 

Narda Jones most recently served as the Senior Technology Policy Advisor for the Democratic staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. She started working in the United States Senate in 2014 after spending over a decade in senior roles at the Federal Communications Commission.

Previously, Ms. Jones worked at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office. She was also part of the inaugural class of the AmeriCorps Legal Fellowship program and spent her fellowship time aiding homeless families secure housing and public benefits in St. Paul, Minnesota. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Ms. Jones is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Brooklyn Law School.

Source and photo: Biden-Harris Transition

Fairfax County Economic Development Authority  

Select here to register for this month’s Cyber + Cloud Virtual Career Fair

Thursday, January 28, 2021  1:00 PM to 4:00 PM  

CES 2021 Opens with Innovation and Technologies for a Better Future

ARLINGTON, VA—The first-ever, all-digital CES® 2021, owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, opened its full digital experience to audiences around the world. Following a day of exclusive, media-only press conferences and a keynote from Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg on Jan. 11, this transformational event provides audiences with a front row seat to the innovation and technologies that will move the world forward. CES 2021 will feature more than 1900 exhibitors representing the entire tech spectrum and more than 100 conference sessions will showcase industry leaders who will share visions for a better future. General Motors (GM) Chairman and CEO Mary Barra will present the official opening keynote address at 9 AM EST on Jan. 12, where she’ll share GM’s transformational strategy to advance mobility.

CES 2021 attendees will experience a highly personalized show where they can see the latest product launches, hear insights from global visionaries, engage with global brands and startups, chat and meet with attendees from around the globe and receive recommendations based on personal preferences. In addition, a live anchor desk will serve as a “home base” to guide audiences through the digital experience.

“The pandemic forced us to take a step back from a traditional CES, throw out the playbook and transform how we’d bring the tech community together,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “CES looks different this year, but the foundation of the show – innovation, connection, collaboration – remains strong and consistent. The digital transformation will continue for years, even as we return to Las Vegas in 2022. We have seen the value of connecting digitally and we can welcome even more people from around the world.”

CES 2021 innovations and products will span the tech industry, from automotive to digital health, 5G, smart cities and beyond. On Jan. 11, the world’s media had exclusive access to nearly 20 press conferences from global brands. Media Day provided a sneak peek at the expected themes and trends for CES 2021, including a smarter home that creates a home, office and workout space; sustainable products for a longer, safer future; and innovations in transportation and mobility.

“Media Day offered an exciting preview for what’s to come at CES 2021, yet only scratched the surface of this groundbreaking CES experience,” said Karen Chupka, EVP, CES, CTA. “Audiences across the globe, many for the first time, will participate in a true broadcast event this week. With more than 100 conference sessions, including special entertainment events, attendees will hear the latest topics impacting the industry. They’ll also interact directly with exhibitors and fellow CES attendees, forming business connections for the future.”

Following Media Day, Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg delivered a keynote focused on 5G. Vestberg shared how the essential qualities of Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network have come to life. These qualities include unparalleled upload and download speeds, enormous capacity and ultra-low lag, supporting more connected devices and mobile connection, and providing faster, more responsive service deployment and a new standard for energy efficiency and reliability. Verizon shared updates on the various projects and partnerships enabled by 5G Ultra Wideband, including the Verizon 5G Super Stadium Experience in the NFL app and the transformation of watching and experiencing sports; expanding the museum experience with 5G and an immersive art experiences with the Metropolitan Museum of Art; partnership with UPS and Skyward to support a nationwide drone delivery network; and deployment of 15 Live Nation venues enabled by 5G Ultra Wideband. Also, Verizon provided audiences with an immersive 5G-enabled entertainment experience from the Black Pumas.

Media Day featured a full day of press conferences from top exhibitors who broke news to a media-only audience, just as they would in Las Vegas. Media heard the latest breaking news, product launches and technology trends as a preview to the exhibitor showcase opening. 

  • Bosch: Showcased commitments to sustainability as the first global industrial enterprise to become carbon neutral and introduced an AI-enabled wearable fitness tracker that recognizes and records any type of fitness activity that is based on repetitive, cyclative patterns.
  • Canon: Provided a sneak peek of Canon’s plans for the all-digital CES beyond cameras and printers, including redefining viewing the planet, skateboarding and tackling food waste
  • Caterpillar: Shared the first application of command for Caterpillar’s autonomous mining trucks and groundbreaking technology in the most challenging conditions.
  • Hisense: Announced the 2021 TriChroma Laser TV line.
  • Indy Autonomous Challenge: Unveiled the world’s first autonomous racecar, to be used in the Indy Autonomous Challenge where 500+ university students are developing the technology to drive the racecar and win the competition for a $1.5 million prize.
  • Intel/Mobileye: Shared news around the future of mobility for Mobileye, including plans to open deployment centers in Shanghai, Tokyo, Paris and Detroit, and use house-built lidar sensors.
  • Kohler: Introduced a ceiling mount kitchen faucet with simple touch control; Kohler whole home water monitor that mounts underneath the cabinets, in partnership with Phyn; new Innate intelligent toilet; touchless bathroom faucets; freestanding soaking bath.
  • LG Electronics: Announced next generation of LG PuriCare™ line for high-quality air management solutions; reimagined side-by-side refrigerator, including a wider window, premium interior look and Craft Ice feature; WashTower™ with convenient controls, built in intelligence and advanced cleaning; 2021 OLED evo TV lineup and QNED MiniLED TVs; CLOi UV-C Robot for disinfection; ThinQ App will transform into an open platform for lifestyle innovation.
  • Magna International: Launched a joint venture with LG Electronics to manufacture e-motors, inverters and on board chargers and related e-drive systems for certain automakers, to support the growing global shift towards vehicle electrification.
  • Mercedes-Benz: Showcased the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) Hyperscreen, which uses AI to offer a seamless driver and passenger experience.
  • OMRON Healthcare: Announced VitalSight – first remote patient monitoring service designed specifically for hypertension management. 
  • Panasonic: Announced technology partnership with Illuminarium Experiences to bring the new 360-degree immersive entertainment centers to life; launched newest OLED TV JZ2000; new Technics wireless headphones will launch later this year.
  • Philips: Discussed the Philips vision and experience in the consumer and professional health tech space and announced the Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige that is backed by SenseIQ technology and artificial intelligence to intuitively adjust to the need of the user. 
  • Samsung Electronics: Announced 4-Door Flex Bespoke refrigerator that can be customized for any kitchen; JetBot 90 AI+ uses object recognition technology and sensors to identify and classify objects and decide the best cleaning path; Eco-packaging will be used for all TV products; Galaxy Upcycling at Home program where users can decide how to repurpose the Galaxy as other convenient home devices.
  • Schneider Electric: Showcased Square D Energy Center, first-ever Square D connected light switches (X & XD range series) and Acti9 Active product, which together deliver a unique end-to-end energy management solution for homes in response to sustainability, resiliency, efficiency and personalization.
  • Skyworth: Presented 2021 TV line up for North America – five series of TVs comprised of 16 different models.
  • Sony: Introduced Airpeak, which integrates AI and robotics to enable creators to explore new heights for photo and video; shared preview of a new, immersive reality concert performance from Madison Beer to demonstrate the music showcase that will be available on Sony PlayStation VR, mobile devices, music video streaming platforms and more.
  • Taiwan Tech Arena: Previewed some of the 100 startup teams from Taiwan Tech Arena that will unveil innovation at CES 2021. Startups are divided into Smart Living, Tech for Good, Cybersecurity & Cloud Solutions, Healthcare & Wellness and Mobility Tech.
  • TCL: Announced OD Zero™ Mini-LED technology that provides viewers with a more realistic and sharper picture and allows for an ultra-thin TV profile; TCL’s first-ever Google TV; NXTPAPER tablet, TAB10s, MOVEAUDIO S600 wireless headphones, MOVETRACK Pet tracker and TCL 20 Series phones, with the 5G and SE phones available this month.

CTA’s Steve Koenig and Lesley Rohrbaugh presented 2021 Tech Trends to Watch during Media Day and gave an exclusive preview of the U.S. Consumer Technology One-Year Industry Forecast. They shared the retail sales revenue for the technology industry will reach $461 billion in the U.S. in 2021 – a 4.3% increase year-over-year. And as millions of Americans remain home and rely on tech to stay entertained, connected and healthy during the pandemic, streaming services, 5G connectivity and digital health devices will stand out in the tech sector in 2021. For more, visit CTA.tech/forecasts.

CES 2021 is taking place Jan. 11-14. 

  • Jan. 12-13: Exhibitor showcase and conference programming. 
  • Jan. 14: CES Partner Programming.
  • Access the digital venue and on demand content through Feb. 15, 2021. 

Visit the digital venue to explore CES 2021 and get live updates from the show –including keynotes, conference sessions, product announcements and show floor coverage. bt

— Source: Consumer Technology Association (CTA®)


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Fairfax County Economic Development Authority  

Select here to register  for this month’s Cyber + Cloud Virtual Career Fair.

Thursday, January 28, 2021  1:00 PM to 4:00 PM  ET

Over twenty leading technology companies and BDPA mission-partners including MicrosoftAmazon Web Services (AWS)DocuSignBAE SystemsHewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and more will be in attendance and hiring for over 5,000 combined positions. Tech professionals of all experience levels and from all locations are welcome to attend. Although BDPA Members or candidates with active security clearances are in very high demand, an active security clearance is not required to register nor attend this event.  All are welcomed,  register today.




Nasdaq to Advance Diversity through New Proposed Listing Requirements

NEW YORK— Nasdaq today filed a proposal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to adopt new listing rules related to board diversity and disclosure. If approved by the SEC, the new listing rules would require all companies listed on Nasdaq’s U.S. exchange to publicly disclose consistent, transparent diversity statistics regarding their board of directors. Additionally, the rules would require most Nasdaq-listed companies to have, or explain why they do not have, at least two diverse directors, including one who self-identifies as female and one who self-identifies as either an underrepresented minority1 or LGBTQ+. Foreign companies and smaller reporting companies would have additional flexibility in satisfying this requirement with two female directors.

The goal of the proposal is to provide stakeholders with a better understanding of the company’s current board composition and enhance investor confidence that all listed companies are considering diversity in the context of selecting directors, either by including at least two diverse directors on their boards or by explaining their rationale for not meeting that objective. As part of rationale for the new requirements, Nasdaq’s proposal presents an analysis of over two dozen studies that found an association between diverse boards and better financial performance and corporate governance.

Under the proposal, all Nasdaq-listed companies will be required to publicly disclose board-level diversity statistics through Nasdaq’s proposed disclosure framework within one year of the SEC’s approval of the listing rule. The timeframe to meet the minimum board composition expectations set forth in the proposal will be based on a company’s listing tier. Specifically, all companies will be expected to have one diverse director within two years of the SEC’s approval of the listing rule. Companies listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and Nasdaq Global Market will be expected to have two diverse directors within four years of the SEC’s approval of the listing rule. Companies listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market will be expected to have two diverse directors within five years of the SEC’s approval. For companies that are not in a position to meet the board composition objectives within the required timeframes, they will not be subject to delisting if they provide a public explanation of their reasons for not meeting the objectives.

“Nasdaq’s purpose is to champion inclusive growth and prosperity to power stronger economies,” said Adena Friedman, President and CEO, Nasdaq. “Our goal with this proposal is to provide a transparent framework for Nasdaq-listed companies to present their board composition and diversity philosophy effectively to all stakeholders; we believe this listing rule is one step in a broader journey to achieve inclusive representation across corporate America.”​

Nasdaq will also introduce a partnership with Equilar, the leading provider of corporate leadership data solutions, to aid Nasdaq-listed companies with board composition planning challenges. Through the Equilar BoardEdge platform, hosting nearly one million profiles and the Equilar Diversity Network, and by leveraging existing services through the Nasdaq Center for Board Excellence, the partnership will enable Nasdaq-listed companies that have not yet met the proposed diversity objectives to access a larger community of highly-qualified, diverse, board-ready candidates to amplify director search efforts.

“This proposal and partnership gives companies an opportunity to make progress toward increasing representation of women, underrepresented minorities and the LGBTQ+ community on their boards,” said Nelson Griggs, President of Nasdaq Stock Exchange. “Corporate diversity, at all levels, opens up a clear path to innovation and growth. We are inspired by the support from our issuers and the financial community with this effort and look forward to working together with companies of all sizes to create stronger and more inclusive boards.”

Through this proposal and other corporate initiatives, Nasdaq seeks to make a positive impact in the global community by leveraging the scale of its operations and client network. In September, Nasdaq announced the launch of its Purpose Initiative, designed to champion inclusive growth and prosperity for all stakeholders. This effort will include the relaunched Nasdaq Foundation and initiatives through the company’s employee volunteerism and philanthropic programs and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center.

Stakeholder Endorsements:

“Successful companies must cultivate diversity to fuel innovation and to thrive in today’s era of ongoing environmental, social and economic change. The technology industry is committed to promoting inclusivity at all levels to ensure that our economy remains robust and innovative. We support Nasdaq’s proposal to advance diversity throughout corporate America.” – Linda Moore, President & CEO, TechNet

“By pushing its listed companies to address racial and gender equity in corporate boards, Nasdaq is heeding the call of the moment. Incremental change and window-dressing isn’t going to cut it anymore as consumers, stakeholders and the government increasingly hold corporate America’s feet to the fire. Nasdaq’s efforts to prod and push its listed companies is a welcomed and necessary first step. With increased representation of people of color, women and LGBTQ people on corporate boards, corporations will have to take actionable steps to ensure underrepresented communities have a seat at the table.” – Anthony Romero, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union

“Diversity of experience, gender, race, knowledge, and perspective means that a company is more capable of seeing the full picture, assessing risk and overcoming challenges with forward-looking, innovative solutions.” – Michael Splinter, Chairman, Nasdaq

“When we embrace diversity, we are better equipped to serve our clients, employees, partners, communities and shareholders.” – Charlene Begley, Director, Nasdaq

“Nasdaq’s diversity proposal marks a transformative moment in a larger movement toward greater representation of women and people of color in the boardroom and beyond.” – Alfred Zollar, Director, Nasdaq

1 – An “underrepresented minority” is an individual who self-identifies in one or more of the following groups: Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Asian, Native American or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander or Two or More Races or Ethnicities.

About Nasdaq:

Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence. To learn more about the company, technology solutions and career opportunities, visit NASDAQ on LinkedIn, on Twitter @Nasdaq, or at www.nasdaq.com.

— Source: NASDAQ (Globe Newswire)

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Vivian C. Wilson, National BDPA Matriarch and Past President, Passes Away at 77

From the Office of Earl A. Pace, Jr.National BDPA Co-Founder

It was with great sorrow that I received notice of the death of Vivian. Vivian was an incredibly special lady! I met Vivian through our membership in Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), an organization created, in 1975, to prepare African American and other minority youth for careers in Information Technology and to affect the upward mobility of African Americans and other minorities already in the IT industry.

Vivian C. Wilson, National BDPA
Vivian C. Wilson

Vivian made an impact almost immediately upon joining BDPA and rose quickly to delivering that impact to the national level of the organization. In 1986, she received the first “Board of Directors National Outstanding Member of the Year”. Vivian was elected National Vice-President in 1987 and elevated to National President, by election, in 1989.

There have been 18 National Presidents of BDPA, eight have been women of color. Vivian was the 4th BDPA National President and the first female National President. Of all the past Presidents, I believe Vivian had the greatest impact on the organization! She had a way of making every member she met, her friend and part of the BDPA family. She introduced the “BDPA hug” that continues to be demonstrated to this day by the membership! The greatest increase in admitted BDPA Chapters occurred under Vivian’s presidency! She was organized and a true professional. After her 2 terms as president, Vivian and her developed team continued to contribute to BDPA by successfully organizing and conducting the organization’s Annual National Conferences until 1996.

Although not active in BDPA the past several years, there is no doubt that Vivian loved the organization and its objectives. It is also true that BDPA loved Vivian. ― bt

Cover photo courtesy National BDPA (L-R):
Denise Holland, Gina Billings, Milt Haines, George Williams, Diane Davis, Vivian Wilson, Norman Mays, and Earl A. Pace, Jr.

Vivian C. Wilson in Memoriam

STEM NOLA Receives Nearly $3M Department of Defense Grant to Expand STEM Education

Multimillion Dollar Grant Will Extend STEM Programs to U.S. Military Families, Low Income Students of Color And Underrepresented Communities

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ ― STEM NOLA has received a $2.79 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to expand its educational workshops and access across the Gulf South, serving military-connected families. STEM NOLA’s largest award to date is a part of the highly competitive National Defense Education Program Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics awards, which granted a total of 12 awards this year, totaling $31 million over a three-year period.

“We are exceedingly grateful and incredibly proud to partner with the U.S Department of Defense in addressing some of the most urgent educational needs among military families and underrepresented communities,” says STEM NOLA CEO Calvin Mackie. “This grant is life-changing. It will continue the great momentum we’ve created this year by immediately shifting our STEM programs and afterschool activities to a virtual platform.”

The multimillion dollar grant will strengthen STEM NOLA’s innovative STEM ecosystem created to build confidence, skills and performance in STEM-related subjects and fields such as the power of wind, friction, rockets and robotics. It will continue STEM NOLA’s mission of engaging, inspiring and empowering young people and students of color through STEM-activities while providing awareness of the DOD’s STEM career opportunities.

In 2018, Mackie was selected by Gov. John Bel Edwards to serve as one of three leading Louisiana advocates of STEM preparation to represent Louisiana at the inaugural State-Federal Science Technology Engineering and Math Summit to be hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington, D.C. In 2017, Gov. Edwards appointed Mackie to the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Advisory Council. The council coordinates and oversees STEM education programs, to increase student interest and achievement in the fields of STEM; to ensure the alignment of education and workforce needs; and to increase the number of women who graduate from a postsecondary institution with a STEM degree or credential.

Mackie has won numerous awards including the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. He received the 2019 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Board’s Chair (CBCF) Phoenix Award. The Phoenix Award is the highest honor presented by CBCF. It recognizes individuals whose extraordinary achievements strengthen communities and improve the lives of individuals and families, nationally and globally.

About STEM NOLA
Founded by New Orleans native and former tenured Tulane Engineering professor, Dr. Calvin Mackie, STEM NOLA is dedicated to exposing, inspiring and engaging communities in learning opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The award-winning programming designs and delivers activities, programs and events, with a focus on underserved communities. The non-profit organization is dedicated to developing future Innovators, Creators and Entrepreneurs through the exposure to 21st Century skills of Communication, Collaboration and Critical Thinking. Since 2014, STEM NOLA has engaged over 40,000 students – mostly under-served students of color – in hands-on STEM project-based learning.

Source and photos: STEM NOLA

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