Rensselaer To Host 20th Black Families Technology Awareness Day on February 22

February 19, 2020

Rensselaer To Host 20th Black Families Technology Awareness Day on February 22

Interactive program motivates underrepresented students to pursue careers in STEM fields

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will host its 20th Black Families Technology Awareness Day on Saturday, February 22.

The program is designed to expose talented middle school students in grades 6-8, as well as their families and educators, to educational and career opportunities in what are often referred to as the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – as well as the arts.

The event is free for all attendees. It will be held on the Rensselaer campus from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Student participants were nominated to attend the event by school counselors, community-based organizations, churches, or other mentors.

“Our goal this year is to highlight how STEM is critical to finding solutions to all of life’s problems,” said Jonathan Wexler, the vice president of enrollment management at Rensselaer and one of the co-chairs of the event.

“We will do this in a number of ways,” said fellow co-chair Lee McElroy, the associate vice president and director of athletics at Rensselaer. “We will offer hands-on design workshops that will inspire participants to become creators and inventors, and we will showcase the outstanding Rensselaer students and faculty so that participants will gain a basic understanding of the lives of scientists and engineers.”

The program will kick off with breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and an opening ceremony in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC). Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson will provide opening remarks, and Congressman Paul Tonko will serve as the guest speaker. Immediately following the ceremony, participants will attend two workshop sessions, and the program will culminate with lunch.

This year, workshop topics include building electric cars, how to create the best paper airplanes, and others. Attendees will also have the opportunity to learn more about the lives of scientists and engineers, preparing for college, and STEM careers.

More information and updates can be found on the event website. Members of the media who plan to attend the event should contact Rensselaer media relations in advance.


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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit