21st Black Families Technology Awareness Day Will Be All-Virtual International Event

February 11, 2021

21st Black Families Technology Awareness Day Will Be All-Virtual International Event

Interactive program at Rensselaer for underrepresented students to be held February 20

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will host its 21st Black Families Technology Awareness Day on Saturday, February 20. For the first time, the event will be held entirely virtually and will be open to K-12 students around the globe.

The free program is designed to expose talented young people, as well as their families and educators, to educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — often referred to as STEM fields. This year’s theme is “STEM: Solving Life's Problems."

Unlike past years, when the event was held on the Rensselaer campus, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has required the day’s activities to be reimagined for a virtual audience. This has also presented the opportunity to expand the audience by opening registration up to an international audience. Participants have already registered from foreign countries, including Jamaica, Nigeria, and India, as well as more than 20 states, including Texas, California, and Florida.

“Providing the next generation with a solid foundation in STEM is necessary for the development of solutions to the global challenges we face,” said Jonathan Wexler, the vice president of enrollment management at Rensselaer and one of the co-chairs of the event. “Our goal for this event is to spark interest and engagement that lasts a lifetime.”

“We have assembled an excellent program for our first virtual Black Families Technology Awareness Day,” said fellow co-chair Lee McElroy, the associate vice president and director of athletics at Rensselaer. “We will offer workshops that inspire participants to become creators and inventors, and we will showcase outstanding Rensselaer students and faculty, who will provide insights into the lives of scientists and engineers.”

The program will be held from noon to 4 p.m. EST. Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, a National Medal of Science recipient, will provide opening remarks. Additionally, U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko and Troy Mayor Patrick Madden will both serve as guest speakers.

This year, workshop topics include “How Engineers Are Saving Turtles,” “How the Electric Grid Powers Your Home,” “Journey to a STEM Career,” and a “Wind Turbine Workshop.”

More information and updates can be found on the event website. Members of the media who plan to attend the event remotely 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 www.rpi.edu.