On December 1, 2016, my sister Taylore and I had the honor of attending the 3rd Annual MIE (Minorities in Energy Forum as STEM Ambassadors and Cyberjournalists representing my local HUD STEM Innovation Network in Hampton and the Global NetGeneration of Youth Community founded by Dr. Ronnie Lowenstein.
Congressmen - Engineers - Scientists, - Rappers, - NBA Stars-Entrepreneurs. Those were just a few of the Energy Champions and Ambassadors convened and honored on December 2016 Minorities in Energy Year III Forum by the United States Department of Energy. While their own backgrounds were quite diverse, the influential attendees shared a common conviction, the importance of diversifying the field of Energy, and a common passion, to serve as advocates of that diversity in the Energy Ecosystem.
What do a Hip Hop Artist, a NBA player, a University President, and a Congressman have in common? STEM of course! Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics–STEM is the fuel that drives U.S. competitiveness by inspiring innovation and fostering creativity. It also holds the key to our country’s future economic prosperity.
Since 2013, I have dutifully assisted with STEM Education and career initiatives in underserved communities through organizations such as THE HUD STEM Innovation Network led by Mr. Jerryl Bennett and 360 Cradle to Careers, led by Mrs. Faith Linton, even at times working in collaboration with the United States Military Academy. Collectively, these organizations have provided STEM-themed educational and leadership opportunities to hundreds of students across the country, including those in my hometown of Hampton, Virginia.
My sister, Tenderly Diaz, gets a lot of opportunities as a STEM Champion working with the HUD STEM Innovation Network, such as travelling from our home in Hampton, Virginia to our state capitol, Richmond, or to Indiana or Georgia. Because I would like to travel and meet new people, I decided to follow in her footsteps.
On Friday January 13, 2017, as ASTRA's Futurist, I traveled to NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. to join Shades of Blue Founder and CEO, Captain Willie Daniels, and a Shades of Blue Chapter Board Member from DCMD, Mr. Marvin Richardson, to honor the STEM Education Legacy of the 12th NASA Administrator and former Astronaut (ret), Major-General Charles F. Bolden, with A Shades of Blue Community Outreach Award and a Shades of Blue Astronaut Reunion Commemorative Patch. It was a wonderful gathering of leaders who each possesses a deep commitment to cultivating America’s Innovation Capacity on Earth and in Space.
As Dr Ronnie Lowenstein Reflects on the Future in 2017, she invites STEM Stakeholders to Partner with ASTRA to Build a Culture of Innovation and Shape the Future. Words of Wisdom Interview captured at the 2016 Women of Color in STEM Conference in Detroit.
The National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA) honored ASTRA Senior Advisor and Futurist, Dr. Ronnie Lowenstein, with the 2016 NAMEPA Wings to Succeed Award at its 37th Annual National Conference celebrating, ‘100 Shades of Diversity’ at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The award was presented by Mrs. Virginia Womack, Executive Director of NAMEPA to Dr. Lowenstein in recognition of her lifelong commitment to future-focused equity programs that foster the innovation capacity of America.
Under the leadership of ASTRA’s Advisor and Futurist, Dr. Ronnie Lowenstein, three hundred Global NetGeneration of Youth STEM Ambassadors travelled to the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. on April 12th to serve as inquiring Cyberjournalists at the 21st annual Congressional Visits Day STEM on the HillTM Reception convened by the Science-Engineering -Technology Working Group (www.setcvd.org) and co-chaired by ASTRA and IEEE.
ASTRA's Executive Director, Dr. Robert Boege and Senior Advisor & Futurist Dr. Ronnie Lowenstein were invited to join 100 other STEM Trailblazers for a dynamic day-long Round Table and Policy Forum to address issues of attracting, retaining, and advancing women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) on March 29th.