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.
Last year, India had the most graduates of any country worldwide with 78.0 million while China followed close behind with 77.7 million. The U.S. is now in third place with 67.4 million graduates, and the gap behind the top two countries is widening.
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.
As a recently appointed Ambassador to the Minorities of Energy initiative, I was delighted to be invited by the Director of The Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, Dr. LaDoris Harris, to attend an official launch of Girls of Energy on December 9th 2016 at Excel Academy, the first all-girls charter school in Washington DC. This e-learning initiative has been designed to ignite curiosity and engage young minds across the globe by spotlighting exceptional women who are conquering today’s energy challenges and creating tomorrow’s technology solutions.