It was my great pleasure to be invited by Dr. Ronnie Lowenstein, ASTRA’s Advisor and Futurist, to participate in the “STEM on the Hill” reception on April 2, 2019 in the Russell Office Building, co-hosted by The Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America. I was delighted to attend because, like ASTRA and its partners, I recognize the prescient words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who just four days before his assassination in 1968, described “a triple revolution,” one of which was “… a technological revolution, with the impact of automation and cybernation….”(“Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” March 31, 1968, http://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/). Those words reinforce our current need to identify issue areas, innovative policies and organizational processes to help secure Dr. King’s visions of a cybernation.
ASTRA is pleased to announce that recently-resigned ASTRA Vice-Chairman Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Wednesday night to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Droegemeier will be the White House’s top science and technology adviser, filling a critical administration role that had been vacant for nearly two years under President Trump. The position guides federal research spending and informs the government’s policies in areas such as artificial intelligence, climate change, precision medicine and online privacy.
Recently, I was honored to be invited by Dr. Robert Boege, Executive Director of ASTRA to join ASTRA’s Futurist Dr. Ronnie Lowenstein, and serve as a NetGeneration of Youth Cyberjournalist covering a Congressional Briefing held in the Rayburn House Office Building on October 11, 2018 entitled, “Ending Opiod Use: A New Hope”. The event was co-sponsored by ASTRA, The World Association for Laser Therapy, NetGeneration of Youth, The Optical Society of America, and thirteen other science and medical organizations. What an opportunity to learn about PBM, “photobiomodulation,” an innovative medical technology, as well as, to be exposed to the organizational stakeholders who advocate for support of America’s ‘science and technology innovation ecosystem.’
Now in its 18th year of publication, ASTRA’s STEM on the Hill™ State STEM Report Cards series illustrates the importance of scientific and engineering research and STEM Education to state and local economies, job growth, innovation, competitiveness, our standard of living and U.S. national security.
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.