Furthering STEM on LI
By Rob Rodriguez
The Urban League of Long Island presented an informational presentation about the importance of the development of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) on Long Island, at the Grant campus on Nov. 11, 2011.
The presentation had two parts to it; one being the pre-screening of the CNN special Black in America 4 and the other being a sit down and talking with some men involved with technology and have made an impact through the STEM field.
The CNN special featured eight different African American entrepreneurs and budding website builders that relocated to Silicon Valley, which is the capital for technology companies to start at, to join this program called NewMe Accelerator to help build their websites.
Throughout the program, they are living together and attempt to help each other, while working on different projects and also get advice from others that have been successful in this field.
Theresa E. Sanders, the CEO and President of the Urban League of Long Island, was excited about the possibility of bringing a similar program and furthering STEM on Long Island.
“We are going to show you a model that works and attempt to bring it to Long Island,” Sanders said. “The goal is to get you excited on the possibilities.”
The Board Chairman Urban League of Long Island, William Rolack, explained why it was important to further the education level of STEM and bringing in new possibilities.
“Many of the outsiders believe we all live next to Diddy (Sean Combs) or Russell Simmons,” Rolack said. “That perception often gets us overlooked for certain opportunities.
Sanders furthered Rolack’s point on the importance of giving that opportunity to youngsters on Long Island.
“There are many kids who do not have a chance,” Sanders said. “They do not have the proper teaching or instruction to improve in the STEM fields and do not have the basic skills to get jobs. We are able to give them that opportunity.”
One of the guest speakers that they invited to come and speak was Dr. Chad Womack, the founder and President of TBED21 (Technology Based Economic Development for the 21st Century). He explained what is needed for anyone interested in a STEM career to be able to have a real impact.
“The three core pillars to help build a foundation are capital, access to technology and investment,” Womack said. “This is missing in many communities and if they did, there could be an opportunity for high growth.”
Womack also explained that there are not many in entrepreneurs building sites like Facebook, Amazon or any other popular website that have made a lot of money. “We need more starters that are willing to take risk to help build an environment for it,” Womack said.
Dr. David Ferguson, chair of the Department of Technology and Society in Stony Brook University, explained why education is important to make it in this field.
“The only way to survive is through innovation,” Ferguson said. “And survival depends on education. Without education, we will be toast. Those who do not have education will not be employed.”
Ferguson also explained the importance of determination and excellence in not just STEM fields, but in every aspect of life.
“It is not easy to make, but people should try as much as they can to not lose focus,” Ferguson said. “Excellence takes a lot of time in many different areas. It is a long shot in any field and requires a lot of work.”
For more information on the Urban League of Long Island, their website is urbanleaguelongisland.org.Explore posts in the same categories: News
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