We the Geeks: Celebrating Black History Month

We at the White House couldn’t be more excited to celebrate Black History Month by highlighting some of our nation’s most prominent and promising African American science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) achievers and shining a light on the importance of ensuring the Nation’s next generation of inventors, discoverers, and innovators fully reflects the diversity of America.

President Obama with Evan Jackson, Alec Jackson, and Caleb Robinson at the White House Science Fair, April 22, 2013

President Barack Obama talks with Evan Jackson, 10, Alec Jackson, 8, and Caleb Robinson, 8, from McDonough, Ga., while looking at exhibits at the White House Science Fair in the State Dining Room, April 22, 2013. The sports-loving grade-schoolers created a new product concept to keep athletes cool and helps players maintain safe body temperatures on the field. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Members of racial and ethnic minority groups are projected to become the majority of America’s population in the next 30 years. Today, however, they account for just 28 percent of America’s STEM workers. We know that for America to remain competitive in a global economy, we need to do all we can to draw upon the nation’s diverse talent pool, which includes historically underrepresented groups in STEM, such as women and minorities.

That’s why, next week, OSTP is hosting and participating in a series of activities to highlight diverse STEM role models and the urgent need to help minority students across the country envision themselves as tomorrow’s discoverers, explorers, developers, and STEM innovators.

To kick off our week of activities, join us Tuesday, February 25 at 3:00 pm EST for "We the Geeks: Celebrating Black History Month" 

In this Google+ Hangout, some of the Nation’s most extraordinary African American STEM innovators and STEM-education advocates will share their inspiring personal stories and thoughts on how we can all step up to help strengthen America’s STEM-skilled workforce by making it broader and more diverse. 

The live discussion will be moderated by OSTP’s Knatokie Ford and Marlon Marshall, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Special guests will include:

  • Dr. Paula Hammond, David H. Koch Professor in Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, Assistant Professor in Physics/Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology
  • Mr. Calvin Phelps, Jet Engineer Designer, Pratt & Whitney
  • Ms. Crystal Brockington, Winner of Siemens “We Can Change the World Challenge”
  • Evan Jackson, Alec Jackson, Caleb Robinson, Kid Inventors, Winners of Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Competition, and participants in the 2013 White House Science Fair

And stay tuned right here, all week, for updates about a host of other geeky events to celebrate STEM and Black History Month, including: a White House Champions of Change event on STEM Diversity and Access for Minorities convened by the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for African Americans on Wednesday, February 26; a White House “Minorities in STEM” stakeholder workshop on Wednesday February 26; and a visit by President Obama’s Science Advisor, Dr. John P. Holdren, to Morgan State University—a local Historically Black College or University (HBCU).

Start next week off right by tuning in on Tuesday, February 25 at 3:00 pm EST for “We the Geeks: Celebrating Black History Month."

Got comments or questions? Ask them using the hashtag #WeTheGeeks on Twitter and on Google+ and we'll answer some of them during the live Hangout.

We the Geeks" is a series of Google+ Hangouts to discuss science, technology, and innovation here in the United States. Join the conversation on Twitter and be sure to sign up for email updates about future "We the Geeks" hangouts.

Knatokie Ford is a AAAS Science and Technology Fellow at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy and Sean Jones is a Senior Policy Analyst at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy

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