Black Family Tech Day

Black Family Technology Awareness Day is designed to introduce young people and their families to opportunities in STEM fields.

Rensselaer will host the 17th Black Family Technology Awareness Day event on Saturday, Feb. 13. The day-long event is designed to expose area students and their families to educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and the arts. The event is free and open to the public. The program will be held on campus from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The 2016 theme will be “Innovating a Resilient World Through STEM.”

The program will kick off with an opening ceremony beginning at 9:15 a.m. in Darrin Communications Center (DCC), room 308. Immediately following the ceremony, students and their parents will be immersed in a series of workshop offerings that will be held in various spaces on campus and also in downtown Troy from 10 to 11:45 a.m.

Black Family Technology Day

The day will include a number of workshops held on campus and in downtown Troy.

This year, workshop highlights include understanding the importance of computer science by teaching students and their parents how to code; using LEGO robotics to explore software programming; teaching an intro to Latin dance as a means of applying science to help students learn about musculature and the use of electromyography to measure force produced by specific muscle groups while dancing; and designing wind turbines. There also will be a meditation offering, and workshops exploring the power of teams, encryption in today’s world, the basics of particle simulation using examples from Disney’s Frozen, humanitarian logistics through a simulated donation drive, fun play activities that involve simulating the arts of indigenous cultures, and an introduction to augmented reality, among others.

“Our continued goal is to demonstrate the appeal of STEM-related subjects and research to school-aged children and their parents,” said James Spencer, executive director, Rensselaer Technology Park, Real Estate, and New Venture Development, who now has the Black Family Technology Awareness Day program within his portfolio. “We have done this by providing hands-on activities that are fun and exciting. Such opportunities create space for us to encourage, explore, create dialogue, and collaborate. Throughout the day, students and parents will truly see the role that STEM plays in their lives, and we hope that they will continue to explore the experience on their own and also through resources and future programs that we hope to offer.”

In addition, the event is partnering with TEN80 Education to host a special program for high school students. The organization—based in Saratoga Springs—develops and publishes a K-12 STEM curriculum, trains educators in the art of STEM, and organizes events that motivate students to engage and learn over time.

Lunch will be held in the Rensselaer Alumni Sports and Recreation Center (Armory) from noon to 1:15 p.m.

The afternoon program will be held in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) Concert Hall. The program will feature Rensselaer STEM Stars, a series of short TED-style talks featuring undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and members of the community who will share their interests, passion, experiences, advice, or lessons learned in STEM.

The culminating program will highlight the Art_X initiative, which has been designed to help Rensselaer students discover the art in science and technology as well as the science and technology in art. The program will feature a lecture and performance by Mary Simoni, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, as well as a musical performance by Eddie Ade Knowles, professor of practice and leader of the Roots of Africa Ensemble.

Individuals who are interested in volunteering are encouraged to complete the volunteer registration form. In supporting the event, general volunteers may be asked to assist with various aspects of event set-up and breakdown, staff workshop presenter rooms, direct attendees to event locations, and more. Some individuals may also be assigned to assist and support workshop presenters.

For more information, and updates regarding event details, visit the website.