Rensselaer will host the 18th Black Family Technology Awareness Day program on Saturday, February 3. The daylong STEM event is designed to expose area students, their families, and educators to educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as the arts. The event is free and open to the public. The program will be held on campus from 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. This year’s theme is titled “Be a Force for STEM.”

The program will kick off with an opening ceremony at 9:15 a.m. in the Darrin Communications Center (DCC), room 308. Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson will deliver opening remarks.

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 the Rensselaer campus from 10 to 11:45 a.m. The program will culminate with a lunchtime event in the Armory from noon to 1:15 p.m.

“Our continued goal is to demonstrate the appeal of STEM-related subjects and research to school-aged children and their parents, as well as K-12 educators in the community,” said James Spencer, executive director of the Rensselaer Technology Park, who oversees Black Family Technology Awareness Day. “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.”

This year, workshop highlights include Domino toppling, learning about the field of engineering, using math formulas to calculate the number of calories that can be burned while hula hooping, exploring the basics of 3-D printing, using games to teach math and science, and learning about LEGO robotics. Other offerings include an interactive skill-building session to help parents learn about available STEM apps, tips from Rensselaer admissions officers and students on how to navigate the STEM college experience, and a computer coding session to assist students with learning how to create websites.

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

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

Photo credit: Daesha Harris/Visual Recollection