By: Brandon Walker
Students, teachers and families spend the day at RPI for the 14th annual Black Family Technology Awareness Day. As our Brandon Walker explains, the focus is getting more women and African Americans interested in careers in science.
TROY, N.Y.– What might look more like arts and crafts, is actually a scaled down lesson in harvesting power from the wind.
“Want me to help tape it,” asked a volunteer.
They’re building wind turbines. Learning what goes into building a good one and why a not so good one won’t work.
“Kind of uneven-ish. It didn’t really catch the wind,” said James, a student.
Second time is a charm, though, learning from what he didn’t do right– the focus.. hopefully it’ll spark interest in the sciences. That’s the goal of Black Family Technology Day at RPI.
“it’s real fun to find out new experiments and how the wind mill works,” said Demetrius Flowers, a student.
From bridge building, to water tornadoes, it’s all about getting more women and people of color interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“It’s a lot of different aspects of technology, applied to everyday life to get students an understanding of how they can grow into becoming scientists, engineers,” said Michael Moore, admissions counselor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Growing, by encouraging African American students to try science out– a field in which they comprise a significant minority.
“Really celebrate students and let them know that you can have fun, you can play sports you can do all those things but at the same time, there’s a lot more fun. a lot more longevity, even, in studying math science technology,” Moore said.
By doing so, they’re building a talent base with interest that, hopefully trickles down. Starting, though, back in the classroom with activities like turbine building.
“I knew if you had the blades at a certain angle, that the wind should be able to keep spinning more and more,” said Richrd McKoy, a student.
“I’m not a fan of science but this was fun. I like experimenting with things,” said Katie Lynch, a student.
So, a step in the right direction. Piquing interest by showing science is much more than one big text book.
“I wanted to be an accountant, but then I decided to be a scientist,” said Ryan Abdul Malik, a student.