Black Families Technology Awareness Day 2020

Rensselaer will host its 20th Black Families Technology Awareness Day on Saturday, February 22, 2020. 

This year the program is designed to expose talented historically underrepresented middle school students in grades 6-8, their parents and guardians, and educators to educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as the arts. Students must be nominated to attend the event, and the event will be free for all attendees. Students may be nominated by school counselors, community-based organizations, churches, or other mentors. 

Nominate A Student

The program will kick off with breakfast and opening ceremony in the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC). Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson will deliver the opening remarks. Immediately following the ceremony, participants will attend two sessions, and the program will culminate with lunch.  

A partial list of program sessions is noted below; the complete list for the 2020 event will be posted soon, and nominated students will be contacted as soon as they are able to register for their sessions. For more information, please email BFTAD@rpi.edu or call 518-276-3098.

Click here to view our slideshow from the 2019 event.

Accordion

Program Details

2020 Session Descriptions

SESSION ONE - 10:15 - 11:00 a.m.

  • Curl Care Lab (presented by Rensselaer’s Culturally Situated Design Tools & the National Society of Black Engineers)

This workshop will seek to inspire participants to become inventors and creators through the use of inexpensive do-it-yourself electronics. Participants will learn about the importance of pH in hair care products. Students will view a short presentation concerning pH and the effect of various hair care products on natural hair within the context of pH. Next, participants will be introduced to the Arduino Microcontroller and pH probe for do-it-yourself pH testing. They will calibrate the probe using specialized calibration liquids. Following calibration, participants will make their own natural product and then test the pH of that product. Finally, participants will test the pH of a selection of store-bought products with recognizable natural brands.

  •  Water Filtration Workshop (National Society of Black Engineers)

In this workshop, students will learn about real issues faced around the world that arise with not having clean water for everyday activities. They will learn about filters that are used already and how different types of water filters purify water in different ways. Working in small groups participants will design and build a simple filtration system. Through this activity, participants will be introduced to various engineering disciplines and which types of engineers and scientists are devoted to water filtration.

  • Humanitarian Relief  (presented by Rensselaer’s Engineering Ambassadors)

The presentation will be about how community relief operates after natural disasters occur. The presentation will highlight the need to better prepare, respond and recover from these disasters in order to reduce human suffering and loss of life and money. The presenters talk about common misconceptions people have of what to donate to survivors and how engineering can be useful in the field of Humanitarian Logistics. Students then simulate a donation drive in a hands-on activity.

  • Fold and Fly with Algorithms (presented by Coding&&Community)

Students will be inspired to become inventors and creators by attending this workshop designed to introduce what an algorithm is and the importance of them in computer science. Students will learn about algorithms by arranging different steps in making a paper airplane and flying them. Students will then discuss with each other the ideal steps to make an airplane and how these algorithms apply to computer science and everyday life.

  • The Science and Technology of Water Research and Management (presented by The Global Water Lab at RPI)

Water is essential for life. Managing and conserving water requires some advanced science and technology. This workshop will explore the science and technology used to conduct research and manage our freshwater resources: from lakes and reservoirs to rivers and streams across the country and around the world. Students will learn about how science and engineering has improved water research and management through novel water quality sensors. Students will learn how sensors work and why they are used, and then use them to make predictions and measurements about different waterbodies. We’ll also use an augmented reality watershed demonstration to understand how water flows through watersheds and how what happens on the land impacts downstream water quality.

 

SESSION TWO - 11:15 - noon

  • Curl Care Lab (presented by Rensselaer’s Culturally Situated Design Tools & the National Society of Black Engineers)

This workshop will seek to inspire participants to become inventors and creators through the use of inexpensive do-it-yourself electronics. Participants will learn about the importance of pH in hair care products. Students will view a short presentation concerning pH and the effect of various hair care products on natural hair within the context of pH. Next, participants will be introduced to the Arduino Microcontroller and pH probe for do-it-yourself pH testing. They will calibrate the probe using specialized calibration liquids. Following calibration, participants will make their own natural product and then test the pH of that product. Finally, participants will test the pH of a selection of store-bought products with recognizable natural brands.

  • Humanitarian Relief  (presented by Rensselaer’s Engineering Ambassadors)

The presentation will be about how community relief operates after natural disasters occur. The presentation will highlight the need to better prepare, respond and recover from these disasters in order to reduce human suffering and loss of life and money. The presenters talk about common misconceptions people have of what to donate to survivors and how engineering can be useful in the field of Humanitarian Logistics. Students then simulate a donation drive in a hands-on activity.

  • Life in STEM  (National Society of Black Engineers)

In this workshop, Rensselaer students  in the National Society of Black Engineers will discuss what life has been like for them after being introduced to STEM when they were young. They will explain why they chose their specific majors, what actually do in college in pursuit of their career goals. NSBE hopes to insire participants through the sharing of information about the many opportunities that are presented by the Science community and their goals and achievements.

  • Fold and Fly with Algorithms (presented by Coding&&Community)

Students will be inspired to become inventors and creators by attending this workshop designed to introduce what an algorithm is and the importance of them in computer science. Students will learn about algorithms by arranging different steps in making a paper airplane and flying them. Students will then discuss with each other the ideal steps to make an airplane and how these algorithms apply to computer science and everyday life.

  • The Science and Technology of Water Research and Management (presented by The Global Water Lab at RPI)

Water is essential for life. Managing and conserving water requires some advanced science and technology. This workshop will explore the science and technology used to conduct research and manage our freshwater resources: from lakes and reservoirs to rivers and streams across the country and around the world. Students will learn about how science and engineering has improved water research and management through novel water quality sensors. Students will learn how sensors work and why they are used, and then use them to make predictions and measurements about different waterbodies. We’ll also use an augmented reality watershed demonstration to understand how water flows through watersheds and how what happens on the land impacts downstream water quality.

 

PARENTS, GUARDIANS & COUNSELORS - 10:15 a.m. to 12:00 noon

  • Preparing Your Student for College

College doesn’t have to be an impossible dream. With forethought and careful planning college and a STEM degree can be what catapults you into career in re-imagining the world. In this session, Rensselaer Faculty and administrators will share with you the key elements in preparing for college including setting goals in high-school; developing life and learning skills; evaluating college opportunities and finding the right fit; and financing the most important investment you can make.

 

 

Program Goals

“Our goal this year is to highlight how STEM is critical to finding solutions to all of life’s problems,” according to the co-chairs of this year’s BFTAD committee Jonathan Wexler, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Dr. Lee McElroy, Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, at Rensselaer. We will do this by: 

  • Offering hands-on design workshops that will inspire students to become creators and inventors
  • Educating parents on preparing students for STEM education and careers
  • Providing a basic understanding of creativity of the mind
  • Showcasing Rensselaer's faculty so that participants will gain a basic understanding of the lives of scientists and engineers
Parking and Other Information

PARKING: Free public parking will be available in the parking garage on College Avenue, between 8th Street and 15th Street. Follow the directional signs for parking lot entry.

PROGRAM PARTICIPATION: Parents and Guardians: By permitting your child to attend and participate in this event:

You understand that you are responsible for arranging transportation for the child to and from the event. You also understand that if your child does not behave appropriately and follow staff direction at all times, his/her participation in the event may be terminated at the sole discretion of the program staff, and you will be requested to immediately pick him/her up from the event for transportation home.

MEDIA USE: You give RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE, its legal representatives and assigns, and those acting with permission of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute or employees of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the right and permission to use, reuse, broadcast, publish, and distribute still photographs, motion pictures, digital media, videotapes and associated or independent audio recordings of your child participating in the event for any and all purposes, and you waive any right to inspect or approve such images and recordings prior to such publication and use.

For more information, contact BFTAD@rpi.edu or call 518-276-3098.

2020 Sponsors

Gold Level Sponsors

Silver Level Sponsors

Bronze Level Sponsors

  • Campito Companies