I Heart Geeks!

You’ll never guess what has me so excited! Want to take a guess?

No. Ok.

Well click the video above…Go ahead. Yes, that’s what has me so excited: Science and Technology!

As all information flows in Twitterville, it starts with 140 characters. Yesterday I saw Oprah tweet this:

Later that evening as I watched ABC, a pre-recorded message from President Obama caught my attention. In the message he shared the importance of science and technology as it relates to our young people’s future. Moments later I realized President Obama was the opening act for the 1st i.am.FIRST: Science is Rock and Roll– the special to highlight the 20th Annual FIRST® Robotics Championship and Tech Championship; featuring performances by The Black Eyes Peas and Willow Smith with appearances by Miley Cyrus, Bono, Beiber and yes, even Snoop Dogg.

THIS is the show Oprah was tweeting about hours before. Ahhh Twitter!

i.am.FIRST is the brain child of robot genius Dean Kamen and entertainer will.i.am. The collaboration began out of a shared passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. As Intel’s Director of Creative Innovation, will.i.am. jumped at Dean’s offer to support his non-profit organization FIRST. FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. (source)

The rest is history.

i.am.FIRST showed us the humorous sides of the FIRST competition but it also showed us how hard those kids worked. The robotic masterpieces the teams created could easily be compared with student work from top technical Universities such as NC A&T State University or MIT. My heart filled with joy and my eyes welled up with tears as I listened to the stories of the young people on the teams. I was especially moved by two latino students. The boy was from the streets of Los Angeles. He was a graffiti tagger near the study hub of a robotics team in his area. The time spent around the team inspired him to learn their skills and as a result saved him from a life of violence and gangs. The girl was participating in the championship because she wants to become a laboratory technician to help women have healthy pregnancies. Her mother lost four babies before she was able to conceive the teenage girl and her brother. I’m sure those were two stories of many that can attribute the STEM disciplines and FIRST programs to impacting and changing their lives.

The moral of today’s post? Ebonie loves geeks? No….SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING & MATH ROCK!!! I considered changing my career but then I remembered the headaches my engineer line sisters and classmates had in undergrad. I’ll just cheer from the sidelines. 🙂

Most importantly, going forward I am going to be a stronger proponent of STEM education for the next generation. I think Will said it best last night, “Kids love science, they just don’t know it.” He’s right! Our kids who want to be music producers, Apple everything users, or PlayStation champs, all love technology- we just forget to tell them THEY can make those things! NOW is the time to tell them! The students I saw in i.am.FIRST special were the happiest kids I’ve seen in a long time- a far cry from the sadness we hear and read about. If more of our youth can be as excited as the FIRST students about learning, developing and programming we won’t have very much to worry about for our future.

Here are a few other STEM education supporting organizations you can get involved with: (Click the purple titles for more information)

The Obama Administration

Time Warner Cable’s (TWC) Connect a Million Minds (CAMM) is a five-year, $100 million cash and in-kind philanthropic initiative to address America’s declining proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which puts our children at risk of not competing successfully in a global economy.

NASA Education In 2006 and beyond, NASA will continue to pursue three major education goals:
— Strengthening NASA and the Nation’s future workforce
— Attracting and retaining students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, disciplines
— Engaging Americans in NASA’s mission

The Parris FoundationThe Parris Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit charity organization dedicated to promoting educational opportunities and fostering awareness in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) via scholarships and community outreach programs.

STEM Education Collation The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition works to support STEM programs for teachers and students at the U. S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies that offer STEM related programs.

The STEM Education Coalition represents all sectors of the technological workforce – from knowledge workers, to educators, to scientists, engineers, and technicians. The participating organizations of the STEM Education Coalition are dedicated to ensuring quality STEM education at all levels.

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