June 16 event to celebrate black scientists and engineers VTx

Enslaved black Americans were released more than 150 years ago. American colleges have been integrated for more than half a century – nearly 70 years in the case of Virginia Tech. However, as of last year, less than one in 10 jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the United States was filled by blacks, according to the Pew Research Center.

The June 16 celebration of black scientists and engineers, organized by the Fralin Institute for Biomedical Research at the VTC from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the Roanoke Campus for Health Sciences and Technology, will showcase the stories and achievements of eight black leaders. who succeed in STEM areas that will describe their journeys – including barriers, challenges and opportunities.

Personal presence is encouraged. People can register to participate on the website of the Fralin Institute for Biomedical Research.

“It’s a celebration to show where we came from and how far we need to go,” said Audrey Barnes, a member of the event’s organizing committee and a graduate of Virginia Tech’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics.

“This event will allow people to go a little deeper into unpacking the differences between the privileges that people have and in different ways,” said Kenneth Young, Ph.D. a student at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Virginia Tech’s Translational Biology, Medicine and Health Program.

The event will include eight completed speakers and panelists, including three from Virginia Tech:

  • Spring branchindependent study of patient advocate.
  • Lance CollinsIntroductory Vice President and CEO, Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.
  • Sylvester JohnsonAssistant Vice-Chancellor for the Humanities, Virginia Tech.
  • Margie LeeProfessor and Head of Department, Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech.
  • Aziza Platlicensed psychologist and health differences researcher.
  • Manu PlatWallace H. Coulter, Distinguished Professor, Associate Professor of Postgraduate Studies and Director of Diversity, Georgia Tech.
  • Perness ZeleFounder and CEO, The Balm In Gilead Inc.
  • Kaela Singletonpostdoctoral fellow and elected president, Black in Neuro, Emory University.

June 14 – or Freedom Day, Jubilee, Emancipation Day – recognizes the day when enslaved black Americans were emancipated in 1865.

“We are very happy to be able to host such a complete and captivating group of speakers at this June 16 event,” said Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Fralin Institute for Biomedical Research and vice president of health science and technology at Virginia Tech. “Apart from hearing about the contributions of these people and their personal stories, the program will give us the opportunity to reflect on the significance of this day and to re-engage on behalf of a more diverse, just and inclusive organization. ”

“Black history is American history,” said Monet Roberts, a member of the organizing committee and a postdoctoral fellow at the Fralin Institute for Biomedical Research. “For those outside of my community who may feel uncomfortable coming, this is a safe place to communicate with each other, have an open conversation, and get together and serve each other.”

Roberts noted the motto of Virginia Tech, Ut Please (Which I can serve).

“To be able to truly serve others, we need to see those who come to the lab and the different communities that can be influenced by the research, see what their identity is, and actually acknowledge and celebrate that,” she said. .

Other members of the event’s organizing committee include Liana Blevins, Shannon Faris, Carla Finkilstein, Jasmine Johnson, Roberta Freitas Lemos, Steve Poelzing, Carissa South and Kart Srediv.

The 2022 celebration of the Fralin Institute for Biomedical Research will be a personal event at 2 Riverside Circle, Room M203. Participants are encouraged but not required to wear masks. Please register. Lunch will be provided. The event can also be watched via Zoom and live webcast.

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