Black and Latino Men in STEM: An Abridged History
From the very beginning, the STEM field has been the beneficiary of contributions made by people from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds. Here, we recognize the achievements of Black and Latino men in the broader STEM community, while highlighting the experiences and accomplishments of our innovative alumni, since the school's founding in 1854.
The 19th Century
James McCune Smith graduates from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, becoming the first African-American to earn a medical degree.
The Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute is founded, as well as the NYU School of Civil Engineering and Architecture.
Elijah McCoy patents the automatic lubricator for steam engines. A prolific inventor, McCoy secured 57 patents in his lifetime.
Renamed the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.
The 20th Century
Panamanian-born Dario Melendez graduates from Polytechnic with a degree in electrical engineering.
Luis E. Eckelmann (BS Chemistry '16) presides over the Polytechnic Chemical Society and publishes a paper in The Polytechnic Engineer.
Multi-instrumentalist William G. Holly (BS Chemical Engineering ’22) assumes directorship of the Poly orchestra.
Professor Darnley Howard (BS Mechanical Engineering '20) leaves Poly to head Howard University's Mechanical Engineering Dept.
Albert Baez serves as the first director of UNESCO's science education program.
Visiting Congolese students from Lovanium University tour Polytechnic's research labs with Dean Jacob Hostetter.
Maj. Robert H. Lawrence, Jr. (US Air Force) becomes the first African American astronaut.
Black Student Union is created and begins to publish a column in the Polytechnic Reporter.
Alpha Phi Alpha establishes a presence on campus.
Renamed Polytechnic Institute of New York after encompassing the faculty, programs, and students of New York University College of Engineering
Society of Black Engineers is established as a student club.
The Cooperative Educational Minority Scholars and the Women Late Entry Program awards a five-year scholarship to Armando Rodriguez.
Association of Latin American Students is established at Poly.
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) establishes a chapter at Poly.
Guion Bluford becomes the first African American to travel into space.
Renamed Polytechnic University.
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) establishes a chapter at Poly.
The 21st Century
An affiliation is forged between Polytechnic and New York University, creating the Polytechnic Institute of NYU and paving the way for an official merger.
Merger with New York University becomes official - name changes to the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering.
The Black and Latino Men at Tandon committee is created.