Diversity in STEM Summit Brought an Impressive Array of Change Makers to Brooklyn
In 2014, when Associate Dean of Student Affairs Anita Farrington began dreaming of ways to increase not only the number of underrepresented minorities at NYU Tandon but to stress the importance of diversity throughout the engineering workforce, she hit upon the idea of bringing to the school a wide array of STEM movers and shakers for an all-day series of talks and panels. They would share ideas, inspire the students, and prove the value of diverse, collaborative teams.
The first NYU Tandon Diversity in STEM Summit was held the following year, and it immediately became one of the most eagerly awaited annual events on the school calendar.
The 2017 Summit was held in November, and its theme, “Shaping the Future,” represented both a beacon of hope and a concrete goal given our current political and cultural climate. Speaker after speaker reaffirmed that all of the students in attendance had vital parts to play in the future, as the engineers, scientists, and technologists who will be creating smarter cities, cleaner energy, a more secure cyberspace, and other advancements on the horizon.
Beginning with a presentation over breakfast and concluding with a festive dinner, the Summit featured several high-wattage speakers throughout the day.
Founder and CEO of the Wealth Factory
In a world increasingly controlled by technology, who’s going to control that technology? If you’re a smart, ethical person, you’re exactly who we need to put in charge, and once you get there, make sure to lift up your brothers and sisters in turn.
Director of the Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Engagement Program at the University of Maryland’s College of Informational Studies
In order to design technology for humanity, we need to bring humanity — in all its wonderful diversity — to the table.
Co-Founder of Silicon Harlem
We are at a moment of inflection socially and politically. We should be engineering for equity. Everyone deserves to be connected, so the next generation Internet must be community focused, comprehensive, and driven by smart cities if we’re going to build an egalitarian onramp to the Internet economy.
Sergio A. Fernández de Córdova
Chairman of P3 Smart Cities Partners
If we’re interested in smart cities, we have to explore public-private partnerships as part of the master plan. Working together allows us to scale up our ideas and ensure that we’re meeting the challenges posed by urban infrastructure, transportation, and other factors — and that what we envision as a “smart city” is truly smart.
Executive Director of NYC Media Lab
With technologies like augmented and virtual reality expanding, this is our time to experiment, play, and learn, in a way that advances life for all. This is our time to decide what type of future we want to build, and having a diverse STEM workforce is going to help us make better decisions about the important issues involved in that.
NYU Tandon Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications
We are a very diverse gathering, but we have at least one thing in common; we all speak engineering!
Marie R. Sylla-Dixon
Vice President of Federal Government and External Affairs at T-Mobile USA
I am inspired by the diversity, number, and strength of the future leaders here today. Because if we are to compete in a global economy and move forward, we must embrace people of color. We must strive to increase their numbers in the STEM workforce. Engineers, app developers, coders, we need them all.
Tandon Alum and Founding Dean of Morgan State University School of Engineering
I remember reading in a 1952 New York Times article, “In the future, engineering is going to be a great field for (and I use the vernacular of the era) Negroes.” That proved to be the case for me. Now let’s think even further into the future. Let’s think beyond 5G wireless and the Internet of Things. We have a long road ahead of us if we’re going to live together on this one small orb.
NYU Tandon Associate Dean of Student Affairs
Presenters throughout the day have described the important role that engineers play in developing efficient energy solutions in smart cities, but they’ve also advised attendees to always consider the larger picture in terms of impact on the environment and on humanity in the future .... Every presenter also emphasized the value-added of workforce diversity.