MELBOURNE, FLA. — A student-organized event April 15 at Florida Tech will celebrate African Americans in STEM disciplines with a panel discussion featuring distinguished Black scientists and professionals, live music, food trucks and more.
Black in STEM Celebration runs from 5-9 p.m. on and around Panther Plaza on the Florida Tech campus, between the Keuper Administration Building and the Denius Student Center. It is open to the public. Parking is available in Lot 10 on Country Club Road.
The panel discussion kicks things off from 5-6 p.m. on the second floor of the Student Center. Panelists are Capt. Winston Scott, retired NASA astronaut and Florida Tech professor emeritus; Ronald Gamble Jr., Ph.D., theoretical physicist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Ashley Walker, astro-chemist and Ph.D. student at Howard University and founder of Black In Astro; Tracy Drain, flight systems engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; and Michael King, Ph.D., computer engineer and associate professor at Florida Tech.
The discussion will also be available via Zoom. It is Meeting974 8133 9989, with Passcode FITSTEM22.
Jordan Forman, a senior astrophysics major who organized Black in STEM with fellow STEM majors Anna Thomas, Ashauntie Reid, Amethyst Barnes and Davonya Cheek, said their vision for the event initially centered on the panel discussion.
“That’s what we started with: Give students the opportunity to hear their experiences, hear from professionals in the field who can give their takes on what they’ve experienced, and their struggles being Black in STEM fields,” Forman said. “Then we thought, ‘How could we make it more fun for the student body?’”
They came up with plenty of ways.
- From 7-8:30, the Melbourne-based alternative indie rock band The Spring will perform at the Pantherium amphitheater
- Food trucks Black Vizion, Hunny’z Wingz and Soul Sushi will be on hand
- More than 10 vendors will be offering savory and sweet treats, apparel and more
- Trivia and activities
- Several raffles for goodies including Air Pod Pro earbuds, a JBL Flip 5 waterproof speaker and a basket of hair-care products.
Guests arriving will receive a raffle ticket. Additional tickets can be earned by winning at trivia.
“There will be a lot of good stuff going on,” Forman said.
She added, “It’s been a little overwhelming, but it’s so exciting. Students are excited, the community is excited, everyone is looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a good time.”