2014 Black Engineer of the Year Gala Video

Stephanie C. Hill, VP and GM OF Lockheed-Martin’s Information Systems and Global Solutions was named Black Engineer of the Year earlier this month

for her outstanding leadership during a 27-year engineering career and commitment to promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. This distinction, the highest honor given at Career Communications Group’s annual Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) STEM Conference, was presented on Feb. 8 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C.

Lockheed-Martin Press Release

StephanieHill

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Connecting The Dots With DJay, Kanye & STEAM

This should help the last post make more sense. In the movie Hustle & Flow, DJay is a pimp/hustler in Memphis who is fed up with “the life” and starts creating rap tracks in a makeshift home studio to try to get out.  His sound technician tells him they need a better microphone to get a good enough quality sound that can get radio play. DJay is frustrated because he has no idea how or why the equipment works, but the sound technician insists so he goes to the store to pick up a microphone but doesn’t have enough money for the really good one. Again, not knowing anything about STEM he says:

I just don’t understand why I gotta pay so much more money for that microphone right there when the one right next to it look just like it but cost half, man.

Caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, DJay falls back to his pimp resources to pay for the good mic.

It’s great that Kanye West doesn’t want to be constrained to the rap category and that he sees his future possibilities in the context of people like  Steve Jobs and Howard Hughes.Both of them had STEM backgrounds and surrounded themselves with great engineers. Their artistic successes drew heavily upon their STEM resources and successes. Perhaps Kanye will come to realize that STEAM could help him make an end run around the established fashion industry. He could catapult the emerging 3D printed fashion industry to mainstream recognition. To be clear, we need not wait for celebrities to embrace STEAM, we can identify and support artistically inclined STEM students and professionals who will create the next big successes in healthcare, climate change, education as well as entertainment.

Don’t Be Like D-Jay

… practical, everyday reasons to love STEM …

When you don’t love STEM, you can’t make or distribute your own products.
When you can’t make or distribute your own products you have less control.
When you have less control you make less money.
When you make less money, you get desparate.
When you get desparate, you resort to pimping.
When you start pimping, you end up like D-Jay.
Don’t end up like D-Jay.

Embrace STEM. End up like

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James Edward Maceo West

Along withGerhard Sessler, West developed the foil electret microphone in 1962. Nearly 90 percent of the more than two billion microphones produced annually are based on the principles of the foil-electret and are used in everyday items such as telephones, camcorders, and audio recording devices among others.

The First Black Ph.D Was In Physics

Edward Bouchet was one of the first dozen or so Americans of any ethnicity to receive a PhD in Physics and just the 6th person to do so at Yale, In addition, he was the first African-American to be elected to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. The American Physical Society sponsors the Edward A. Bouchet Award.  In 2005 Yale, and my alma mater Howard founded the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.

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Jim Gates, featured in the previous post, was the first recipient of the American Physical Society’s Edward A. Bouchet Award. Other recipients are in the queue.

Physicist Uses African Symbols for Advanced Math

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National Medal of Science recipient Sylvester James Gates wrote the first doctoral dissertation at MIT on supersymmetry a key building block for String Theory. In string theory, everything in the universe is made up of one of two types of particles which always occur in pairs connected by supersymmetry. He has developed A Graphical Technology for Supersymmetric Representation Theory called Adinkra.

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For additional information including a must-hear, audio interview, see Uncovering The Codes of Reality. Also there are numerous videos of Jim Gates Secret Life. Upcoming installments of African Information Engineering will include more on Adinkra symbols.

Jobs And Freedom

The knowledge of Nature acquired through STEM education and training can definitely improve employment opportunities. However, the real value of STEM is its ability to empower and provide self-determination. This empowerment is a key building block of freedom – it wasn’t just a March On Washington or a March On Washington for Jobs, but a March On Washington for Jobs and Freedom. While jobs are important, without freedom they can end up as slavery renegotiated on better terms. As Martin Luther King noted in Where Do We Go From Here:

 New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available. In 1879 Henry George anticipated this state of affairs when he wrote in Progress and Poverty:

The fact is that the work which improves the condition of mankind, the work which extends knowledge and increases power and enriches literature and elevates thought, is not done to secure a living. It is not the work of slaves driven to their tasks either by the, that of a taskmaster or by animal necessities. It is the work of men who somehow find a form of work that brings a security for its own sake and a state of society where want is abolished.

Work of this sort could be enormously increased, and we are likely to find that the problem of housing, education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished. The poor, transformed into purchasers, will do a great deal on their own to alter housing decay. Negroes, who have a double disability, will have a greater effect on discrimination when they have the additional weapon of cash to use in their struggle.

Beyond these advantages, a host of positive psychological changes inevitably will result from widespread economic security. The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his own hands, when he has the assurance that his income is stable and certain, and when he knows that he has the means to seek self-improvement. Personal conflicts between husband, wife, and children will diminish when the unjust measurement of human worth on a scale of dollars is eliminated.

A similar, more STEM focused view was put forth in the 1930’s by George Schuyler founder along with Ella Baker, of the Young Negroes Co-operative League of America(YNCL) which was

a federation of local groups founded by black journalist and anarchist George Schuyler, that sponsored the growth and development of local consumer cooperatives and buying clubs in major cities throughout the country.

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Though apparently unable to find enough STEM literate people for YNCL, Schuyler created a fictional organization called the Black Internationale in a series of essays published in the Pittsburgh Courier in 1936. This work has been collected in the book  Black Empire. In it the lead character says:

… our civilization is bogged down without electricians, engineers, chemists, metallurgists and their like. … It is desirable that our future Negro leadership consists of scientists … we can build … an empire of black men and women working toward a cooperative civilization unexcelled in this world.

To obtain Kujichagulia we ultimately have to be able to create jobs.