Juneteenth ceremony to celebrate Black Scientists and Engineers | VTx

Black American slaves were released more than 150 years ago. American universities have been integrated for more than half a century – almost 70 years in the case of Virginia Tech. However, last year, less than one in 10 jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the United States was held by a black person, according to the Pew Research Center.

The Black Scientist and Engineer Juneteenth Celebration on Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Roanok Health Sciences and Technology Campus, organized by the Fralin Institute for Biomedical Research, will showcase the stories and achievements of eight successful black leaders. STEM areas that will describe their journey, including obstacles, challenges, and opportunities.

Attendance in person is encouraged. They can register on the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute website to attend.

“It’s a celebration to show where we come from and how far we can go,” said Audra Barnes, a member of the event planning committee and a graduate student in Virginia Tech’s Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering program.

“This event will allow people to dig a little deeper into the differences between people’s privileges and in a different way,” said Kenneth Young, and MD / Ph.D. Student of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Virginia Tech’s translational biology, medicine, and health graduate program.

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

  • Bernal Branchadvocate for independent research patient.
  • Lance Collinsinitial vice president and chief executive officer, Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.
  • Sylvester JohnsonAssistant Vice President of the Humanities, Virginia Tech.
  • Margie Leeprofessor and head of department, biomedical sciences and pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech.
  • Aziza Plattgraduate psychologist and health inequality researcher.
  • Manu PlattWallace H. Coulter Distinguished Professor, Associate Professor of Graduate Studies and Director of Diversity, Georgia Tech.
  • Pernessa SeeleThe Balm In Gilead Inc., founder and CEO.
  • Kaela Singletonpostdoctoral fellow and President-elect, Black in Neuro, Emory University.

Juneteenth – or Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day – recognizes the day in which black American slaves were emancipated in 1865.

“We are very fortunate to be able to organize an excellent and brilliant group of speakers at this Juneteenth event,” said Michael Friedlander, Executive Director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and Vice President of Health Tech and Technology at Virginia Tech. “In addition to listening to the contributions of these people and their personal stories, the program will allow us all to reflect on the importance of this day and to re-engage our efforts for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization. ”

“Black history is American history,” said Monet Roberts, a member of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute’s organizing committee and postdoctoral fellow. “For those outside my community who feel uncomfortable coming, it’s a safe space to have relationships, have an open conversation and get together and be of service to each other.”

Roberts stated Virginia Tech’s motto: Ut Prosim (I can serve it).

“To serve others, we need to see those who come to the lab who can influence the research and the different communities, see what their identity is and recognize that and celebrate that,” he said.

Other members of the event’s organizing committee include Leanna Blevins, Shannon Farris, Carla Finkielstein, Jasmine Johnson, Roberta Freitas Lemos, Steve Poelzing, Carissa South and Karthi Sreedevi.

The 2022 Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Juneteenth celebration at Riverside Circle 2 will be a personal event in Room M203. Attendees are advised to wear masks, but they are not required to wear them. Please register. Lunch will be offered. The event can also be viewed via Zoom and live web.


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