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Crystal R. Emery—a quadriplegic who has defied the odds and used her platform to bring attention to the intersectionality of race, gender, and disability—is advocating to increase racial representation in STEM.

Emery, a film director, author, and nonprofit leader, will host an upcoming summit dubbed “Changing the Face of STEM: A Transformational Journey” that brings together doctors, engineers, mathematicians and scientists to examine the barriers that individuals from underrepresented groups face when trying to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math and how leaders in these spaces can address them.  During the summit, there will be forums and workshops to develop strategies to get more individuals from underserved communities involved in STEM. Tom Ridge who served as the former Homeland Security Secretary and Johnathan M. Holifield who leads the White House’s Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities will be in attendance.

“Our country’s demographics are changing; and to win the global race for talent and remain innovators, it is urgent that we embrace this shift and chart a new course for excellence and inclusion in the science, technology and medical fields. Key to this is early intervention in exposing young people of all backgrounds to these careers,” said Emery in a statement. At the event, she will debut her new book titled Master Builders of the Modern World: Reimagining the Face of STEM which highlights individuals who have had impactful careers in the realm of STEM.

The summit is being sponsored by State Farm Insurance, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). It will take place at the National Academy of Sciences on June 12.

There have been many efforts made to get more people of color involved in STEM. Howard University recently joined the Verizon Innovative Learning Program to provide workshops that cover science, technology, engineering and math for young boys of color in Washington, D.C.


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