Purdue focuses on STEM, Purdue Polytechnic High School Indianapolis at 2015 Indiana Black Expo

July 14, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — STEM education and Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis High School will be Purdue University's focus at the 45th annual Summer Celebration of the Indiana Black Expo.

The Expo started July 9 and concludes July 19 in Indianapolis. Purdue will have an exhibit and is sponsoring the Youth Leadership Summit, called "Your Life Matters," which is July 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Indianapolis.

Information about Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis High School will be available at the exhibition in the Indiana Convention Center, where visitors also can learn more about the university through several interactive activities.

The polytechnic high school, announced last month by Purdue President Mitch Daniels, is an educational experience designed to provide a bridge for inner-city students and others to succeed in high school and to be admitted directly to Purdue University. It will open in August 2017.

The university plans to open the STEM-focused charter school in downtown Indianapolis with the possibility of eventually expanding to cities where Purdue has statewide polytechnic sites. The high school curriculum will be developed by Purdue faculty and members of industry to serve as a pipeline to the institute.

Names and contact information of attendees interested in the high school will be collected at a booth at the exhibition. Printed information about the school also will be available.

Many of Purdue's colleges and schools also will have booths at the exhibition, said Annette Brown, diversity outreach project manager in the Office of the Provost.

 "Every college represented will have an interactive educational activity in addition to information about programs they offer and requirements for admission to the college," Brown said. "The Admissions Office also has a big presence with information about what their office does to help students navigate the admissions process. Officer Tenecia Waddell of the Purdue Police Department will also share aspects of her role as a police officer as well as to encourage students to consider a career in law enforcement."

The Youth Leadership Summit encourages youth, ages 11-18, to focus on their academic, personal and community service goals and to develop leadership skills. It also aims to assist youth in developing leadership skills to improve their communities and provide training to service workers to better assist youth.

"It is imperative that young people are encouraged to give substantial thought and preparation to college readiness and the pursuit of higher education," Brown said. "Partnering with the Indiana Black Expo on the Youth Leadership Summit is a great opportunity for Purdue's s colleges and alumni to reach and connect with program participants who could potentially become future Boilermakers."

During the event, Purdue will present a breakout session from 1-3:45 p.m. Friday (July 17) on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, topics and careers. Dr. Ignacio Camarillo, associate professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Shaneka Lawson, Research Plant Physiologist with the USDA Forest Service and adjunct assistant professor of forestry and natural resources, will lead the session.

Camarillo said 27 Purdue Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation undergraduate research scholars will assist and mentor the high school student participants.

"The session creates problem-solving and professional development opportunities while students learn about natural resource and environmental interactions," Camarillo said. "Students will face team challenges where knowledge gleaned from 10-minute presentations by faculty is used to solve a problem. It will highlight potential undergraduate study opportunities in forestry and environmental sciences to minority Indiana students.

"Our primary objective is to encourage these students to select environmentally specialized fields when applying to undergraduate institutions and show the range of careers available after graduation." Lawson said.

The other Purdue-led youth summit event will be a "Speed Networking Session," from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Saturday (July 18). Summit participants will have the opportunity to talk with Purdue alumni and representatives from Purdue's colleges and schools.

"This is similar to speed dating. The alumni can talk with students. An alumnus who is an engineer can talk to students interested in engineering about what they do and how Purdue helped prepare them for their field," Brown said. "They also can talk about what students need to do to prepare for the field, and then representatives from the colleges can talk to them about how they can prepare for and get into Purdue. The goal is for the students and alumni to exchange contact information, stay in touch and that the alumni serve as mentors."

Other sessions during the summit include "Your Life Matters," a "Hidden Colors Discussion" and "PSA Projects – Theme: My Life Matters."

The Expo's Summer Celebration is the largest ethnic and cultural event of its kind in the nation and attracts more than 350,000 attendees annually. It provides participants with networking, educational, career and cultural opportunities. Through events such as the celebration, the Expo generates resources to support its key initiatives, including education. Since 1984 the Expo has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to more than 2,000 Indiana students.  

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, gmcclure@purdue.edu

Sources: Annette Brown, 765-494-6969, abbrown@purdue.edu

Ignacio Camarillo, Ignacio@purdue.edu

Jacqueline Hills, associate director – communications and data analytics, Purdue Polytechnic Institute, 765-496- 0094, jfhills@purdue.edu 

Note to Journalists: A schedule for the Youth Leadership Summit is available by contacting Jim Bush at 765-494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu, or Greg McClure, 765-491-9751, gmcclure@purdue.edu 

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