July 6, 2016

Purdue to focus on STEM, Purdue Polytechnic High School Indianapolis, youth development at 2016 Indiana Black Expo

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – STEM education, Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis High School and youth development will be Purdue University's focuses at the 46th annual Summer Celebration of the Indiana Black Expo.

The Expo starts Thursday (July 7) and concludes July 17 in Indianapolis. Purdue will have an exhibit and is sponsoring the Youth Leadership Summit, called "Your Life Matters," July 15-17 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Indianapolis.

Information about Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis High School will be available at the remodeled Purdue 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 year 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.

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.

"I'm excited about continuing our relationship with Indiana Black Expo," Brown said. "I think it's so vital that our youth are given the tools to prepare for college. Our partnership with Indiana Black Expo gives us a chance to connect with them and plant a seed with them that Purdue could be for them and they could become a Boilermaker."

Brown said the exhibition also will include activities such as the College of Science's "Smell Your Taste," which will explore the connection between smell and taste, and Krannert School of Management's "Business School 101," during which attendees will learn about fundamental aspects of business such as the importance of a strong handshake and proper etiquette at a business dinner.

The Office of Admissions also will have a presence at the booth, offering information on how it can assist in the application process, and Purdue police Capt. Keene Red Elk will talk about the duties and requirements of police officers and encourage students to consider a law-enforcement career.

New to the Purdue exhibit will be the Envision Center, which will provide a virtual reality exploration of space through Oculus Rift Technology, and robots that are controlled by hand gestures, which were created by Karthik Ramani, the Donald W. Fedderson Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Ramani will demonstrate the robots on July 16 at the exhibit.

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.

"We hope the summit serves as a springboard for getting the participants excited about the possibility of college and a career in the STEM fields as well as prepare them to go back and make a difference in their communities," Brown said.

Ten Purdue students will serve as ambassadors to help mentor summit participants as well as share their Purdue experience and give participants tips on how to prepare for college and what to expect in college.

During the event, Purdue will present a breakout session, "The STEM Games," from 3-5:15 p.m. Friday (July 15) on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, topics and careers. Shaneka Lawson, research plant physiologist with the USDA Forest Service and adjunct assistant professor of forestry and natural resources, and Ignacio Camarillo, associate professor of biological sciences and director of the Purdue Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program, will lead the session.

Camarillo said 30 Purdue LSAMP undergraduate research scholars will assist, engage and mentor the high school student participants.

"The session creates problem-solving opportunities that facilitate students learning about STEM careers and commonly required STEM skills," Lawson said. "Students will face team challenges where knowledge gleaned from brief introductions from faculty is used to solve several scientific problems. Students must be creative as activities will emphasize areas of undergraduate STEM training to Indiana minority students."

Camarillo said, "Our primary objective is to encourage these students to make better informed decisions regarding potential future careers. The STEM games promote each student to be more proactive in unique ways and provide a healthy competition to reveal the valuable individual and team skills these students possess."

Another Purdue-led youth summit event will be speed networking, from 3-5:15 p.m. on July 15.

"This is an opportunity for participants to connect with representatives of our schools and colleges, and find out how they can begin to prepare for college," Brown said. "Like speed dating, participants will get to talk at one table for a certain amount of time and go on to every table by the time the session ends. They also will receive contact information of the representatives so they can have a point of contact in each college and know who they can call or email."

Other sessions during the summit include a play called "Killadelphia," which will give students an opportunity to discuss the violence across the nation over the past year and the impact it's had on them, and "Real Talk," a facilitated discussion of issues that concern Indiana teenagers.

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

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