July 12, 2017

Purdue to focus on STEAM, Purdue Polytechnic High School Indianapolis, youth development at 2017 Indiana Black Expo

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – STEAM education, Purdue Polytechnic High School Indianapolis and youth development will be Purdue University's focuses at the 47th annual Summer Celebration of the Indiana Black Expo.

The Expo started July 6 and concludes July 16 in Indianapolis. Purdue will have an exhibit and is sponsoring the Youth Leadership Summit, called "Full STEAM Ahead," July 14-16 at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis.

Purdue Polytechnic High School will welcome its first incoming class of 150 ninth-grade students on July 31. The STEM-focused charter high school is temporarily located at Union 525 building in downtown Indianapolis. Formerly the home to Manual and Wood high schools, the building brings a rich history of learning and education. 

The school will offer a strong foundation in personalized learning, project- and problem-based design thinking, rigorous academic preparation for careers and college, career pathways through industry partnerships, and supportive relationships with staff and industry mentors.

The high school was created through the vision of leaders at Purdue University and the city of Indianapolis with the support of Indianapolis Public Schools and several community and industry partners. 

Purdue Polytechnic High School students who meet Purdue University admission criteria will have direct admittance to the Purdue Polytechnic Institute in West Lafayette, Indiana. 

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

"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 students from across the state of Indiana and plant a seed with them that Purdue can provide them with a world-class college education, and they should consider becoming a Boilermaker."

Brown said the exhibition also will include activities such as the College of Science's "Is Your Hand a Good Thermometer?” which will allow guests to experience hot and cold sensation with their fingers and discover how subjective their sensation toward temperature can be.

The Office of Admissions also will have a presence at the booth, offering information on Purdue and how its staff can assist in the application process.

Again this year, the Envision Center, will provide a virtual reality exploration of space through Oculus Rift Technology.

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 STEAM field as well as prepares them to go back and make a difference in their communities," Brown said.

Seven current Purdue students and two recent graduates will serve as volunteer ambassadors. They will assist with mentoring the Youth Leadership Summit participants, sharing their Purdue experiences and providing tips on how to prepare for college and what to expect when they arrive on campus.

During the event, Purdue will present a breakout session, "The STEAM Games," from 1:15-3 p.m. Friday (July 14) on science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math, or STEAM, topics and careers. Ignacio Camarillo, associate professor of biological sciences, and 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 25 Purdue Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation undergraduate research scholars will assist, engage and mentor the high school student participants.

"The session creates problem-solving and team-building opportunities while students learn about STEM careers and commonly required STEM skills," Lawson said. "Students will face team challenges where knowledge gleaned from brief introductions is used to solve several real-world 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 well-informed decisions regarding potential future careers. The STEAM games provide a healthy competition and allow each student to realize the variety of critical individual and team skills these students possess and can further nurture."

Another Purdue-led youth summit event will be Discover Purdue from 3:15-5 p.m. on Friday (July 14).  This event will allow participants to join Purdue’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Student Success Programs and Black Cultural Center to experience a high-energy stage performance from the newly formed Purdue Express. The Purdue University Black Cultural Center was awarded a Diversity Transformation Award from the Office of the Provost to develop a performance-based touring company designed to recruit underrepresented minority students to Purdue University. The performance will feature Purdue students as cultural ambassadors in a high-energy, 30-minute stage performance. Under the direction of the Black Cultural Center’s artist in residence James Dekle, the presentation will highlight Purdue's cultural and artistic diversity to inform high school students and their families about the history of Purdue, academic majors, campus life and diversity initiatives. Participants also will hear from a variety of departments across campus and learn about programs and services available to students who attend Purdue.

A new component to Purdue’s presence at this year’s Black Expo will be the addition of two Discover Purdue sessions on Saturday (July 15). Invitations have gone out to students from across the state who are eligible for the 21st Century Scholars Program, inviting them and their parents to attend one of two sessions (10 a.m. to noon or 1-3 p.m.) and learn about programs and services at Purdue as well as encourage them to consider Purdue as their choice for higher education. The Purdue Express also will perform at these events.

Other sessions during the summit include “Fishbowl Conversations,” which is a facilitated dialogue designed to allow students to pick topics from a fishbowl and to practice engaging in critical dialogue, ultimately increasing their communication skills; “Real Talk,” which will focus on conflict resolution; and Build-A-Biz, in which students will work together to create a business from the ground up.

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: Tim Doty, 765-496-2571, doty2@purdue.edu

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

Ignacio Camarillo, Ignacio@purdue.edu

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