Cincinnati Museum Center partners with My Brother’s Keeper and Sen. Brown for STEM career panel

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) is celebrating Black History Month by highlighting Black professionals in STEM fields. Online panels and discussions will inspire the next generation of STEM professionals in hopes of addressing the lack of diversity in science fields.

In partnership with My Brother’s Keeper Ohio, the Kirwan Institute at The Ohio State University and Senator Sherrod Brown’s office, CMC is hosting an impressive panel of STEM experts from industry, entrepreneurship and higher education as part of the My Brother’s Keeper Ohio Virtual Leadership Series. Creating Your STEM Career Path will go live on Thursday, February 11 at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

The panel will be moderated by Calvin Harper, a former NASA engineer and current director of CMC’s Youth Programs, who will be joined by Joshua Williams and Isaac Wilson, two Youth Programs participants. Among the panelists are Brian and Candice Matthews Brackeen, general partners of Lightship Capital, a $50 million Cincinnati-based venture capital firm dedicated to backing underrepresented entrepreneurs in the Midwest. Brian is also a thought leader in artificial intelligence and has founded and led a globally recognized provider of facial recognition technologies. In addition to her work at Lightship Capital, Candice brings over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience to the field and is founder and CEO of Hillman, an entrepreneur education program for tech startups.

Damon Frost, CIO of Procter & Gamble’s global beauty business, will also join the panel. Frost has spent 24 years with P&G and leads the IT and digital capabilities of powerhouse brands Head & Shoulders, Pantene, Olay and Old Spice while guiding an IT organization of over 100 people.

Dr. Whitney Gaskins, assistant dean of inclusive excellence and community engagement in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, will round out the panel. She is the only African American female currently on the teaching faculty in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. In 2009, Dr. Gaskins founded the Gaskins Foundation to educate and empower the Black community, which recently launched a new program to introduce more students to math and science.

President Barack Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper in February 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and to ensure all youth can reach their full potential. Since then, the MBK Alliance has taken the movement nationwide, including to several MBK chapters in Ohio initiated by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.

“As we celebrate Black ingenuity this month, it’s also a time to reaffirm our commitment to empowering the next generation of Black leaders. This important partnership with Cincinnati Museum Center will help connect MBK Ohio students with STEM professionals and teach them about STEM career opportunities that are available to them,” said Senator Brown. “These kinds of partnerships are really what MBK is all about – it’s showing more Black and brown kids that there is a whole network of people who want to open doors for you and nurture your interests and your passions – whatever they may be.”

CMC will also host two virtual STEM Girls programs with Black scientists. On February 11, CMC will speak with Brandon Reynolds, better known as B the Keeper. As a beekeeper, B is working to protect the critical pollinators in our community and to find ways to incorporate them into people’s own homes. He’s providing residential and corporate landscaping services to create habitats for bees using native plants that not only add aesthetic value but may reduce landscape maintenance cost and will critically provide homes for bees who play a large role in the vibrancy of our ecosystem.

On February 25, Dr. Louito Edje from UC Health will join STEM Girls. Dr. Edje is a board-certified family physician and associate dean of Graduate Medical Education at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. In addition to sharing her experience as a Black doctor in a predominantly white field (in 2019, only 5% of physicians in the US were Black), Dr. Edje also touches on the COVID-19 vaccine trials, the importance of Black and Latinx communities getting the vaccine and how being a Black doctor has affected her patients. Both STEM Girls programs are released virtually on CMC social media channels.

For more information, visit cincymuseum.org

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