This series will feature discussions with STEM professionals to inspire community engagement and student success. 

Event Description

Young professionals hear and feel the need to give back, particularly if they are from under-served communities. But effectively contributing to one’s community is daunting while building one’s resume, paying student loans and balancing demands of work and home. It’s even more daunting for young men of color who face adding obstacles such as limited access to capital and limited role models for local community engagement. 

This Facebook Live series will feature discussions with accomplished Black STEM professionals about their paths to professional success and the means by which they give back to their communities. 

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Date and time

Various dates - February 2021

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM CT


NMSI Facebook




Wednesday, Feb. 10 

Dr. Bernard A. Harris 
CEO, The National Math and Science Initiative

Dr. Harris earned his Doctorate of Medicine from Texas Tech University School of Medicine and completed a Residency in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, a National Research Council Fellowship in Endocrinology at the NASA Ames Research Center, and Flight Surgeon training at the Aerospace School of Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base. He was accepted in the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1990 and completed space flight missions in 1993 and 1995. While at NASA, Dr. Harris conducted research in musculoskeletal physiology and clinical investigations of space adaptation and developed in-flight medical devices to extend Astronaut stays in space.  

On Feb. 9, 1995, Dr. Harris became the first Black man to complete a space walk for NASA. He also was the first astronaut to insert an intravenous line and complete a physical for a fellow crew member. 

After leaving NASA, Dr. Harris founded the Harris Institute and Foundation to support STEM enrichment programs for under-served students around the country. He also became managing partner of Versalius Ventures, a med-tech investment firm. 

Dr. Harris is a founding board member for the National Math and Science Initiative, a nonprofit that works with local school systems nationwide to expand access and achievement in STEM education for all students. 

Click here to view the presentation. 


Monday, Feb. 15

Dr. Frederic Bertley
President and CEO, Center of Science and Industry 

Dr. Bertley holds a Doctorate in Immunology from McGill University and has worked in preventative medicine and basic vaccines in Haiti, The Sudan and the Canadian Arctic. He has served on a vaccine research group at Harvard Medical School focusing on the development of DNA vaccines for HIV/AIDS and has collaborated on educational and science projects in Egypt, Paraguay, Senegal and the Caribbean. 

Prior to joining COSI in Columbus, OH, Dr. Bertley worked as Senior Vice President for Science and Education at the Franklin Institute. 

Click here to view the presentation. 

Wednesday, Feb. 17

Marcus Blackwell
Founder and CEO, Make Music Count 

Mr. Blackwell holds a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Morehouse College. Before founding Make Music Count in 2013, he worked as a modeling analyst for GE Energy and as music director for Elizabeth Baptist Church in Fairburn, Georgia.  

Make Music Count empowers students to learn and apply math concepts using piano notes and popular music from artists such as Cardi B, Lizzo and Beyonce. 

Click here to view the presentation. 


Tuesday, Feb. 23

Branden Williams
Founder and CEO, Seeds 2 STEM 

Mr. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and biological sciences from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He worked in laboratory settings before starting work as a high school biology teacher in 2014. He founded Seeds to STEM in 2012, creating hands-on STEM enrichment opportunities for under-served students in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. 

Click here to view the presentation. 

Thursday, Feb. 25

Arthur Mitchell
Executive Director, STEM Equity Alliance

Mr. Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Howard University and a master’s in education-science education from Temple University. He has served in STEM education leadership positions at state and district levels. He also has worked in education consulting and has served as a collaborator for the Smithsonian Science Education Center for more than 15 years. 

Mr. Mitchell leads the STEM Equity Alliance’s work helping Philadelphia-area school systems more fully engage a rapidly diversifying student population in high-impact culturally responsive STEM education.