A group of students gets a tour of the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Lab as part of the My Brothers Keeper Initiative. | Photo courtesy of Lawrence Livermore National Lab.
At the Department of Energy we are constantly looking for new ideas and creative solutions to combat some of our world’s biggest issues: nuclear security, climate change and energy security, to name a few.
These challenges can only be met if we have all hands on deck with a diverse workforce from all different backgrounds who are engaged in science and solutions. That’s why the Department launched the Minorities in Energy Initiative in 2013. That’s why we highlight Women in STEM on the Energy.gov website. And that’s why I joined President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force in March.
The My Brother’s Keeper Initiative aims to address the persistent opportunity gaps faced by young men of color in this country. As part of the task force, the Energy Department hopes to encourage minority students to explore the abundance of opportunities at their disposal in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Recently, members of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative from across the country visited three of our National Labs and the Science Museum of Minnesota to learn a little about all the possibilities that come with pursuing STEM.
At Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California, groups of young men from Oakland and San Francisco got a tour of the National Ignition Facility to learn about the world’s most powerful laser. They also created “elephant toothpaste” during a hands-on experiment.
At the Science Museum of Minnesota, American Indian students met with Energy Department officials and shared their ideas of how to make STEM more exciting, before setting off to explore the museum.
And at the National Energy Technology Lab in Pennsylvania, about 130 minority students made balloon rockets and marshmallow towers, used energy monitors to figure out energy consumption of various household appliances, and learned about the work the lab does to predict and prevent oil spills.
By showing these students how fun and exciting science can be, we hope to inspire them to continue their STEM education, so that one day we can tackle these tough energy challenges together.