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Jan. 21, 2014 12:15 pm

Blacks in Tech gala highlights black Baltimoreans in STEM fields

Students had a chance to mingle with about 25 adults who work at different tech businesses in Baltimore city.

The crowd inside the Baltimore City Robotics Center for a VEX Robotics scrimmage on Jan. 18, the day after the Blacks in Tech gala.

The focus was on black Baltimoreans in STEM fields at the Baltimore City Robotics Center on Friday night.

During a Blacks in Tech gala, 10 students from Walter P. Carter Elementary/Middle School and Morgan State University, as well as some other city high school students, had a chance to mingle with about 25 adults who work at different tech businesses in Baltimore city. The University of Maryland BioPark, biomedical and IT company Juxtopia and the Maryland Science Olympiad were several groups who sent representatives.

Adults and students at Blacks in Tech.

Adults and students at Blacks in Tech.

“The idea was to show high school students the very rich STEM entrepreneurship fields from Baltimore and then get them to interface with these companies directly,” said Paul Mincarelli, director of operations at the Baltimore City Robotics Center.

The impetus for the event itself came out of the “A Day in the Life” series on National Public Radio put together by national radio and television commentator Mario Armstrong. Throughout December, black American tech entrepreneurs used #NPRBlacksInTech to talk about their experiences. (Armstrong, Baltimore city’s first CTO, expressed his regrets on Twitter that he couldn’t attend.)

Mincarelli said the Blacks in Tech event, which was attended by about 50 people, is the first in a series of monthly professional development events at the Baltimore City Robotics Center.

As Technical.ly Baltimore reported, the city robotics center opened in fall 2013 in Hollins Market on an 18-month trial basis as an after-school competitive robotics practice and match space for city school students.

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City, Grist.org, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

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