About Spark The Mind: Advancing the Agenda fro African-Americans in STEM

This conference seeks to examine opportunities to advance the agenda in STEM for African-Americans from a PK-16 continuum—meaning addressing challenges and opportunities at key touchpoints that include, early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, higher education and graduate school education—that leads to successful STEM careers.

Spark the Mind takes a very novel approach in addressing these STEM opportunities by providing voices to individuals on the frontline of African-American STEM advancement and change:

  • · Elementary, middle school and high school African-American students from various school districts in the region and homeschooled who are in the STEM ecosystem.

  • · Educators at the PK-12 level who have a vested interest in moving the STEM agenda forward for African-Americans students and have found tremendous STEM success with them.

  • · Parents who have created innovative and dynamic approaches to providing STEM opportunities for their children and other African-American children.

  • · African-American STEM Professionals and college students representing higher education and various STEM professions providing expert discussion on experiences, challenges and opportunities.

  • · Discussion with Program Officers from the National Science Foundation to discuss African-American STEM advancement from a policy and advocacy perspective.

Launch Site
Services Provided:
  • Art Direction
  • Design, Illustration
  • Front-end/Back-end Development
  • Digital Signage
  • Seo Analysis


Kick Off Party

The conference will kick-off with NASA Scientist, Dr. Aprille Ericsson. With a remarkable journey and an extraordinary career, she is guaranteed to inspire. Acknowledging the importance of the Arts in developing critical thinking skills, creativity, discipline and resilience, there will be short performances throughout the conference by African-American artists, entitled, The “A” in STEM.

STEM Trailblazer Award

A highlight of the conference will be the presentation of the STEM Trailblazer Award to Dr. Claudia Rankins, Program Officer of Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) at the National Science Foundation and Dr. A. James Hicks, Program Officer of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP). This will take place on Thursday evening following the panel discussion.

Poster Presentation

There will be an emphasis on undergraduate STEM scholarship with poster presentations from STEM researchers from both Harris-Stowe State University and Missouri State University. The research posters will be available for viewing on Thursday, and through the noon hour on Friday, April 5. Please support these scholars by stopping by their presentations. The poster presentations will be on the main floor outside the auditorium.

Spark the Mind is very fortunate to have leading regional and national STEM advocates under one conference. The ultimate goal is that you will be inspired, challenged, leaving the conference optimistic and motivated in moving the agenda for Africa-Americans in STEM! Please check out the conference book for times and information on the other STEM participants and sessions.

Strategic Partnership

Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU)

Founded in 1857, Harris-Stowe State University is a historically black public university located in St. Louis, Missouri offering the most affordable bachelor’s degree in the state of Missouri. The university is a fully accredited four-year institution with more than 50 majors, minors and certificate programs in education, business and arts and sciences. Harris-Stowe’s mission is to provide outstanding educational opportunities for individuals seeking a rich and engaging academic experience. HSSU’s programs are designed to nurture intellectual curiosity and build authentic skills that prepare students for leadership roles in a global society.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) established the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) in 2000 to assist HBCUs in their effort to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and research capacity as a means to broaden participation in the Nation’s STEM workforce. HBCU-UP provides awards to develop, implement, and study innovative models and approaches for making dramatic improvements in the preparation and success of underrepresented minority students so that they may participate in STEM graduate programs and the workforce. Support is available for Implementation Projects (including Achieving Competitive Excellence), Broadening Participation Research Projects, Targeted Infusion Projects, Planning Grants, Research Initiation Awards, and other funding opportunities.

It is an honor to have both program officers—Dr. Claudia Rankins (HBCU-UP) and Dr. A. James Hicks (LSAMP)—at Spark the Mind and honor both with a STEM Trailblazer Award.

- Dwaun J. Warmack, Ed.D.