TC's Christopher Emdin Named "Minorities in Energy" Ambassad... | Teachers College Columbia University

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TC's Christopher Emdin Named "Minorities in Energy" Ambassador by U.S. Energy Department

TC’s Christopher Emdin has been appointed a “Minorities in Energy Ambassador” by the US Department of Energy (DOE). Emdin, Associate Professor of Science Education, was one of seven new ambassadors and champions inducted on November 19. They joined about 30 senior leaders from industry, government, academia, and nonprofits who are working to increase engagement of minority and tribal communities in the nation’s energy sector, with a focus on minority-owned businesses and workers.

Emdin delivered the keynote address for the event and called for a new focus on creating pipelines to careers in science and energy through mentoring and innovative teaching practices.

“I am honored to be named an ambassador with the Minorities in Energy Initiative,” he said, “which exemplifies and advances the work I do with public school teachers and students around the country:  To get them interested in and motivated to study science and to envision STEM careers for themselves.”

The ambassadors were inducted at the second annual forum for the DOE’s “Minorities in Energy Initiative” at Lockheed Martin's Global Vision Center in Arlington, Virginia. At the ceremony, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz said that expanding the participation of minorities in the energy sector, as well as expediting energy efficiency standards and advancing the use of clean technology, are his priorities as secretary.

Though the energy sector has flourished in the past several years, some have expressed continuing concern about the lack of equal access in minority communities to clean energy and about lack of diversity in energy-related fields.
In September 2013, the DOE launched the “Minorities in Energy Initiative” to promote minority engagement and success in three areas: 

  • STEM Education and Workforce Development (where Emdin is active);
  • Energy Economic Development; and
  • Climate Change

Emdin is one of 37 ambassadors working with a newly formed “Industry Partners Network” – including  Areva, Lockheed Martin, BP America and Shell Oil – to promote "inclusion, access and engagement by minorities in the energy sector," according to the DOE. The agency also released a strategic plan for the initiative that includes objectives such as "leveraging" ambassadors and partnerships "to elevate the conversation of minority engagement in energy."

According to the strategic plan, “energy is the lifeblood of the country’s infrastructure, security, and economy. Access to reliable and affordable energy is a staple of quality of life for families and communities, and an economic opportunity for minority-owned businesses and individuals.”

Emdin said he will use the DOE support to promote and expand his work with students and teachers in using youth culture to teach science, and expand his newest initiative, The STEM Genius Academy; which introduces urban youth to careers in STEM, and provides pathways to STEM careers.

Published Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014