Access to STEM education is access to power. Power is the ability to write the national narrative. It is the distinction between the author and the subject. Being an author of the American story is a far more important proposition that merely gaining access to a career in the technology sector. Captains of the technical sector are reshaping the very mechanisms by which American and global cultures exist. The ability to reinvent basic human transactions – with each other and with an evolving array of intelligent systems – is power. Access to power is critical in the 21st century.
Students of color exist in an era where the very value of their lives is an open public debate. Under these circumstances, the motivation for STEM education cannot be only about employment in the technology sector. The motivation for STEM education is about their gaining access to power. It is about their ability to reshape the national narrative on their own terms.
Kamau Bobb is a national authority in STEM education. He is the founding Senior Director of the Constellations Center for Equity in Computing at Georgia Tech. He is an engineer and science and technology policy scholar whose work focuses on the relationship between equity for students and communities of color in the STEM enterprise, large educational systems, and the social and structural conditions that influence contemporary American life.
He brings to his current position a wealth of experience as a former Program Officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF). At NSF he was responsible for $30 million annually of investments targeted on improving computing and STEM education. In that role Dr. Bobb worked at the highest levels of the federal government to help shape the national research agenda for effective means of delivering equitable and quality computational education to all students. He has worked with members of the Office and Science and Technology Policy in the Obama Administration to set the national strategy for STEM education at both post-secondary and secondary school levels. He was selected as a member of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper STEM + Entrepreneurship Taskforce to help U.S. cities craft strategies to engage young men and boys of color in the STEM landscape. Prior to his federal appointment, Dr. Bobb was the Director of the STEM Initiative for the University System of Georgia, a collaborative effort with the governor’s office to improve STEM education across the 30 public institutions serving approximately 325,000 students in the state.
Dr. Bobb brings to STEM education a fierce commitment to equity as an indicator of justice. He has addressed and advised numerous leading tech sector companies, universities and k-12 schools. His writing on STEM education and culture has been featured in The Atlantic, Black Enterprise, The Root, Edutopia and on the Obama White House Blog. His national and state leadership have contributed to a STEM education agenda that is more honest and reflective of contemporary social and cultural realities.
Dr. Bobb holds a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Policy from Georgia Tech and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Lisa and daughter, Sadira.
PROGRAM OFFICER, DIRECTORATE FOR COMPUTER & INFORMATION SCIENCE & ENGINEERING. Direct national research agenda for effective CS education.
CONSULTANT TO THE CENTER FOR SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING CAPACITY. Assessed the effectiveness of elite U.S. Engineering programs in their recruitment and retention of minority students. CHAIR. Selection committee for the Science and Technology Policy Fellows Health, Education & Human Services Program of the Executive Branch Fellowships.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY ANALYST. Led development of regional and national science, technology and innovation plans for clients in the U.S. and Middle East.
NATIONAL BOARD MEMBER. Oversaw financial and programmatic objectives of the organization’s global affairs.
PROGRAM MANAGER. Directed the Engineering Vanguard Program successfully made the case for alternative entrance assessment for black and Hispanic students to post-secondary engineering programs across the country.
EXPERT REVIEWER. Determined allocation of funding for national Chilean Research STEM Centers in Higher Education.
CHAIR, GOVERNING BOARD OF DIRECTORS. Led the separation of the school from the educational management organization and successfully through its first charter renewal process.
MEMBER, SUBCOMMITTEE ON EDUCATION. Determine k-20 education plan for Atlanta as part of the regional development strategic plan.
SOCIAL STUDIES LAB TEACHER. Designed and conducted an Image Lab for four classes of 9th and 10th grade students. Successfully led students to an appreciation of the power of the subjective selection of historical facts and their influence over current realities.
LAB LEADER. Led team of local school leader and education advocates in the development of an plan to raise the graduation rate in Atlanta public schools to 90 percent. Part of a visioning summit for the future of Atlanta.
RESEARCH SCIENTIST. Chief Strategist for STEM education for the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI).
DIRECTOR, STEM INITIATIVE. Led the effort to improve STEM education across the 30 public higher education institutions across the state.
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