COVID-19 to be focus of STEM conference

Photo courtesy FAMU School of the Environment on Facebook.

The National Technical Association has announced that its annual STEM conference will be held virtually this year amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The conference is scheduled for Sept. 23-26.

The theme will be 2020 vision, and keeping it 100.

Incorporated in 1926, the National Technical Association (NTA) is the oldest African American technical organization in the United States. NTA has members from a diverse group of disciplines such as science, math and technology, as seen on

Richard Schulterbrandt Gragg IIIa FAMU professor of environmental science and policy, serves as NTA’s president.

“I will be welcoming attendees to the National Technical Association 92nd Annual Conference. One of the significant conversations will be ‘telling our story.’ NTA has a rich, impactful and varied history,” he said. “We will celebrate our 100th year in 2025. NTA is the oldest African American STEM organization. We are a major voice for STEM diversity and inclusion; mentoring young professionals; and advocating for and supporting STEM majors and advanced degrees.

“Our members are scientists, engineers, architects, physicists, mathematicians, technologists, entrepreneurs and businesspeople, who are recognized in their fields and for their innovative contributions to and leadership in American science and technology in both the private and public sectors,” he added.

This year’s conference will address the new norm COVID-19, an airborne reparatory disease that has  already claimed the lives of more than 2.47 million people to date.

When asked howCOVID-19 has impacted the NTA conference, Felicia Davis, the sustainability directorat Clark Atlanta University, said, “We made the decision to go virtual early on and this greatly enhanced our ability to move forward.  NTA has members across the nation so we are accustomed to communicating via conference calls. We now use Zoom for most meetings, and it is helpful to see the faces of our committee members as we work.  The toll that COVID is taking on the Black community weighs heavily in our thinking and we are incorporating this as a major theme,” she said.

Major speakers have not been confirmed, but Clark Atlanta University’s President, George T. French, will be the host.

“Much of the conference conversation with focus on HBCU adaptation to a new normal inspired by COVID-19 this will include impacts on STEM education, healthcare and technology. Climate change is another important topic on the agenda. The current push for racial justice and equity is connected to all topics framed with relation to HBCUs and the communities we serve,”Davis said.