Hello, my name is Brian Flynn. I am a registered professional engineer with 50 years of experience. I have run my own company, was a Founding Partner in the world’s largest environmental consultancy and served as President of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists.
During my lifetime, the population of our planet has increased threefold, and economic activity by a factor of ten. This has put enormous strain on our planetary home- and humanity has responded and abetted this growth by the application of science.
Science Technology Engineering and Math.
Science is the development of knowledge about the physical, chemical, and biological workings of the universe. Engineering is the application of that knowledge to produce the physical artifacts that make our lives easier and more productive. Technology includes things like computer science, analytics, and design. Mathematics is the language that underpins all of this. Together they represent humankind’s greatest conscious achievement.
Progress on the human front has been less even. In my own career, I sometimes wondered why there were not more Black and Hispanic engineers, scientists and computer programmers and mathematicians.
But I did nothing about it.
Recent events have driven home to me that systemic racism is holding all of us back: minority and majority alike. Black and Brown STEM degree holders are under-represented in our population. This is a precious lost intellectual resource. We really cannot afford it.
Sometimes the pieces to a solution are laying around in plain sight. I am a member of two Boards: the Environmental Engineering and Science Foundation as well as the Advisory Board for the Environmental Science Institute (ESI) at The University of Texas-Austin. The former raises money for STEM. The latter has a program specifically designed to encourage minority students to pursue STEM degrees by putting STEM graduate students into Austin schools. This program, Scientist in Residence, supplements and encourages STEM education in these schools, which are majority minority.
The Scientist in Residence program has the potential for making a significant impact on minority students to choose to go into STEM. And it needs our financial help. I ask you to join me in raising money to support the Scientist in Residence program. I certainly will donate, and I urge you to do the same.