“The pipeline is leaking.” This sentiment was added by William Floyd and summarizes the Tuesday panel on “Ensuring a Diverse Flow in the STEM Pipeline,” hosted by the New York Urban League. The event was held at the CUNY Gradu- ate Center on Fifth Avenue.

The Urban League encourages student academ- ic achievement, readies individuals for career ad- vancement and guides adults and students alike in technology education support. This specific panel supported an emphasis on science, tech- nology, engineering, and math, or STEM, as it has come to be called. Panelists included Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong; Kimberly Downer, parent of NYUL’s NEXT Academy students; William Floyd, the head of external affairs for Google; Debbie Marcus, deputy executive director of strategy and innovation in the Office of Postsecondary Readiness at the New York City Department of Education;and Arva R. Rice, president and CEO of the New York Urban League. The panel was mod- erated by Ben Chapman, an education reporter from the New York Daily News.

The Urban League is specifically looking to en- courage minority students in underprivileged city areas to join STEM programs and go into these in- dustries. According to Chong, “The biggest chal- lenges are money and partnerships.” He added that states must ask themselves, “How do you engage young people?”

Chong offered that when thinking about these things, “The diversity of experiences is important … this is about exposing young people to different experiences and also to start laying the ground- work to career paths.”

Going along with Chong’s sentiments, Floyd noted, “If we want to grow and broaden tech talent here in the city, we are going to have to start doing things differently. It’s less on the students and more on the teachers side … kids are not the only ones who are scared of technology and com- puter science.”

According to a parent of NYUL’s NEXT Acade- my, the most crucial step in a child’s success is parental support. Parents need to not only “sup- port your child at home but support them in the school environment [as well]. This leads to more confident students who are willing to step outside of their comfort zones in order to achieve dreams they may have never thought possible.”

Floyd added, “We want kids to start building up their skills, but more importantly, building their self-confidence … and start thinking, ‘I can do this.’ For us, this is critically important.”

For more information, visit www.nyul.org or get your free STEM guide from www.nyul.org/?page_ id=2990&preview=true.