For the third year in a row, an NYIT faculty member has been recognized as an inspiring leader in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Luz Minaya (M.S. ’11), director of Field Placement and Certification in NYIT School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Education, has received the 2017 Inspiring Leaders in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education.
“To know Luz is to know that she is absolutely committed to making a difference for kids,” said Jim Martinez, NYIT associate professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, who nominated his colleague for this award.
The Inspiring Leaders in STEM Award honors professionals from underrepresented groups who have made a difference in the fields of STEM. Minaya will be featured along with 39 other recipients in the September 2017 issue.
Winners were selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity based on their efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research, and successful programs and initiatives. “She has shown the way through STEM education and opened up the pipeline to STEM careers for a group of kids who are often overlooked,” Martinez said. As a Latina in technology, Minaya has had to confront the issue that people may question her qualifications and her right to be a professional in the field. “My personal diversity has allowed me to connect to all students, and I believe that my example will help the next generation to wonder less, ‘Should I be here?’” she said.
Minaya’s professional experience in education and technology instruction spans more than 20 years. During her tenure as a teacher in the New York City Department of Education, she served in various positions at the school and district levels and led numerous programs, which gave students and faculty members opportunities to become proficient in technology and other skills.
“This recognition reaffirms my commitment to continue breaking barriers and creating opportunities for all in STEM-related fields, fuels my determination to achieve my goals, and drives a greater sense of responsibility to serve as a model practitioner, student, and colleague to the next generation,” Minaya notes. “I was recently accepted into a doctoral program in Organizational Change and Leadership at the University of Southern California and want to focus my research on creating transformative approaches in teaching and learning in STEM areas, and also incorporate the arts [also known as STEAM],” she adds.
Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, remarked that “We know many of those working in STEM fields, especially those from underrepresented groups, are not always recognized for their success, dedication, and mentorship to others. We want to honor the many professionals who are inspirations to their colleagues, their community, and to young people who may be interested in a future career in STEM. We are proud to honor these leaders as role models to all.”
Minaya is the third NYIT recipient of a prestigious national award from this magazine in as many years. In 2015, Nada Marie Anid, Ph.D., dean of NYIT School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, received a 100 Inspiring Women in STEM Award and in 2016, Brookshield Laurent, D.O., vice chair of Clinical Specialties, NYITCOM at Arkansas State University, was honored with an Inspiring Women in STEM Award.