5 STEM Internships Blerds Should Know About

Internships have always been a great way for individuals to advance in the professional world. Internships provide skill-building workshops, networking opportunities, monetary benefits and sometimes potential for a full-time position with a company.

For you Blerds out there looking for internships in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields to help advance your career, here are five STEM internships you should consider.

1. Minority Educational Institution Student Partnership Program

What: MEISPP is a program that is open to high school students and undergraduate/graduate students with a desire to work in the STEM fields. They provide students with an opportunity to work with experts in science and engineering so they can enhance their career and leadership skills. The program targets underrepresented students, like women and minorities, in STEM fields. The research focuses on policy, business and government relations.

Benefits: Students receive paid lodging, round-trip airfare and monetary compensation.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • 18 and over
  • U.S. citizen
  • Earned no less than 24 semester credits hours
  • Must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate/professional student in an accredited institution of higher education in the fall of 2012
  • Maintain an overall grade point average of 2.8 or above on a 4.0 scale
  • Applicants must demonstrate the following:
    • ​Leadership potential
    • Commitment to public service
    • Interest in energy-related issues
    • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Must fill out an application
  • Must provide a transcript
  • Must have two letters of recommendation


2. Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship Internship Program

What: The Mickey Leland Energy Internship Program was created in honor of the late Texas Congressman Mickey Leland who was a huge proponent of social, cultural and environmental issues. It is a 10-week program that supports underrepresented students in STEM majors by allowing them to work in a mentorship program where they can work with officials whose research falls in line with the Office of Fossil Energy. At the end of the 10 weeks, the students will present their research at a technical forum.

Benefits: Students receive a stipend, housing and transportation

Eligibility requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  • Be currently enrolled full time in an accredited college or university (sophomore year or higher)
  • Participate in the full 10-week program


3. Clean Cities Internships

What: The Clean Cities Internships are unique in that they focus on students who are interested in changing the future of onroad transportation. Students work with Clean Cities Coalition coordinators and stakeholders to plan events, analyze data, research markets and design websites. The program encourages peer exchange, networking, engaging with case studies and doing research. They do hands-on work that involves implementing the use of clean vehicle technologies. Students work toward increasing awareness for things like alternative fuels and the reduction of petroleum. This is all in an effort to improve the overall environment. The internships are available throughout the year.


  • Students who are studying communication, public relations, business marketing, engineering or environmental sciences
  • Fill out an online application


4. The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships Program

What: The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships Program encourages undergraduates interested in STEM careers to apply. The students conduct research at the Department of Energy laboratories (16 locations). The program has three cycles. The summer cycle is a 10-week cycle that starts in May and ends in August. The fall cycle is 16 weeks and starts in August and ends in December. Lastly, the spring cycle, also 16 weeks, begins in January and ends in May.

Benefits: The program provides enrichment activities, professional development and laboratory tours. Students receive a $500 stipend per week. There is opportunity for transportation reimbursement and housing.


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident
  • Must have completed at least one year of school as a matriculating student
  • Must be enrolled in an undergraduate program full time
  • Must have a 3.0 GPA at the time of applying


5. Minority Serving Institutions Internship Program

What: The Minority Serving Institutions Internship Program is a 10-week summer program that  supports undergraduate and graduate students who are high-performing students in the STEM fields. The program provides on-the-job training, opportunities to work on projects in laboratories, federal field offices, etc. Students will be working with some of the nation’s top scientists and engineers. Ultimately, this program allows students to gain experience in their fields of interest so they can make more informed decisions about their futures in STEM.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • A United States citizen at least 18 years of age
  • Attending a participating MSI
  • Enrolled as a degree-seeking student maintaining a minimum of a half-time academic course load (as defined by the educational institution at which the student is enrolled)
  • Maintaining a minimum grade point average of 2.5 and be in good academic standing.
  • Apply to the program





5 Blatant Instances Of Racism in Video Games

Street Fighter

Although most people who grew up playing Street Fighter loved the franchise, it’s hard to overlook the blatant racial overtones of the characters. From Blanka, the savage from Brazil, to Dalsim, the yoga-practicing Indian, to Balrog, the only Black character in the game who’s portrayed as an evil greedy boxer.

Ethnic Cleansing

It’s hard to believe that a game this blatantly racist exists! Developed by Resistance Records, the game lets you play as a Klansman or skinhead in the quest to kill Latinos, Blacks and Jews.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex Human Revolution is a cyberpunk-themed, action role-playing video game developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. Released in 2011, the game was critically acclaimed, except for one particular character, a Black female depicted as Letitia. As reported by time.com:

“Letitia’s a really bad part of a really good game. When lead character Adam Jensen encounters her in Detroit, she’s picking through the trash. It becomes clear that she’s an informant from Jensen’s police days.

“The purpose of talking to Letitia is to move the player forward and give some hints about Jensen’s backstory. Yet in doing so, you encounter something really ugly. Letitia embodies a strain of racist stereotype that renders black people as less than human, as the worst that society has to offer.”


The objective of Scribblenauts, as implied by its catchphrase “Write Anything, Solve Everything,” is to complete puzzles to collect “Starites,” helped by the player’s ability to summon any object (from a database of tens of thousands) by writing its name on the touchscreen.

However, users were able to uncover a particularly unnerving coincidence that when the term “Sambo” was typed, a watermelon appears on the screen and the character of color eats the entire thing and then falls asleep.

Resident Evil 5

The Resident Evil franchise is one of the most popular game franchises of all time, consisting of not just games but a string of movies as well. However, prior to the release of Resident Evil 5, a trailer featured the lead character (who was Caucasian) massacring numerous Black people in an African village, who had been infected with a disease that originated in Africa.

Although the game producers tried to defend their position by saying that other iterations of the game had taken place in other countries, the racial overtones in the trailer were too blatant and did cause serious backlash at the time.

6 Insults Most Blerds Have Heard at Some Point in Their Lives

Being Called an ‘Oreo’

The term “Oreo” is defined as a Black person who is regarded as having adopted the attitudes, values and behaviors thought to be characteristics of middle-class white society, often at the expense of his or her own heritage.

Although Black culture is part of what defines Black people, the idea that the culture is static is completely ludicrous. The term “Oreo” completely discounts the fact that no matter how different a Black person acts in comparison to racial stereotypical images, that can never change his or her skin. So that person still has to deal with the day-to-day racism or injustices that are geared toward Black people.

‘Why Do You Sound/Look White?’

This insult is closely related to the “Oreo” insult. Not only is it offensive for not realizing the dynamics of Black people, it goes a step further in perpetuating the myth that white people somehow have a monopoly on looking, sounding and being intelligent.

‘The Only Reason You Got Into a Good College is Because You’re Black’

This stems from a lack of understanding of how affirmative action works, and believing that it has something to do with filling quotas. The truth is that Black youths have to be quite exceptional to get into a good school, especially when compared to their white counterparts.

Ironically, as many as 15 percent of freshmen at America’s top schools are white students who failed to meet their university’s minimum standards for admission, according to Peter Schmidt, deputy editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education. These kids are “people with a long-standing relationship with the university,” or, in other words, the children of faculty, wealthy alumni and politicians.

According to Schmidt, these unqualified but privileged kids are nearly twice as common on top campuses as Black and Latino students who have benefited from affirmative action.

‘You’re So Articulate …’

This is the ultimate backhanded compliment. Often, the people uttering the phrase truly believe they’re being nice when saying this. However, it is quite an ignorant statement. First, it assumes that the average Black person is dumb and inarticulate, and that the person they’re “complimenting” is so rare it’s like they’ve come into contact with a unicorn. It also assumes that there’s only one acceptable way for smart people to talk.

‘You Look/Remind Me of Urkel/Carlton Banks’

Because of the gross misrepresentation of Black people in mainstream media, characters like Urkel from Family Matters and Carlton from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air are the only archetypes many people have of a Black nerd. However, equating someone as being a Blerd for simply wearing large glasses and “preppy” clothes undervalues the intelligence of true Blerds

‘Being a Sellout’

This insult is particularly offensive because it usually comes from another Black person. While there are many people who have betrayed the Black community, being smart and successful does not automatically make you a “sellout”.

5 STEM Grants and Scholarships for African-Americans

STEM careers are growing at a much faster rate than other industries. The growth is apparent on both the national and global levels. There are many opportunities available to Blerds who have a strong interest in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Here are five grant and scholarship programs created to support innovation, education and entrepreneurship in the STEM fields.

1. Small Business Innovation Research

Five years ago, entrepreneur Kendra Ough attended a Small Business Innovation Research conference. While there, she discovered that there was funding available for small businesses with big ideas.

The Small Business Innovation Research program has been around for more than 30 years with the primary goal of supporting small businesses plan development. They provide grant money to fund research and development, which inevitably gives small businesses a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

There are several agencies that participate in the government-funded program, such as the Department of Agriculture, Education, and Transportation. The basic eligibility requirements include a three-phase process. Some additional requirements are: 50 percent of the business must be owned or controlled by one or more individuals who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents; the business cannot have more than 500 employees; and it must be for profit and located in the U.S.

*Please note that every participating agency has its own additional guidelines. Visit the SBIR site for additional information on eligibility requirements.

2. New York State Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics

This past May, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of the New York State Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Incentive Program. The Higher Education Services Corporation-funded grant is designed to encourage high school students interested in STEM majors in college.

To be eligible for the grant, students must attend a New York state high school, be ranked in the top 10 percentile of their class, and enroll full time in a State University of New York (SUNY) or City University of New York (CUNY) school. For more information visit the HESC website.

3. Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge

The goal of The Conrad Foundation is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. One way the foundation accomplishes this is through the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge. The program, which supports future inventors, scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs, was created in 2008 in honor of astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr.

There is a five-step process to becoming a Conrad Scholar through the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge.
The first step to is to join a team and register for the challenge. Registration is currently open but will end on Oct. 16, 2014.

The second step is to develop an idea or a solution to current problem in one of the four industries: aerospace and aviation; energy; environment and energy; cyber-technology and security; and health and nutrition.

The third step is the initial round and also referred to as the “Investor Pitch.” This pitch is submitted in the form of a short video where teams describe why their innovative idea is valuable. This video is submitted online.

If a team moves on to the second round, which is the fourth step, they will present a business or technical plan that will be a developed from the pitch presented in the initial round. This is also submitted online.

For the final step, teams that advance to the final round will present their innovations in person through marketing and Q&A’s.

If a team wins the third round, the participants will be honored as a Conrad scholars. This honor affords them an opportunity to access seed funding for their innovations, patent support, as well as additional scholarship funding.

4.The STEMPREP Program at Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University is on a mission to increase education and resources for middle-school minority students with an interest in STEM-related careers.

This year the U.S. Department of Defense offered the enrichment program $2.6 million to fund the program. The program promotes early awareness in STEM subjects. and those who complete it often become college graduates and pursue careers in the STEM fields.

The STEMPREP program is available to students anywhere in the U.S. who qualify. Students usually enter the program in their seventh-grade year. If they are successful in the summer program (based on behavior and academics), the student has a chance of being invited back each year until the program ends in the 10th grade.

For a student to be eligible they must complete the application, write an essay, take the SSAT, a standardized exam for students interested in admission to independent schools, and they must provide transcripts from their past three years in school.

The program is an excellent opportunity for students because after their 10th grade year the program helps them access other opportunities, such as research work with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Many of the students who complete the program often become college graduates and pursue careers in the STEM fields.

5.MIT 100K

MIT100K is a dynamic program that has been supporting future entrepreneurs in the STEM fields for the past 25 years.

Through this competition-based program, like-minded individuals from MIT and the outside community come together to strengthen their skills and build on their talents to create new tech firms for the future.
Each year MIT100K awards hundreds of thousands of dollars to winners to help them start their businesses.

13 Top STEM Fields Every Black Student Should Consider And Why

Science and technology hold the key to development and poverty reduction within Black communities worldwide. The U.S. workforce could employ as many as 140,000 additional African-American and Latino college graduates in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields annually, if the gap in college completion in these fields by Blacks and Latinos closed to roughly match that of the white and Asian-American graduation rates, according to a new report released by the Washington-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies think tank.

Black parents who work tirelessly to expose and encourage their offspring into STEM fields increase the likelihood that those children will escape generational suffering caused by joblessness and poverty.

“STEM education gives people the wherewithal for employment in jobs that pay well,” concludes the report. In that regard, here are 13 of the top STEM fields that Black students should consider.

Drilling Engineer/Petroleum Engineer

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Median Annual Salary: $130,280

Projected Job Growth by 2022: 26%

STEM discipline: Engineering

Drilling engineers design and implement procedures to drill oil wells as safely and economically as possible. They are often educated  as petroleum engineers, although they may come from other technical disciplines (e.g., mechanical engineering or geology) and subsequently trained by an oil and gas company.

Employment of petroleum engineers is projected to grow 26 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Oil prices will be a major determinant of employment growth, as higher prices lead to increasing complexity of oil companies’ operations, which requires more engineers for each drilling operation.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Median Annual Salary: $101,360

Projected Job Growth by 2022: 23%

STEM discipline: Math

Math is experiencing something of a renaissance period, sparking careers that are diverse and rewarding. Analytics is a driving force, with mathematical analyses of trends now used to gauge many activities, ranging from Internet-user tendencies to airport traffic control.

Mathematicians rank among the more well-compensated in the Careercast.com’s 2014 Jobs Rated report. The field also has a positive outlook for continued future growth.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Median Annual Salary: $93,680

Projected Job Growth by 2022: 26%

STEM discipline: Math

A job-seeker skilled in mathematics and statistical analysis can find a rewarding opportunity as an actuary. Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk that an event will occur, and they help businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk. Their work is essential to the insurance industry. The career is challenging, and becoming an actuary requires passing a series of exams.

The expansion of health care coverage to more Americans leads the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to project a very favorable hiring market for actuaries in the years to come.

Software Engineer

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Median Annual Salary: $93,350

Projected Job Growth by 2022: 22%

STEM discipline: Computer Science, Engineering

Computer technology is always changing and becoming more sophisticated, and software engineers are the creative minds behind programs that drive the technology. Some software engineers develop the applications that allow people to perform specific tasks on a computer or mobile device. The latest wave in the field is cloud computing, and companies need software engineers able to meet this and other adaptations in the most fundamental facet of 21st century business.

Computer Systems Analyst/Technology Analyst

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Median Annual Salary: $79,680

Projected Job Growth by 2022: 25%

STEM discipline: Computer Science, Engineering

A computer systems analyst examines an organization’s current computer systems and procedures and designs information systems solutions to help the company operate more efficiently and effectively.

The analyst is a critical component of business practice, and growth in cloud computing, cyber-security, mobile networks, and conversion of hard copy files into digital formats will increase the importance of this specialty in the future.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Median Annual Salary: $75,560

Projected Job Growth by 2022: 27%

STEM discipline: Math

Statisticians use statistical methods to collect and analyze data to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, the sciences, or other fields. Statistical analysis is of growing importance to a wide spectrum of industries, thus professional statisticians are in high demand.

Mining Engineer/Geological Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Median Annual Salary: $84,320

Projected Job Growth by 2022: 12%

STEM discipline: Engineering

Mining and geological engineers design mines for the safe and efficient removal of minerals, such as coal and metals for manufacturing and utilities. Geological engineers use their knowledge of  the earth’s physical structure to search for mineral deposits and evaluate possible sites.

Employment of mining and geological engineers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all American occupations.

9 Blerd Celebrities Who Are Taking Over Pop Culture

blerd tyson Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist, author and advocate of science literacy. He is currently the Frederick P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and a research associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

From 2006 to 2011, Tyson hosted the educational science television show NOVA ScienceNow on PBS, and he has been a frequent guest on other TV shows, including The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher. Since 2009, he has hosted the weekly radio show StarTalk.

In 2014, Tyson began hosting a TV science documentary series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, an update of late astrophysicist Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, a 1980s television series.

Tyson has also appeared on television episodes of sitcom The Big Bang Theory and sci-fi series  Stargate Atlantis.

blerd rhimes

Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is a screenwriter, director, and producer, who is best known as creator, head writer, and executive producer of the medical drama television series Grey’s Anatomy, its spin-off Private Practice, and the political thriller series, Scandal.

In May 2007, the popular Hollywood writer was named one of Time magazine’s 100 people who help shape the world.  Rhimes has a new legal series on ABC, How to Get Away with Murder, which will air in the 2014-15 season.

Rhimes, who describes her self as a “nerd” says one of her favorite activities is to watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee and to “nerd out” while blogging about the competition.

“I’ve been watching the bee forever. Way back, when it was first on ESPN is when I first started watching. I’ve been watching forever. I’m a nerd that way, but I was very into it and a bee nerd in school,” she said.

Rhimes attended Dartmouth College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree, and the University of Southern California where she received a Master of Fine Arts from the School of Cinema-Television.

blerd glover

Donald Glover

Donald Glover is an actor, comedian, rapper, writer and proud Black nerd, who first became popular for his work with the Internet comedy sketch group, Derrick Comedy.

From 2006 to 2009, he was a writer for the NBC comedy series 30 Rock. He was also cast in the role of Troy Barnes in the television series Community, and in 2010, he starred in a stand-up special on Comedy Central network.

Glover released his debut album as a hip-hop artist the next year,  followed by a second release in 2013. The young star graduated from New York University with a degree in dramatic writing.

Melissa Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry is a professor at Tulane University, television host and political commentator with a focus on African-American politics. Harris-Perry hosts a weekend news and opinion television show on MSNBC.

Before working for MSNBC,  she taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago. Harris-Perry is also a regular columnist for the magazine The Nation, the author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, and founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South.

Harris-Perry attended Wake Forest University where she received a bachelor’s degree in English, and Duke University where she earned a doctorate in political science.

7 Things to Do Before Becoming An Entrepreneur

So, you want to be an entrepreneur? Well, like most things in life, it’s not for everybody. There’s a quote that says, “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life the way most people won’t, so you can spend the rest of your life living the way most people can’t,” and for the most part that’s true.

Since entrepreneurship is not for the weak or the weary,  we give you seven things to consider before you decide to make the plunge.

Be Passionate About Your Product

For some, it may be easy to work a 9 to 5 job that you aren’t passionate about, but if you’re an entrepreneur launching a product or service, how do you expect consumers or investors to be excited about your product if you aren’t?

As your own boss, you become the chief salesperson and your enthusiasm has to make others believe in you. Another reason you must believe in your product or service is because entrepreneurship has many peaks and valleys and you’re going to need determination to get you through unpredictable times.

Cleanse Your Social Media Profiles

Prospective employees are often told to clean up their social media profiles, but entrepreneurs must do the same especially when they are taking meetings with potential investors.

Sometimes it’s not enough to dress the part, you also have to take into account that people will check your Linked In profile, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. You have to be mindful of the photos you post since they could be misinterpreted.

Have a 12-Month Plan

If you’re not organized or don’t like to plan, then entrepreneurship may not be for you.

Be prepared to write your business plan more than once and it will need to be looked over by professionals and trusted colleagues. Your 12-month plan should include your personal and business budget.

In the calendar section of your business plan, you need to include vacation, medical appointments and important events.

Know Your Finances

Finances are a large part of being an entrepreneur and you’ll need to take care of any outstanding debt before pursuing your goals.

Downsizing and creating a monthly budget are effective ways to pay off debt. As an entrepreneur you may not get your first paycheck for months, so you will need to have 12 months of savings to pay your bills.

Know That You Can’t Stop At Just One Product

An entrepreneur is essentially an innovator, and as an innovator, you have to keep, well, innovating.

This basically means that after you launch a product or service, you have to keep up the momentum and stay ahead of the innovation curve. To consistently develop products means that you’ll have to spend money. Companies rarely, if ever, survive with just one product.

Be Good at Making Decisions

If you’re indecisive or can’t make decisions without the input of others, you might want to rethink becoming an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs are responsible for the successes and failures of their businesses. They have to make decisions about working from home or leasing office space, hiring employees, targeting high-end clients or selling to the masses, advertising, borrowing money, using savings and more.

The decisions become more complex after employees are hired and the company starts succeeding.

Maintain Balance 

Entrepreneurs don’t take days off and working nonstop often means neglecting your life outside of work, which can cause burnout and a subsequent decline in business.

While maintaining a personal life with family, friends and hobbies, you must also know how to limit distractions from entrepreneurial pursuits.

Balance is all about maintaining good health and mental welfare, while still working toward your goals.