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FBISD’s Blue Ridge Elementary students experience Fluor’s African American Pioneers traveling museum (1/14/2022)

Fort Bend ISD (January 14, 2022) – Blue Ridge Elementary School fourth and fifth grade students received a history lesson this week on African American pioneers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture and Math (STEAM) thanks to Fluor Corporation. 

The corporation partnered with the Fort Bend Education Foundation to bring the exhibit to Blue Ridge. The traveling museum gave students the opportunity to view more than 100 inventions and read about pioneers’ contributions to society. Students also took part in a presentation by Barbara Jones, Senior Manager of Community Relations and Public Affairs at Fluor, and curator of the traveling museum.

“We were excited to have the exhibit featured at our campus,” Blue Ridge Elementary School Librarian Roslyn Underwood said. “It gave students the opportunity to learn about inventors they may not have heard about.” 

An extensive display in the library of artifacts and information about African American pioneers included:

· Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett – one of the top scientists responsible for developing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

· Dr. Vivien Theodore Thomas – co-developer of a procedure to treat blue baby syndrome (or Cyanotic heart disease)

· Dr. Marian R. Croak – a prolific inventor in the voice and data communication fields, best known for developing Voice Over Internet Protocols (VoIP)

· Charles Rich and Fredrick Douglas Patterson – first African American automakers

· Solomon Harper – thermostatic controlled hair curlers, combs and irons

· Bertha Berman – fitted bed sheets

· Dr. Joseph N. Jackson – programmable television receiver controllers, fertility prediction devices, and inventions in the areas of aircraft security and tracking systems 

During her presentation, Jones highlighted inventor Lewis Latimer. He improved Thomas Edison’s light bulb so that it would last 1,200 hours, as opposed to 14.5 hours as originally designed. Jones also shared how she researches inventors and obtains artifacts for the traveling museum she created.

“Some of what you see are actual inventions and some are examples or salesperson samples,” she said. “The exhibit moves around from place to place and has grown over the years.”

The traveling museum served as a great visual to help spark students’ interest in STEAM. It also served as a precursor to additional resources FBISD libraries will receive thanks to Fluor. The corporation has partnered with the district to fund the African American Inventors eBook Collection grant. The funding will allow the district to expand its eBook collection to include approximately 500 new titles. All FBISD students in grades K-12 will have access to the materials, as the eBook collection is available through all school library programs.