NBCBLK28: Marvin Carr: Shrinking the Digi Divide

Image: Marvin Carr

Marvin Carr.

Marvin Carr, 28, Washington D.C.

White House Policy Advisor to the United States Chief Technology Officer

Marvin Carr always thought he’d use his engineering degrees to build computers or bombs.

He never imagined he would work as an advisor in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. But it wound up being the perfect gig for the Morgan State University graduate.

After applying for a White House internship on a whim and staying on afterward, Marvin moved into the policy management arena where he focuses on three things: President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, increasing STEM education in disadvantaged schools and improving equal access to broadband Internet.

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This week at the second annual Black Tech Week in Miami, Marvin called computational awareness, "the civil rights issue of our time," hitting on the importance of STEM opportunities during and post-incarceration.

"The key to ensuring that we combat recidivism is either inside the penitentiary or juvenile detention centers, or right after," he explained in a panel discussion on the "Prison to Wealth" pipeline. "So when they leave, instead of giving them an apron and a hammer, you give them a computer and a keyboard to get them the skills they need."

“Tearing down the digital divide” is his self-proclaimed life’s work and, if he is successful with his policies, the move should result in more equal opportunities for everyone.

“We don’t want Black kids, girls or boys, to say ‘I’m bad at math’ or ‘I can’t be a scientist’ because of what the media or what their parents or schools portray,” said Marvin, who holds a PhD. “I really hope to push [this policy] for the rest of my life.”

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NBCBLK presents 28 profiles of notable black entrepreneurs, policy makers, athletes, entertainers, activists, and artists NBCBLK will reveal one profile each day of the month in honor. While some of the honorees are familiar faces, others are pillars of their communities, unsung heroes with stories to tell. #NBCBLK28.

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