Holly Robinson Peete, Randal Pinkett Co-host and Malena Pérez Entertains at The National GEM Consortium’s 30th Anniversary Gala “Storied Past, Bright Future”

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The National GEM Consortium's past includes compelling stories about the experiences of African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanic Americans pursuing the highest levels of academic and professional achievement. Our future celebrates a diverse community of stakeholders committed to fulfilling our mission: enhancing the value of the nation’s human capital by increasing the participation of underrepresented groups at the master’s and doctoral levels in engineering and science. Actor and author Holly Robinson-Peete and Randal Pinkett, entrepreneur and winner of Apprentice 4, will co-host the dinner awards program. Songstress Malena Pérez brings a jazzy Latin groove to the evening’s entertainment. This 30th anniversary event at the InterContinental Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, remembers the great work by many on behalf of students from ethnic groups historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. It also anticipates much more good to accomplish.

Holly Robinson Peete and Randal Pinkett are set to host the 30th Anniversary Gala of The National GEM Consortium, and singer Malena Pérez will perform, executive director Michele Lezama announced today.

Lezama said, "Holly is the quintessential host — smart, engaging, funny, and an experienced performer that all audiences instantly relate to. And to have such an accomplished woman of color co-host our event I hope will be proof for the many young women who will attend that you must set your goals high and not be deterred by those who may say, ‘You can’t.’ You can’t do math, you can’t be a scientist or engineer, or you can’t have a satisfying and demanding career and a happy family."

As for Pinkett, entrepreneur and winner of Apprentice 4, "I know Randal personally from my tenure with the National Society of Black Engineers," Lezama said. “In the past he and his business partner have participated in GEM’s graduate student programming, so there are connections on many levels between he and GEM. Randal is a perfect example of the level of science and engineering talent that is available, and largely untapped, in our communities that our nation must do a better job of cultivating.” She continued, “To have Malena as our entertainment for this special evening is icing on the cake.”

GEM President Ronald E. Goldsberry, PhD, echoed Lezama's enthusiasm. "I'm very excited these terrific talents are joining us for the gala," he said. "Holly, Randal and Malena are superb choices for this important event which launches GEM’s capital campaign to increase our capacity to award master’s and doctorate fellowships to underrepresented students in science and engineering."

For close to two decades, Holly Robinson Peete has been a television star with high-profile roles that cross over between comedy and drama. Snagging her first acting gig on the award-winning children’s show Sesame Street at the age of four, she knew her heart was in showbiz by the time she entered college. Once she graduated, Holly landed the role of Officer Judy Hoffs on the hit series 21 Jump Street. From there, her career soared to admirable heights with starring roles on long-running sitcoms Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, For Your Love and Like Family. Currently Holly stars as Clea on Love, Inc., the new UPN comedy where Holly portrays the founder of Love, Inc., a full-service dating service, who is going through a separation from her husband. Holly can now also be called author, with the recent release of her book, “Get Your Own Damn Beer, I’m Watching the Game: A Women’s Guide to Loving Pro Football,” (Rodale). Married to NFL quarterback, Rodney Peete, she enjoys her role as a real-life mother of four children.

Randal Pinkett, PhD, has established himself as an entrepreneur, speaker, author and community servant. He is the Founder and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion dollar, management, technology and policy consulting services firm based in Newark, New Jersey, that works with corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. BCT Partners is a minority-owned and operated company and one of the leading firms in the country with expertise in the following industries: housing and community development, economic development, healthcare, human services, nonprofit and community technology and education. Dr. Pinkett was also named the winner of NBC’s hit reality television show, The Apprentice Season 4, with Donald Trump. He is currently overseeing both renovation and information technology projects for Trump Entertainment Resorts in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia to a Cuban father and German mother, Malena Pérez grew up listening to stories of her father’s homeland and the sounds of Omara Portuondo and Celia Cruz. In her own music, which blends Latin-flavored soul with down tempo, progressive jazz, the songstress explores these early influences and updates them for the modern lounge scene. Her debut 12" vinyl single, “Free To Fly” (Divine Recordings), written and recorded with Atlanta producer Michael Johnson (KetchaVibe) and remixed by JustOne of the acclaimed production duo KemeticJust, introduced her bilingual vocals and jazzy Latin grooves to the house scene in 2004. Nearly a year after the release of “Free To Fly”, Malena was informed her that Free To Fly had sold out internationally. The led to the creation of the much anticipated “STARS,” to be released Summer 2006 featuring original compositions.

The Gala honoring 30 years of achievement in graduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as well as the contribution of past executive director Howard Adams, PhD, will be held from 7:00 – 9:00 pm on Thursday, June 29, 2006 at the InterContinental Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. Tickets may be purchased for $250 per person by calling (574) 631-7771 and include dinner and the awards show. Proceeds will fund graduate fellowships for African American, American Indian, and Hispanic American students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in STEM disciplines at more than 90 universities and research institutions in the U.S. and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

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