Sibrina N. Collins, executive director of the Lawrence Technological University Marburger STEM Center in Southfield, was awarded the third annual John G. Petty Community Champion Award from the school.
Collins, a Detroit native, leads the university’s clearinghouse for K-12 student outreach efforts in science, technology, engineering, math, and architecture and design. In her current role, Collins has developed programming for thousands of K-12 students, specifically those from underrepresented populations, to help them explore careers and education in the sciences. She’s led initiatives such as science fairs, summer camps and teacher professional development, in addition to creating an ambassador program to engage LTU students in this work.
The award, which was created as part of the school’s Black History Month observation, honors an individual who is positively impacting the lives of the African-American community on campus and in the surrounding community.
When receiving the award, Collins encouraged young people to consider the community impact when choosing a career. She also thanked the family of Petty, the namesake of the award, and the LTU community for its support.
“We often tell you to figure out your passions, and that will help you determine your career path. I want you to reflect a little deeper,” Collins says. “Ask yourself, what kind of impact do I want to make in my neighborhood, my community, and the world? This will help you determine your passions and your purpose.”
Before joining the LTU faculty in 2016, she worked at multiple institutions including the University of Washington and College of Wooster and in roles at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. She is currently editing and writing chapters for a history textbook on African American chemists.
Tiffany D. Brown, a Detroit architect and three-time LTU graduate who created several organizations giving under-represented groups the opportunity to learn more about design professions, and Monique Lake, a veteran high school science teacher and leader in the Michigan engineering community, previously won the award.
Collins, who began her college career at Highland Park Community College, holds a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from The Ohio State University.
The Marburger Center was established through a donation from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who took math classes at LTU while in high school at Detroit Country Day School.