The road to suc­cess may be paved with hur­dles, but facing adver­sity should not be a bar­rier to achieve­ment, says Mass­a­chu­setts Gov­ernor Deval Patrick.

Speaking Friday at the 2011 National Urban League’s Youth Lead­er­ship Summit at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena to nearly 300 teens from across the United States, Patrick stressed the impor­tance of staying pos­i­tive when life presents chal­lenges, and praised the value of edu­ca­tion, saying “it is the single most high-​​impact invest­ment gov­ern­ment can make for a stronger society.”

Patrick’s remarks came at the end of the week­long youth summit at North­eastern enti­tled, “Edu­ca­tion: The Foun­da­tion for Every Occu­pa­tion.” The event took place in con­junc­tion with the 22nd Annual National Urban League Con­fer­ence, held in Boston for the first time in more than three decades. Summit par­tic­i­pants  came from 37 U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Houston, and Wash­ington, D.C.

Under­grad­u­ates working at North­eastern as part of the National Sci­ence Foundation’s Research Expe­ri­ence for Under­grad­u­ates pro­gram, had the oppor­tu­nity to meet Gov­ernor Patrick who praised the value of com­bining class­room studies with expe­ri­en­tial learning, and called co-​​op “the best deal in America.”

Mel Bern­stein, vice provost for research at North­eastern, dis­cussed the university’s use-​​inspired research efforts, citing the recent col­lab­o­ra­tion between state and uni­ver­sity part­ners to create the Mass­a­chu­setts Green High Per­for­mance Com­puting Cluster in Holyoke, Mass­a­chu­setts. The pro­gram seeks to cat­alyze joint research efforts in the STEM fields of com­puter and net­work sci­ence, while boosting eco­nomic devel­op­ment in the cen­tral part of the state. Going for­ward, Bern­stein noted, North­eastern expects to engage in sim­ilar public-​​private part­ner­ships in the area of cybersecurity.

As part of the summit, atten­dees took part in var­ious activ­i­ties orga­nized by Northeastern’s Center for STEM Edu­ca­tion in more than a dozen lab­o­ra­to­ries and research cen­ters across campus.

Summit atten­dees rep­re­sent the next gen­er­a­tion of leaders who will shape the future through STEM edu­ca­tion, noted Richard Harris, Northeastern’s director of mul­ti­cul­tural engi­neering program.

Patrick touted his administration’s invest­ments in edu­ca­tion, inno­va­tion and infra­struc­ture, which he said has helped Mass­a­chu­setts main­tain its status as a leader in edu­ca­tion and high-​​tech jobs amid the finan­cial crisis.

We are about trying to leave a better Com­mon­wealth than we found,” Patrick said. “That’s what a com­mu­nity is about – seeing in our state our col­lec­tive best inter­ests and our col­lec­tive best tomorrows.”