National Society of Black Engineers to Host Professional Development Conference in Houston

Event Will Spotlight Technical Development and Diversity and Inclusion in STEM

ABOVE: NSBE members from Rice University in Houston, TX

This city of Houston is set to welcome the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) to town for their NSBE Professional Development Conference (PDC). The conference, which is being hosted by the 3,000-member NSBE Professionals organization, will be held concurrently with two other NSBE events – the Aerospace Systems Conference and the Energy Summit – from September 20 through September 23 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Houston – Greenway Plaza.

The theme of the NSBE Professional Development Conference this year is “Change the Culture, Change the Narrative,” a phrase that refers to the event organizers’ efforts to change the common perceptions of NSBE, engineers, women, African Americans and other underrepresented minorities in the STEM fields. The purpose of NSBE Professional Development Conference is to provide NSBE professionals with valuable tools to elevate their careers and enhance their lives as well as their leadership and technical skills.

“Change is affecting our lives in ways that many of us could not have imagined in the past, and STEM is a major part of that change,” said Jessica K. Wright, NSBE’s 2018 Professional Development Conference chair. “This year’s PDC reflects the hard work NSBE is doing to ensure that our members and the African American community are prepared to adapt to our future.”

The 2018 NSBE Professional Development Conference will offer more than 50 events, including panel discussions, company tours, networking sessions, a Professionals Career Expo to match conference attendees with nearly 20 potential employers, entertainment and leisure activities, and more. The 20-plus workshops on the agenda cover topics from leadership, personal, professional and technical development to social responsibility.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Gregory Robinson, director of NASA’s James Webb Telescope Program, will be among the featured speakers, and community service activities and a high-level panel discussion on women’s issues in Corporate America will be among the featured events at the NSBE Professional Development Conference.

Two events set for Saturday will give conference attendees the opportunity to advance NSBE’s mission by benefiting Houston communities. FreshStart, a signature program of Houston’s NSBE Professionals chapter, is a half-day of interactive STEM workshops for youth in grades 3–12. PDC participants will lead the Fall 2018 session of FreshStart at Houston’s Finnigan Park Community Center, with the goal of stimulating young people’s interest in engineering and other STEM fields. During the PDC’s “Help Houston Heal” Community Impact Event, conference attendees will partner with the disaster recovery organization SBP and the City of Houston to assist in the Hurricane Harvey recovery with small home repairs.

The conference culminates with an awards event, the Evening of Excellence Gala/Celestial Torch Awards, which celebrates the accomplishments and achievements of the best and brightest in the STEM fields as well as community professionals, organizations and entrepreneurs who exemplify and support Black excellence.

“The PDC is a watershed moment for NSBE Professionals, as we ramp up our activism for our next 30 years,” said Anthony Murphy, national chair of NSBE Professionals. “We thank our sponsors for the contributions that helped make this event possible and for their big vision of diversity and inclusion, which is making our nation stronger.”

NSBE Professionals is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Founded in 1988, the organization began as the NSBE Alumni Extension, a group within NSBE for graduates who had been members of the Society in college. Until that time, NSBE had been exclusively for students. Today, NSBE Professionals’ membership includes former collegiate members of NSBE as well as many other engineers, scientists, educators, technologists and industry executives who were introduced to the Society after graduation.

NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.” NSBE Professionals provides vital support to that mission, by developing and enhancing the Society’s programs, increasing technical awareness, encouraging scholastic achievement and stimulating enthusiasm in the black engineering community, to promote technical expertise, professionalism and fellowship among black and underrepresented ethnic minority engineers.

Among the major sponsors of the 2018 NSBE Professional Development Conference are Bechtel, Boeing, Shell and GE.

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