From March 25th – 29th, the National Society of Black Engineers hosted its 41st Annual Convention in Anaheim, California. Thousands of STEM enthused youth, collegiate members, and professionals traveled from all over the country to celebrate a year of successes and impact in the engineering community in sunny California. The Boston chapter and Region 1 showed up in full force….and yes, it was AMAZING!
If you weren’t able to make it to this year’s convention don’t fret. We have the recap of the
Top 10 things you may have missed!
10. The Amenities
The home base for the Technical Professional Conference was the Anaheim Marriott located less than a stone’s throw away from the convention center and host to professional workshops, hospitality events, and a poolside day party. Home away from home was not bad at ALL.
9. Boston Selfies
We know you’re thinking: “But hey, I’ve taken selfies before! How’s that a big deal?”
We in turn ask…“But have you taken selfies in Anaheim?
WITH engineering “One Fiyah” professionals?
IN FRONT of a NSBE logo-ed backdrop before?”
Yea….we didn’t think so. Consider the selfie bar raised.
8. Star Studded Attendance
We’ve seen the Annual Convention show up in the past, but never has it been more star studded. Devon Franklin took us to church at the opening session, Laz Alonso ushered us through our Golden Torch Awards, and Elle Varner & others wow-ed as we closed out our ceremonies.
The only thing that can make a STEM enthusiast’s heart leap for joy more than a video about quantum locking (which is completely awesome by the way) is watching hundreds of youth come together to compete and learn in engineering and the sciences.
Apple, NASA, Ford – behold the faces of your future leaders or even the future founders of your next biggest competitors!
6. Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles
This fabled shrine of chicken and waffle goodness has been accessed. The rumors have been verified and this gem was worth the hype.
5. Doing fly hand motions all over LA
Let’s be honest, it just isn’t the same doing this (←) hand motion or even this (→) two-man point thingy in 30ºF Boston weather when you could be doing it in front of the Staple Center in LA.
*There’s no need to insert a Kanye shrug gif on this one*
Although much more tame than the hand motions, if you’re looking for other ways to flex across Cali you can add hanging out with Disney Princesses to your list. Not too shabby, eh?
4. Career Fair & Corporate schmoozing
Hundreds of organizations sent their representatives to find the best and brightest diverse talent for their organizations! Our professionals had the opportunity to interact with these organizations on the Career Fair show floor, frequent the daily hospitality suites, and attend sessions with executives of top engineering companies. If you worked the floor you may have discovered Boston President Al-amin Ahmed picking up top talent at the Lockheed Martin Booth, or Vice President Paul Britton selling Raytheon’s prowess to candidates, or even Professional Development chair Ledum Nordee conducting interviews for Eaton Corporation prospects.
3. Laz Alonso comparing NSBE to the Hunger Games
Laz Alonso hosted this year’s Golden Torch award ceremony. And as with every year, the attendees of the ceremony were dressed to IMPRESS! What Laz discovered, however, was that evening gowns and suits wouldn’t hold us back from repping our regions HARD. After competing cries of “One Fiyah!”, “Two Hype”, etc ripped through the event, he had to both restore order and politely ask that we not fight to the death.
Needless to say, it was all love of course….mostly.
2. This INSPIRING youth reciting Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream”
Humbling. Anyone that has ever attended the annual convention will describe it as just that – humbling.
Consider our roots: NSBE grew from an organization founded by 6 black engineering students in the early 1970’s wanting to find a way to recruit and retain black engineering students (NOTE: Brush up on NSBE history here) to today being the host of an annual conference that boasts thousands of BLACK professional and student attendees in the STEM fields, hundreds of corporations fighting for DIVERSE talent, features children OF COLOR collaborating and competing in the sciences, and offers a Grammy-quality award ceremony solely to celebrate academic and professional success in engineering. Whew!
The only thing that puts this further into perspective is this incredible 11-year old young man’s recitation of Martin Luther King’s prolific “I have a dream” speech at NSBE’s General Session.
1. Boston and Region 1 unequivocally DOMINATING
You knew the Boston Chapter was amazing, we knew the Boston chapter was amazing, but the conference recognized it and it showed. The Boston chapter took home awards for the Region 1 Professional Chapter Of The Year, the National Professional Collegiate Initiative Of The Year, and the Boston Professionals very own (and former president) Michael Burt took home a Regional Leadership Award.
Region 1 Leadership
‘Awards aside, next year’s PDC and Annual Convention are both taking place in Region 1 (Hartford, CT and Boston, MA respectively). In case you missed it, check out the video premiere of this year’s PDC...*Disclaimer* It’s kind of amazing….:
Did we miss something? Share your thoughts and favorite experiences from the conference below!