Chicago, Ilinois, will be the host city of the National Society of Black Engineers’ (NSBE’s) 2017 Professional Development Conference (PDC), the annual, national event dedicated to promoting and advancing the work of the NSBE Professionals organization. The conference will be held at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, in the heart of city’s downtown area, from Thursday, Sept. 28 to Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Former NASA astronaut and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Guion S. (“Guy”) Bluford Jr., Ph.D., will be the keynote speaker for the conference, which will also feature high-level networking receptions, a Virtual Career Fair and numerous workshops designed to enhance participants’ academic achievement, leadership skills, personal and professional development and technical knowledge and skills. Music executive and industrial engineer Mike Muse will host a town hall event on Saturday, Sept. 30. Sponsors of the conference include Unilever, UTC, CH2M, Baxter, Merck, Caterpillar and ComEd.
NSBE Professionals is a 2,600-member organization that seeks to positively impact lives by empowering its members to grow technically, access influential leadership, advance careers and inspire the next generation of black technical professionals. The group’s membership represents the success of NSBE’s mission, which is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.”
Making a strong, beneficial impact on communities underrepresented in technology is a main focus of this year’s PDC, says Carolyn Boyd, the chair of the planning committee for the event.
“The PDC is a unique event in terms of the career enhancement tools and the comradery it offers to black technical professionals, but it’s also a clear reflection of NSBE’s mission and the goals of NSBE Professionals,” said Boyd. “The conference organizers are developing and implementing a plan for success through STEM — success for others as well as ourselves.”
A session hosted by the NSBE Space Special Interest Group (SIG), “Five Professionals Impacting 7,000 Youth,” will promote the group’s Jumpstart to Engineering Design and Invention (JEDI) initiative, an outreach project designed to inspire black youth to pursue careers in the space industry. STEM education practices in the U.S. from elementary school through college will be the topic of a session hosted by NSBE’s Public Policy SIG, and NSBE’s Transportation and Infrastructure SIG will lead a workshop on “Black-owned Engineering/Construction Firms.” The Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) SIG will host a forum highlighting the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Among the other highlights of the packed agenda for the conference are an “Evening of Excellence” awards gala, where five individuals and organizations will be honored for their achievements in career and community; a tour of the headquarters of the global healthcare company Baxter; and entertainment activities around the city of Chicago, for conference attendees. The Cultural Impact Town Hall will feature a panel discussion moderated by Muse and including technical experts and members of the local community.
“NSBE Professionals extends its thanks to all who have made this event possible,” said Maurice Patterson, the Professionals’ national chair. “We look forward to the growth that’s sure to come from our gathering in Chicago, as we work to strengthen our organization and black communities nationwide.”
To learn more about NSBE’s 2017 Professional Development Conference, visit the website, www.nsbe.org/pdc. Follow the PDC on Twitter and Instagram (@nsbepdc), on Facebook (facebook.com/nsbepdc) and with the hashtag #nsbepdc2017.