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Something for everyone at the 2018 BEYA STEM Conference

BEYA STEM Conference recognizes achievement and encourages excellence


For the last twenty-eight years, Career Communications Group has staged the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA). Now called the BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference, the event honors several hundred engineers, IT pros and scientists of color for their achievements. Awardees include new grads and seasoned technical professionals from industry, government and the military. One Black Engineer of the Year is chosen.

This yearís Black Engineer of the Year was Stephanie Hill, president of the information systems and global solutions product line at Lockheed Martin. She is the first female to be named Black Engineer of the Year since 2009, when Wanda Austin of the Aerospace Corp took top honors.

Among the many additional awardees were two Walmart tech pros: Karen Potts, director of customer planning and analysis, was named a Modern-Day Technology Leader; and Samuel Moses, senior director in the IS division, received a Science Spectrum Trailblazer award. Bernard Jefferson, an associate director at Aerospace Corp, received a Trailblazer award, and Aerospace techies Cedric Mann and Carlose Green were named Modern-Day Technology Leaders. At General Motors, Gerald Johnson, VP of North American manufacturing, received the award for career achievement in industry, presented at the BEYA awards gala on the closing day of the conference.

Military honors at the Stars & Stripes dinner
Military tech pros are honored each year at the Stars & Stripes dinner, organized nine years ago to recognize technical expertise in the uniformed services. One service takes the lead each year. This year the focus was on the U.S. Army, where three African American four-star generals are currently serving: Generals Dennis L. Via of the Army Materiel Command, Lloyd J. August of U.S. Central Command, and Vincent K. Brooks, commander of the U.S. Army Pacific.

At the event, awards were presented to officers of the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Army National Guard, as well as an enlisted Army service member and a member of the senior executive service.

Special attention to veterans
This yearís conference included several events and two panels focused on veterans with technical skills. The first included representatives from Veteran Students of America, the Education Management Corporation, the Retired Military Officers Association Business Institute and Veterans Across America. The panelists discussed transferrable skills and opportunities for technical training and education available to veterans today.

The second panel looked at veteran entrepreneurs and featured speaker Nancy Deskins, director of supplier diversity for Lockheed Martin Corp. Other panelists represented the small business utilization arms of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Inspiring the next generation of techies
Programs for K-12 students are always part of the BEYA conference. This year, students had an opportunity to sample engineering experiences from bridge building to cartoon rendering for video games. The Boeing Company, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Northrop Grumman, the SI Organization, Raytheon and several other organizations set up activities and workshops to pique studentsí interest. Student groups also had an opportunity to tour the career fair and talk to exhibitors about career possibilities.

More than a dozen universities attended, ready to provide information on their undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs. Capitol College, located in Washington, DC, offers courses that can lead to certificates of qualification as a cyber intelligence analyst or counter-cyber terror operations specialist. An additional series of courses leads to a certificate in cyber law and intelligence for managers.

Several well-known historically black colleges and universities were represented: Howard University, Alabama A&M;, Jackson State, Morgan State, Norfolk State, North Carolina A&T; and Tuskegee. A meeting of the AMIE schools, all HBCUs with engineering departments, is a feature of the conference, along with a breakfast meeting of HBCU deans.

Networking and reuniting
There are many opportunities for networking at the conference. Diversity/Careers sales director Jordan Weiss met up with Tony Howell of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, who directs the schoolís Educational Opportunity Program. Howell brought several NJIT upperclass students with him to experience the conference.

Editor in chief Kate Colborn ran into Ray Mellado, founder of the Great Minds in STEM organization and the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference. Connecting or reconnecting with professional colleagues in an informal setting is one of the most valuable aspects of the conference for D/C and many other attendees.

Corporate support
Lockheed Martin was a conference co-host, with Career Communications Group and the Council of HBCU Engineering Deans. Aerotek and AT&T; were conference sponsors. Other sponsors included General Dynamics, the Navy Civilian Careers organization, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Accenture, BAE Systems, Chrysler Group LLC, General Motors, Huntington Ingalls Industries and CH2M Hill.

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