Alexandria, VA — The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), an organization dedicated to increasing the number of black engineering graduates and professionals, will hold its annual convention in Boston, Mass., on March 23–27. The 42nd Annual Convention, to be held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, is expected to draw more than 10,000 attendees this year to enjoy inspiring keynote speakers, innovative talks, workshops, networking sessions and hands-on engineering and science activities. NSBE is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States.
NSBE’s largest event, the Annual Convention showcases black students and professionals who have a passion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), who are high achievers in these fields and who are channeling their dedication to advance their communities and society at large. The conference theme, “Engineering a Cultural Change,” reflects NSBE’s quest to help the nation produce more black engineers, despite the challenges that black youth face in America.
At the convention, NSBE members will be encouraged to use their problem solving skills and ingenuity to create strategic solutions for the benefit of communities of color. However, NSBE officials say the importance of their work reaches beyond the Society. The demand for engineers and equally talented workers in the broader science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields is growing. STEM jobs are projected to increase by 953,200 between 2012 and 2022, a growth rate that is 30 percent higher than that of the overall workforce, according to the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. However, this demand far outstrips the forecasted supply in the United States, with a projected shortfall of one million STEM workers over the next decade.
Yet the National Science Foundation says African Americans make up only 5 percent of the U.S. science and engineering workforce and accounted for only 3.5 percent of all recipients of engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded in the U.S. in 2014, a percentage that has been in decline since 2003. Many African-American students in grades K–12 lack access to the STEM courses they need to prepare them for engineering degree programs in college.
“NSBE has been focused on increasing the number of black engineers for 41 years, yet our work has never been more important. Our success is not only key to our nation’s growth, it is also essential for the advancement of our culture,” says NSBE National Chair Neville Green. “We are not emblematic of the story being told about black youth in the media. Few black youth are. Instead, we are dedicated students who thirst for excellence in education. We are stalwart student leaders who excel academically, succeed professionally and who positively impact our community.”
“We are active coalition builders and strategic partners who are creating relationships with other organizations, including our Board of Corporate Affiliates,” Green continues, “so that we may provide STEM programming to students in third grade through college and blaze a trail of engineering opportunity for those who are coming after us. And we are the progressive organization that is focused on the achievement of our primary strategic plan goal: graduating 10,000 black engineers annually, with bachelor’s degrees, by the year 2025,” he concludes, referencing the organizations marketing and communications campaign in support of this strategic plan goal entitled: “Be 1 of 10,000”, found at on the web and at #Be1of10K on Twitter.
Mary McWilliams, lead engineer of fiber optics and a certified lean Six Sigma black belt at the Defense Logistics Agency, is national chair of NSBE Professionals, the organization for professional members of the National Society of Black Engineers. As the top-ranking officer of NSBE Professionals, she represents a formidable group of highly skilled technical workers who are proof positive of the impact that black engineers have on society.
“The Annual Convention is an opportunity for professional members to show their expertise in their fields, from computer to chemical and environmental engineering,” McWilliams says. “Professionals enjoy a mini-conference within the larger event called the Technical Professionals Conference (TPC). We are proven case studies for the world in support of our vision: that every black child can see themselves as an engineer.”
“Each year at the Annual Convention, student and professional NSBE members are given the opportunity to be regarded as the best-in-class leaders in technology that they are,” says NSBE Executive Director Karl W. Reid, Ed.D. “Top-tier companies like Google, Inc., Northrop Grumman, and United Technologies Corporate (UTC) come to the convention to recruit from our talent pool.”
“This is a testament to the NSBE product: talented students and professionals who exemplify leadership and skill in engineering,” adds Dr. Reid. “Graduating 10,000 black engineers annually by the year 2025 to engineer a change in our culture is a lofty goal. It is our hope that when our friends, supporters and partners consider how they can best join with us to help make a cultural change in the world, that they will look to the Annual Convention and beyond.”
NSBE’s members will be joined by local leaders and celebrities alike, in activities and events highlighting the Engineering a Cultural Change theme. The following is a small sample of newsworthy events at NSBE’s 42nd Annual Convention:


Jack Dorsey is the CEO of Twitter, CEO and Chairman of Square, and Co-Founder of both companies. He will join us for an electric conversation on technology, innovation, and diversity & inclusion.
Jay Ellis is an actor/producer best known for his role in BET’s hit series The Game, starring as Bryce “Blueprint” Westbrook, a brilliant Stanford grad and recipient of the Heisman Trophy. His other credits include guest-starring roles on Master of Sex, Grace & Frankie, How I Met Your Mother, NCIS, and Grey’s Anatomy.
Thomas W. Prete is vice president of Engineering for Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Company, responsible for leading Pratt & Whitney’s global Engineering organization. Prete joined Pratt
& Whitney in 1988. In 2008, he was inducted into the University of Connecticut School of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Engineers. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from UConn, a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer at Hartford and an M.B.A. from UConn.
Ramsey Jay Jr. is founder of Ramsey Jay, Jr. and Associates, a global leadership development organization and communication consultancy. Jay is Wall Street-trained and Ivy League-educated and has a mission to empower dreamers to become achievers. An advisor to prominent business leaders, he is also a sought-after international keynote speaker and author of “Weekly Life Lessons in Leadership.”
Pierre R. Breber is executive vice president, Downstream and Chemicals, for Chevron Corporation. Breber joined Chevron in 1989 as a financial analyst. In his current post, he is responsible for directing Chevron’s worldwide manufacturing, marketing, lubricants, chemicals and Oronite additives businesses. He also oversees the company’s joint-venture Chevron Phillips Chemical Company.
Julian M. Earls, Ph.D. is executive in residence at Monte Ahuja College of Business, Cleveland State University. Dr. Earls retired from the position of director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, where he managed a budget in excess of $700 million and a workforce of more than 3,000 employees. Dr. Earls holds 11 university degrees and has received numerous honors, including the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award from President William Jefferson Clinton in 1999 and from President George W. Bush in 2004.
Larry Boswell is director of Manufacturing Operations – US Plants for Johnson Controls, Inc. Before taking his current post, he garnered a wealth of experience with the company, as a production supervisor at the Geneva, Ill., facility; an area manager in Geneva; a plant superintendent in Tampa, Fla.; and a plant manager in Florence, S.C., and in Geneva. Boswell is a Johnson Controls Leadership Edge Graduate with Six Sigma green belt certification.
Maj. Gen. Stayce D. Harris is commander, 22nd Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command. The 22nd Air Force, with more than 15,000 reservists and 105 unit-equipped aircraft, has command supervision of the Reserve’s tactical air mobility operations and other vital mission sets, including distinguished visitor airlift, undergraduate pilot training, flight test operations and a highly mobile civil engineering response force. Gen. Harris received a commission in the Air Force through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Southern California, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering. She earned her Master of Aviation Management degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.


TORCH Fest and Innovations Faire
Wednesday, March 23 through Friday, March 25
Open to Pre-College Initiative (PCI) Conference participants of all ages, the Torch Fest and Innovations Faire has the best of the conference under one roof. The Faire will expose participants to four separate and distinctive activities all in one event. Visit each of our areas: the Competition and Exhibition Area, the Interactive STEM Activities Area, Opportunity Row and the Stage Area. Games, competitions, exhibits, prizes and much more will be featured.
The Boeing Flight Competition
Brought to You by The Boeing Company
Saturday, March 26, 2016
The Boeing Flight Competition is a technical competition for NSBE undergraduate members. Contestants design gliders made of balsa wood, and entries are judged on longest distance flown, best team participation and best design.
NSBE Hackathon
Powered Google Inc. and in partnership with ThoughtWorks
Friday, March 25 to Saturday, March 26
The Hackathon showcases the technical and design skills of NSBE members. The Hackathon gives participants the opportunity to bring new and innovative ideas to life by building a working prototype while working alongside their peers and industry professionals
Technical Research Exhibition
The Technical Research Exhibition (TRE) is designed to showcase NSBE members’ technical accomplishments and technical communication skills. The competition provides an opportunity for undergraduate students, graduate students and technical professionals to present their research findings while encouraging undergraduate students to showcase their research, learn from their peers and pursue graduate degrees.
Executive Roundtables
The Executive Roundtables, a signature program of the Technical Professionals Conference, provide premiere speaking opportunities for executive leaders to engage experienced technical and business professionals. This event features a facilitated discussion among vice president and higher senior-level executives covering select topics and critical issues. This year’s Executive Roundtable topics are as follows: Technology & Innovation: Harnessing Advanced Technologies and R&D to Help Shape the Future; Diversity & Inclusion: How to Navigate Corporate Culture, Public Policy and Activism; Career Advancement: Strategies to Engage Executive Sponsors and Champions; and Global & Community Impact; Non-Profit Management – Making Money While Making the World a Better Place.
NSBE Golden Torch Awards
Saturday, March 26, 7 p.m.
The NSBE Golden Torch Awards are the highest honors given by the National Society of Black Engineers. These awards recognize individuals and organizations that exemplify NSBE’s ideals of academic excellence, professional success and dedication to the advancement of the black community. Since their inception, the NSBE Golden Torch Awards have provided millions of dollars in scholarships to talented high school seniors. The 2016 honorees, will be recognized during this the 19th Annual NSBE Golden Torch Awards ceremony.
Career Fair
With more than 200 major employers and academic institutions exhibiting, the NSBE Annual Convention Career Fair offers unmatched opportunities for professional and educational development of attendees.
#NSBE42 Pageant
#NSBE42 Pageant is an event to empower young, aspiring STEM professionals of NSBE. Participants will benefit from the opportunity to improve their public speaking, boost their self-confidence and promote academic excellence. The first Mr. and Miss. NSBE will be crowned during the convention.


NSBE’s 2016 Annual Convention workshops are an opportunity for attendees to acquire hands-on experience and knowledge centered on the theme of the convention, “Engineering a Cultural Change.” These sessions will help ensure that NSBE members are prepared to excel in their STEM fields while making a positive cultural impact on the community.
Workshop Tracks
Community Change and Impact – Workshops focus on opportunities to positively impact the community.
Cultivating Culture – Workshops address understanding corporate cultures.
Academic Success – Workshops focus on strategies to excel academically.
Leaders Who Lead – Workshops focus on defining and cultivating leadership skills.
Engineering Trajectories – Workshops focus on the benefits of being an engineer or other STEM professional.
The Dilemma of the African American Ph.D.: Misses, Mister, Doctor or Does It Matter?
Presented by Northrop Grumman Corporation
Getting a Ph.D. is an accomplishment to be proud of. If you ask many Ph.D.s in engineering why they do not introduce themselves as “Dr.” or even carry the “Dr.” in their signature, you will receive a variety of answers. A panel of Ph.D.s will discuss the stereotypes associated with being an African-American Ph.D. in Corporate America or academia.
Does a Low GPA Mean That You’re Doomed? | We Don’t Believe That, and Neither Should You!
Presented by Raytheon Company
Half of college students have GPAs below the mean. There are many reasons their GPA might be low. This workshop provides tips on improving it.
Inspiring to Code Through Design
Powered by Intel Corporation
This workshop introduces middle school girls to computer science through User Interface Design. Participants will design their own social networking apps then simulate them without the use of code.
Am I My Sister’s Keeper? An Open Discussion on Black Female Relationships in the Workplace and Beyond
Presented by Northrop Grumman Corporation
This workshop will profile the relationship of two professional, black women from different backgrounds, different generations and a different life status. Through this open dialogue and facilitated Q&A, issues of relationships, career competition, family, community and sisterhood will be explored.
Distinguished Guests/Invited Guests
  • Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker
  • Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh
  • American Association of Blacks in Energy CEO, Paula Glover
  • Director of the STEM ED Coalition, James Brown
  • President of the Information Technology Senior Management Forum, Viola Thompson
  • Marvin Carr, Ph.D., Director of the White House My Brother’s Keeper Initiative
  • The National Council of Engineering & Surveying Examiners (NCEES)
  • Boston area leaders with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
For more about NSBE’s 42nd Annual Convention go to stay tuned to our website for more information about next year’s Annual Convention in Kansas City, Mo., March 29–April 2, 2017.