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8,500 to Attend One of Pittsburgh’s Largest Conferences This Year


Alexandria, VA (BlackNews.com) — The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) will hold its 38th Annual Convention at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., from Wednesday, March 28 to Sunday, April 1, 2012. The event, which is expected to attract 8,500 attendees and generate $12.4 million in direct spending, is one of Pittsburgh’s largest conventions of the year. This marks the third time NSBE has chosen Pittsburgh as its convention host city. The 1994 and 2006 NSBE Annual Conventions were also held in the Steel City.

With close to 30,000 pre-college, collegiate and technical professional members in the U.S. and abroad, NSBE is one of the world’s largest membership organizations for black students and professionals in engineering and other STEM fields.

With its hundreds of career development, educational and motivational activities, the Annual Convention plays a major part in NSBE’s efforts to reach its main goal, which is to end the underrepresentation of blacks in engineering.

The NSBE Annual Convention is supported by some of the nation’s largest private sector and government employers, and 2012 is no exception. Speakers who will address this year’s convention attendees include Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of Naval Operations; Rodney C. Adkins, senior vice president of IBM Systems and Technology Group; Jeffrey P. Pino, president of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation; Ben-Saba Hasan, senior vice president of Strategic Services ISD, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; Tammee L. Thompson, vice president of Global Security and Fire, Johnson Controls, Inc.; and Maj. Gen. Melvin G. Spiese, United States Marine Corps, among others.

Representatives of more than 250 companies, government agencies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations will work as exhibitors at the convention’s huge Career Fair, Graduate School Fair and College Fair. As always, for many young convention attendees, these recruitment events will provide life-changing opportunities.

NSBE is a student-founded and student-governed organization that promotes leadership among its young members, a fact that is also reflected in the lineup of convention speakers. Ambassador Andrew Young will address the convention’s General Session on Thursday evening, March 29, and Robert L. Johnson, founder and chair of RLJ Development and founder and former chair of Black Entertainment Television, will speak during the Opening Session on Wednesday evening.

The Annual Convention is also the site of the gala ceremony for NSBE’s top honors: the NSBE Golden Torch Awards, which recognize individuals and organizations that exemplify NSBE’s ideals of academic excellence, professional success and dedication to improvement of the black community. Among this year’s Golden Torch honorees are Warner M. Williams, vice president of the Gulf of Mexico Business Unit, Chevron Corporation; Vice Adm. Manson K. Brown, United States Coast Guard; and two Pittsburgh luminaries, Robert O. Agbede, president and chief executive officer of Chester Engineers, Inc., and Alaine Allen, director of the Pitt Engineering Career Access Program at the University of Pittsburgh. The awards ceremony takes place on Saturday, March 31 at 6:00 p.m. Actor, educator, activist and entrepreneur Lamman Rucker, of “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns” fame, will serve as master of ceremonies.

From the Opening and General Sessions to the technical competitions and workshops, excitement and positive, youthful energy permeate the NSBE Annual Convention and make it a unique event that has helped launch many successful careers. Calvin Phelps, 24, is NSBE’s national chair, the organization’s top-ranking officer. A graduate student in mechanical engineering at Cornell University when he took office in 2010, he is now a Cornell graduate and a design engineer at Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Company.

“It was a NSBE Annual Convention that taught me the interview and essay skills that I used to win a full academic scholarship for my undergraduate studies. It was a NSBE Annual Convention that convinced me to continue my education and get an advanced degree, and a NSBE Annual Convention that taught me how to pay for those graduate studies,” Phelps says. “Networking with corporate reps, building relationships with friends from all over the country, having the chance to lead first my (NSBE) region and now this organization as national chair: all of these things and more I owe to my participation in NSBE’s largest event.”

The convention entertainment is also top-notch. Songwriter and vocalist Marsha Ambrosius, hip hop artist DJ Drama, singer-songwriter Ambition and comedian J. Russ will perform.

“There has been a lot of hard work and sacrifice by the 21 members of the Convention Planning Committee over this past year, but it will all be worth it when we see more than 8,000 black engineers descend into Pittsburgh that week,” says Taylor L. Mitcham, the chair of NSBE’s 2012 Convention Planning Committee. “It will all be worth it on Saturday when you see that everyone got something out of the convention, whether they discovered their teamwork or leadership abilities or were inspired to pursue something new. It will all be worth it when I hear that someone got their first job or internship at the Career Fair.”

For more information about the 38th NSBE Annual Convention, call (703) 549-2207, or visit http://convention.nsbe.org.
With close to 30,000 members, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations in the country. A not-for-profit founded in 1975, NSBE now includes more than 310 collegiate, pre-collegiate and technical professional/Alumni chapters in the U.S. and abroad. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.”

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