24th BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference Opens Doors Of Opportunities In STEM Programs And Celebrates Excellence

William H. Swanson (Chairman & CEO of Raytheon Company) hands the Black Engineer of the Year Award to John D. Harris, II, (Vice President, Contracts & Supply Chain - Raytheon Company)

William H. Swanson (Chairman & CEO of Raytheon Company) presents the Black Engineer of the Year Award to John D. Harris, II, (Vice President, Contracts & Supply Chain - Raytheon Company). Photo and Report and interviews by Ibrahim Dabo.

Thousands of people from the academic, government, and private sectors across the United States gathered in Baltimore, Maryland, between Feb. 18-20, 2010, for the 24th annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Global Competitiveness Conference.

The conference, which was merged with the Minorities in Research Science (MiRS) Conference, was hosted at the Baltimore Convention Center, where African Americans in science, technology, engineering and math were honored for their dedication and excellence.

Highly informative sessions, such as the Health Care Town Hall Meeting with a focus on “Innovations in Science: Health Information Technology”, were led by some of the leaders in the industry.

In brief, the conference could be seen as a ground for sharing vital information in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields; creating opportunities through the career expo that featured leading industries and universities; and honoring those who have excelled in the STEM field at luncheon receptions and the awards gala.

The Obama Administration has science and technology as one of its priorities, with President Obama committing 3 percent of the United State’s Gross Domestic Product on research and development.

And, in order for America to lead the rest of the world in this area, certain goals need to be met.

Tyrone D. Taborn, Publisher, USBE & Information Technology Magazine said the BEYA/MiRS honorees "represent an array of scientific and technical professionals who are working in critical areas of educational, government and industrial sectors."

Tyrone D. Taborn, Publisher, USBE & IT Magazine said the BEYA/MiRS honorees "represent an array of scientific and technical professionals who are working in critical areas of educational, government and industrial sectors." Photo Credit: Ibrahim Dabo.

“To meet these goals, 10,000 more scientists, students, post-doctoral fellows, and technicians, as well as 100,000 highly qualified math and science teachers must be contributing to America’s scientific and technical enterprise by 2015,” Tyrone D. Taborn, publisher, US Black Engineer & Information Technology Magazine said in his BEYA welcome letter.

Mr. Taborn added that the BEYA/MiRS honorees represent a growing cadre of diverse professionals who are contributing to the United States’ competitiveness and serving as role models to groups in the sciences that have been historically underrepresented.

“To maintain our country’s leadership in the 21st century, we must cultivate the skilled scientists and engineers needed to create tomorrow’s innovations,” Taborn said.

John D. Harris, II, vice president, Contracts and Supply Chain at Raytheon Company and Ibrahim Dabo.

John D. Harris, II, vice president, Contracts and Supply Chain at Raytheon Company and Ibrahim Dabo. Photo Credit: Olivier Rousset.

John D. Harris, II, vice president, Contracts and Supply Chain at Raytheon Company, was honored with the 2010 Black Engineer of the Year Award.

Mr. Harris began his career more than 25 years ago as a new graduate in Raytheon’s contracts leadership development program.

In his acceptance speech, Harris spoke about his love for sciences at an early age, and also expressed gratitude to all those who believed in him and gave him the opportunity to prove himself in the field.

He said the need for people to be given opportunity should continue, and when they excel, they should also be in a position to do likewise.

 Isaiah A. Brown, applied physics & civil engineering, Morehouse College, Georgia, is inspired, and says part of long terms plans are to rehabilitate the dilapidated housing in California.

John D. Harris, II, and Isaiah A. Brown, applied physics & civil engineering, Morehouse College, Georgia, is inspired, and says part of his long terms plans are to rehabilitate dilapidated houses in California. Photo Credit: Ibrahim Dabo.

Isaiah A. Brown, a sophomore in Applied Physics and Civil Engineering at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA., said: “The BEYA Conference has inspired me to improve my personal net-worth by continuing my education and expanding my network.  Due to its many military sponsors, I have had the opportunity to see many of the awards that can come with working [hard in] a STEM job in the military.”

Brown’s plans for the future is to continue into industry as a licensed civil engineer and eventually partake in urban development. He has great plans for development and adding value to the lives of others.

“One of my dreams is to go back to some of my home cities in California and partake in projects which will rehabilitate the dilapidated housing in those areas in order to donate or sell them back to needy families at reasonable [costs],” Brown said.

“I will always remain with the National Society of Black Engineers, because I intrinsically believe in their mission statement, which is to ‘Increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community,'” Brown added.

The Gala After-Party was a perfect way to seal-up the conference.

The Gala After-Party was a perfect way to seal-up the conference. Photo Credit: Ibrahim Dabo.

The Gala After-Party sealed up events for Saturday night as students and executives took to the dance floor at the Baltimore Hilton hotel.

The 25th BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference is slated for Feb. 17th – 19th, 2011 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Click on album below to see conference photos

24th BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference

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Ib Dabo, founder and executive editor of Ib Talk Online, is a writer, journalist, photographer, and communications and IT leader whose mission is to inspire and work with people to make a difference in our world. Visit his official website - www.IbDabo.com - to learn more. Follow @IbDabo on Twitter and also @IbTalkOnline on Twitter.