Hispanic engineers and engineering students were guests of honor at an annual conference honoring academic excellence.
The HENAAC STEM Career Conference featured a talk by USC Viterbi School of Engineering Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, who spoke about the importance of diversity in his field.
“We would like to change the conversation about what engineering is, who engineers are and what engineers look like it, so that engineering can further empower society, and conversely for society to further empower engineering, for the benefit of this nation,” Yortsos said at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium earlier this month.
John Slaughter, a USC professor of engineering with a joint appointment at the USC Rossier School of Education, received the Chairman’s Award from Great Minds in STEM, formerly known as HENAAC (the Hispanic Engineering National Achievement Award Conference), during the four-day gathering. The award recognizes his lifelong quest to help diversify the discipline.
Slaughter is the former president of Occidental College and the first African-American to head the National Science Foundation. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the founding editor of the international journal Computers & Electrical Engineering.
The conference was organized by Great Minds in STEM, a nonprofit that has recognized the achievements of Hispanics in engineering and science for more 25 years.
“HENAAC reminds us once again that excellence and diversity, particularly in STEM fields, go hand-in-hand. It’s difficult to achieve one without the other,” said Timothy Pinkston, USC Viterbi vice dean of faculty affairs, who served as a judge for the Technical Posters Competition. “This annual conference is a tangible celebration of this reality.”