GEM convened its 2016 Annual Board Meeting, Conference and 40th Anniversary Gala Celebration on August 3-5 at the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort Hotel. The conference was structured to engage GEM Representatives in mission-forward discussions and take action through voting on strategic items during the board meeting; while prospective and current graduate students attended workshops, participated in a technical presentation competition & poster session, engaged with graduate and post-doc programs during the Graduate University Networking Event, and took advantage of networking opportunities with representatives during the opening reception cruise and University & Associate Fellows Employer networking event. The highlight of this year’s event was the 40th Anniversary black-tie gala that took participants down memory lane on a virtual tour of the past forty years of achievement toward our mission.
The Opening Session and Reception Cruise was a phenomenal opportunity for members and students to gather to meet each other, while cruising the inner harbor of North Miami Beach. The session began in the Eden Roc with opening presentations and videos from the sponsors, and ended with a “white attire” networking reception cruise aboard the South Beach Lady.
The Thursday breakfast plenary session provided the perfect jumpstart to the conference day with an update by GEM’s board president, and Lab Director at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Dr. Eric Evans on the state of the organization and the many accomplishments made during 2015 – 2016 fiscal year and the opportunities ahead. Dr. Evans’ keynote was followed by a rousing “talk show” style panel discussion moderated by GEM Executive Vice President and Georgia Institute of Technology’s Dean of Engineering, Dr. Gary S. May.
The Thursday lunch plenary session created a break in the daily workshop schedule for attendees to gain knowledge on the challenges and successes of GEM female alumni and technical thought leaders at event sponsor, Intel Corporation. The Intel executives, while wearing their “Intel bling” and wearable technology shared personal stories of triumph while tackling some difficult issues posed by the audience. The “talk show” style panel was preceded by an Intel sponsor video.
The GEM GRAD Lab and Future Faculty and Professionals (FFP) Symposium workshops provided student content focused on leadership and academic success were phenomenal and truly assisted the students on their path of excellence toward attainment of graduate STEM degrees. Additionally, over 25 GEM University and Associate Fellows were sponsored on student travel grants to the conference thanks to National Science Foundation [Award #1564418].
Attendees gathered prior to the Black Tie Gala for networking, beverages, and participation in a silent auction, with proceeds to benefit the GEM Fellowship program.
GEM is celebrating 40 years of advocating for talented, underrepresented minorities who earned graduate degrees in engineering and applied science. The Gala, hosted by Aaron Spears (BET’s Being Mary Jane and CBS Bold and the Beautiful) and Alina Machado (NBC Miami, formerly CNN), showcased the amazing accomplishments of GEM Alumni who have contributed to GEM students’ success. The trip down memory lane of the past forty years were truly inspirational.
At the close of the gala, dancers escorted attendees into the dessert reception, followed by an after-party hosted by the GEM Alumni Association.
The following voting items “passed” during the 2016 Annual Board Meeting:
Students competed for cash awards in the GEM Technical Presentation Competition, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, by presenting their MS or PhD level research. This year’s winners by category are:
Nine (9) students also participated in the Poster Session, presenting undergraduate, graduate, and fellowship internship-based research to a panel of judges. The winner of the 2016 Poster Session is: David Garcia, 2015 GEM Associate PhD Fellow, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Implementation of the GEM mission relies heavily on the volunteerism and support of our GEM Alumni. In celebration of your 40th anniversary, GEM honored two alum who have made significant contributions to the Consortium: