2015 GEM Annual Conference

2015 GEM Annual Board Meeting and Conference Highlights
Boston, Massachusetts

GEM convened the 2015 Annual Board Meeting and Conference on August 5-7 at the Boston Park Plaza 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 REU programs during the Graduate Resource Fair, and took advantage of networking opportunities with representatives during the opening reception and closing dinner cruise.

Opening Reception

The Opening Reception was a phenomenal opportunity for members and students to gather to meet each other, while touring the historic venue of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The reception began with opening presentations and videos from the sponsors, and ended with an announcement from Intel Corporation on a commitment to double their investment with GEM.



GEM-Intel-Gift AnnouncementIntel is doubling their investment with GEM partnerships by significantly increasing the number of GEM Fellows resulting in a $3.7M investment over the next 5 years. The announcement to double the current funding level was made at GEM’s Board Meeting and Annual Conference in Boston. This investment is a critical investment of their $300 Million Diversity in Technology Initiative that is focused on hiring and retention programs, growing the tech pipeline, increasing investments in diverse entrepreneurs, and supporting women in gaming.

Intel is committed to reach full representation of women and underrepresented minorities in its U.S. workforce by 2020.”Innovation is critical to the success of Intel,” says Michael Greene, Intel’s Vice President, Software and Services Group & General Manager, System Technologies and Optimization. “We must have the ability and the talent to look at problems from different perspectives and from different experiences. This is why diversity is so critical to the success of Intel today, and its future.”

In the doubling of the grant, Intel has also increased their spending in student support attending GEM’s national conference and expand support as the National GRAD Lab Sponsor.

“Intel remains the top player in supporting GEM and benefiting from the talented GEM Fellows who began as interns and now serve critical roles throughout the organization,” says Michele Lezama, GEM’s Executive Director. “Intel’s commitment should undoubtedly spur others to invest and use our proven program focused on increasing the number of underrepresented minorities – who hold a graduate degree in engineering, computer science and other applied science fields – to improve workforce diversity in Silicon Valley and beyond.”

Thursday Plenary Session

The Thursday plenary session and breakfast provided the perfect jump start to the conference day with a rousing keynote presentation by Bill P. Russo, Director of Operations, Manufacturing Engineering from event sponsor, Ford Motor Company. GEM board president, Dr. Eric Evans followed the keynote with an update on the state of the organization and the many accomplishments made during 2014 – 2015 toward achieving the GEM mission, and the opportunities ahead.


Keynote Speaker:
William P. Russo
Director of Operations – Manufacturing Engineering
Ford Motor Company


Plenary Breakfast

Thank you to our Plenary Breakfast Session sponsor!


Dr. Eric Evans, GEM Board President; Michele Lezama, Executive Director; Bill P. Russo, Keynote Speaker, Ford; Kelvin Squires, GEM Standing Chair, Ford

GEM Dinner Cruise

The Boston Harbor was the setting for a relaxing dinner cruise that included a high energy sponsor focused bingo game, and casual networking between prospective and current graduate students and GEM representatives.


2015 Annual Meeting – Student Programming

Thank you to Cornell University for sponsoring the GRAD Lab and Motorola Solutions Foundation for sponsoring the Future Faculty and Professionals (FFP) Symposium. The student content at the conference was phenomenal and truly assisted the students on their path of excellence.


2015 Graduate Fair

GEM hosted a graduate resource fair at the Boston Annual Meeting. This was the first fair GEM has held since 2007 in Las Vegas. Given GEM is a niche organization focusing on quality graduate students, we are always concerned if we have enough traffic to support a fair. 140 students checked in for the 4 hour fair in Boston. The general sentiment is that the traffic was light, although the students who did attend were of high quality. We surveyed GEM exhibitors to ask if we should continue the graduate fair format, or return to speed networking or some other interaction style event and the general consensus was to keep the fair format in the future.


Annual Board Meeting Vote Results

The following voting items “passed” during the 2015 Annual Board Meeting:

  1. Approval of 2014 Board of Directors
    Meeting Minutes
  2. 2015-2016 GEM Annual Budget
  3. New GEM University Members
  4. 2015-2016 Executive Committee

2014-2015 Executive Committee

Technical Presentation Competition & Poster Session

Students competed for cash awards in the GEM Technical Presentation Competition, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University and Georgia Institute of Technology, by presenting their MS or PhD level research. This year’s winners by category are:

Master’s and 1st Year Ph.D. Level

  • 1st Place – Tenell Rhodes, Jr., 2015 MS Fellow, Drexel University, Adobe Systems Incorporated
  • 2nd Place – Sean Peters, 2015 PhD Associate Fellow, Stanford University
  • 3rd Place – Nicholas Hines, 2015 PhD Fellow, Georgia Institute of Technology, Corning Incorporated

2nd Year and Beyond Ph.D. Level

  • 1st Place – Jon Gonzales, 2015 PhD Fellow, University of California-Berkeley, Oak Ridge
    National Laboratory
  • 2nd Place – Leopoldo Torres, 2014 PhD University Fellow, University of Maryland-College Park
  • 3rd Place – Luis A. Ocampo Giraldo, 2015 PhD Fellow, Pennsylvania State University,
    Brookhaven National Laboratory

Pictured: Dr. Marcus Huggans, GEM; Dr. Felicia Benton-Johnson, MS Lead Judge, Georgia Tech; Romayne Botti, PhD Lead Judge, Carnegie Mellon; Jon Gonzales; Sean Peters; Tenell Rhodes, Jr.; Nicholas Hines; Luis Ocampo Giraldo; Leopoldo Torres.

Fourteen (14) students also participated in the Poster Session, presenting undergraduate, graduate, and fellowship internship-based research to a panel of judges. The winner of the 2015 Poster Session is:

1st Place: Michael Gonzales, 2013 GEM PhD Fellow, University of Notre Dame, Adobe Systems Incorporated.



Implementation of the GEM mission relies heavily on the volunteerism of our Employer and University Representatives. Each year GEM honors those who have made significant contributions to the Consortium:

  1. GEM Employer Representative of the Year – Sara Perkovic, Adobe Systems Incorporated
  2. GEM University Representative of the Year – Richard Harris, Northeastern University
  3. GEM Executive Committee of the Year – Marketing Standing Committee
    a. Michael A. Greene, VP, Marketing, Intel Corporation
    b. Ernesto Felix, Standing Chair, Intel Corporation
    c. Tiffany Simon, Ed.D., Standing Chair, Columbia University
  4. GEM Fellow of the Year – Sossena Wood, University of Pittsburgh
  5. GEM Fellow of the Year – Francisco Garcia, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  6. GEM Alumni Member of the Year – S. Keith Hargrove, Ph.D., Tennessee State University

Richard Harris, Northeastern


Sara, Perkovic, Adobe


Ernesto Felix, Intel

New University Members

Congratulations to our new University Members approved for GEM membership!


2015 – 2016 New Members


2014 – 2015 New Members


New Employer Members

We would also like to congratulate our newest Employer Member, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory!

National High Magnetic Field Lab Logo

A SINCERE THANK YOU to our 2015 Annual Conference Sponsors!


Photo Gallery

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