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Diversity Focused Engineering and Science Chapters Collaborate at Joint Planning Conference

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), along with the San Diego Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) Alliance, hosted a unique event that brought student leaders and professionals together to network, collaborate and exchange ideas for improving math and science education. The event was sponsored by National Society of Black Engineers Professionals San Diego and co-sponsored by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers San Diego Professional Chapter, to increase the number of students to pursue academic and career paths in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries, increase retention in these disciplines, and promote opportunities in energy efficiency, sustainability, and green career pathways.

“These collaborations between SDG&E, MESA, and the diverse engineering and science organizations are key in fostering the inspiration in STEM education, as they lay the foundation for bolstering the underrepresented in STEM disciplines,” said Alan Dulgeroff, Director of Human Resources & Labor Relations at SDG&E.

The 2013-2014 San Diego Region Joint Planning Conference for Diversity Focused Engineering and Science Chapters took place on Friday, August 9, 2013, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, at SDG&E’s Energy Innovation Center in San Diego, California.  The Energy Innovation Center is a working showcase that demonstrates smart energy initiatives and green building practices, all housed in one unique setting. This 27,000 square foot LEED Platinum center offers visitors a venue for learning and exploring the latest in energy efficiency, renewable energy, smart grid and alternative fuel technologies.

50 professional leaders from various industries and student leaders from University of California San Diego, University of San Diego, San Diego State University, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and Southwestern College attended the conference.

The following student and professional organizations were represented:

  1. American Medical Student Organization (AMSA)
  2. American Women in Sciences (AWIS)
  3. Black Student Science Organization (BSSO)
  4. National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
  5. Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
  6. Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES)
  7. Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

“Seeing the dedication towards STEM from not only the professionals, but from the students too, was motivating,” said UCSD Bio-engineering major and SWE Vice President External Cindy Trinh.

Leaders and industry professionals collaborated to improve chapter effectiveness and communication between stakeholders and to promote leadership development and a social/industry/professional networking experience.  In ‘Diversity Theater,’ NSBE and SHPE professionals, as well as MESA staff, acted out skits that addressed issues of ethics, diversity, inclusion, and authority.  A former student leader alumni panel fielded questions in the following topics:  Empowering others; Responsibilities of officers; Balance school, work, position and life; Conflict resolution; and Using your adviser.  The alumni panel consisted of:

  1. Juliana Bordowitz, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scholar at Kavli Institute for the Brain & Mind, AWIS Outreach Co-Chair
  2. Luke Burgan, Manufacturing Engineer at Cymer, SHPE San Diego Professional Chapter President
  3. Shirley Deese, Senior Systems Software Engineer at Northrop Grumman Rancho Bernardo Aerospace Sector, NSBE – San Diego Professional Chapter Programs Director
  4. Grady Gordon, Environmental Project Manager at NAVFAC, NSBE – San Diego Professional Chapter Chair
  5. Denise Tung, Systems Engineer at Northrop Grumman Rancho Bernardo Aerospace Sector, SWE San Diego Professional Chapter Vice President

About SDG&E

SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help our customers save energy and money every day.  SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.

Photo gallery courtesy Jose Islas

Published in Joint Planning Conference MESA Activities SDG&E Energy Solutions Partners SDG&E Green Academy Training