Reflections as a new VP for Initiatives for the Latin & Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions. #ThinkBigDiversity

Last week, I had the honor of leading an Organization of American States’ session on “Women in STEM” at an international conference, and giving a bilingual presentation to an assembly of delegates from more than 30 countries, in an election for Vice President of Initiatives for the Latin and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions (LACCEI).

I am pleased and honored to announce that I won (by a very slim margin, against a wonderful wise leader). My “opponent” is really more of a new mentor … he is an experienced leader in South America, and reached out to encourage me before I even made my speech. This is one of the reasons why I love this organization.

Engineering and “community” are terms that don’t often go together, but communities like the LACCEI, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and others are designed to be inclusive … a necessary endeavor.

Renetta 2017

These organizations are unique because they include all disciplines of engineering, and have missions to advance all groups in the field. Among the great joys of being involved with global communities in STEM is introducing students to international colleagues and experiences. These tweets showcase our students from Maryland at the conference with their “engineering” flags, and at the outdoor Gala Dinner. Flags were available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.


I am proud to have the opportunity to serve LACCEI as the VP of Initiatives for 2017-2018, and am excited to be receiving invitations to represent women in engineering and initiatives in several countries. Institutions can join LACCEI, and I especially invite you to join us at next year’s July 2018 conference in Lima, Peru!

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