Several student organizations within the College of Engineering and Computing came together to host the inaugural Diversity Gala on April 14 inside the Russell House Ballroom. The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Alpha Omega Epsilon Sorority, and Women in Computing hosted the event.
The gala promoted diversity in STEM by bringing together engineering and computing students by giving give them the opportunity to connect with professionals of various backgrounds and industries.
“The gala had a spark of energy that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Everyone I spoke to was excited to be there. The inspiring and empowering storytelling from our speakers left a lasting impression on me and I hope for many others as well,” says mechanical engineering senior Gabe Carrilho, who was the event coordinator. “The fact our event ended at 8:15 p.m. and the ballroom was still full at 9:15 p.m. speaks for itself about the quality of the new relationships and connections that were made that night.”
The keynote speakers for the event were Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Ramy Harik, Alejandro Veloz from The Boeing Company, Lori Gioia from KYOCERA AVX, and Chris Rice from DAK Americas. Each speaker presented and shared experiences related to STEM and diversity.
“There is strength in unity and having together multiple student groups, each individually targeting their own diversity metrics, creates an unprecedented coalition that can only better the college and the community it serves,” Harik says. “What makes it more exceptional was being a student led effort that promotes the overall growth of the CEC’s student body as a promoter of diversity and inclusion, through both action and implementation.”
The participating CEC student organizations wanted to host an in-person event. According to Carrilho, there is a chemistry shared in the presence of others that cannot be replicated virtually.
“It was important to empower and show the impact diversity and inclusion can make. This event proves that bringing people together from several different backgrounds can yield incredible results,” Carrilho says. “As we continue to celebrate diversity, we bring out the very best in people and show them they are not defined by the limits set by society.”
Photos from the gala can be viewed and downloaded on the CEC’s Flickr page.