In the News

June 22, 2017

ICS undergrad Marissa Vance makes the most of her trip to the 2017 NSBE Conference

Freshman computer science major Marissa Vance was given the opportunity to travel to the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) 43rd Annual Convention in Kansas City, Mo., from March 29 to April 2, 2017. Vance was able to travel to and attend the convention thanks to full funding provided by the ICS Dean’s Office.

The convention demonstrates NSBE’s commitment to lead the U.S. in graduating 10,000 black engineers annually by 2025 and featured high-profile speakers, panel discussions, workshops, networking sessions, community engagement events, technical and scientific competitions, as well as hands-on engineering and science activities.

Vance, who is a member of UCI’s NSBE student chapter, works for the Office of Access & Inclusion (OAI) at UCI. OAI is a joint office between The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and ICS that was created in 2014 to recruit, retain and graduate talented students from historically excluded populations who are currently underrepresented in engineering and computer science.

“My boss, Sharnnia Artis (assistant dean for access and inclusion), offered to send me on this trip to the NSBE Convention. It was my first time hearing about this conference, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect,” said Vance. “However, I was excited to go and meet other minority engineers. I felt like it would help inspire me to keep my dreams of working as a software engineer alive.”

By attending the conference, Vance was able to practice team building with other members of her NSBE chapter, as well as network with NSBE chapters from other states. She also attended various talks on career planning, academic and research leadership, and interview skills.

NSBE is well known for its premier career fair geared toward African Americans in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This gave Vance an opportunity to present herself to leading companies like NASA, JPL, Microsoft and Google. Vance credits the conference for giving her a chance to practice critical interview skills early, something she believes she would not have had the opportunity to do until graduation.

Although company representatives told Vance she still has a long road ahead of her, they nevertheless encouraged her to keep trying, and the overall positivity she received at the convention has inspired her to never give up on her dreams.

“Attending the conference really made a difference in my life because I saw that my dreams of working in the industry are not too far away and if I continue to work hard, it'll all be worth it in the end,” said Vance. “I am super grateful. It's not every day that a student can say they were granted the opportunity to travel the country to attend a conference for their club.”
ICS undergrad Marissa Vance makes the most of her trip to the 2017 NSBE Conference

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