2019 AISES National Conference: Workshops, Hackathons, and More!


The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) chose the theme “Indigenizing the Future of STEM” for its 2019 National Conference, held October 10–12 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. Now in its 41st year, the AISES National Conference has grown into an amazing collaborative event that connects science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students and career professionals to hundreds of industry leaders, scholars, researchers, and peer organizations.

The more than 1,900 conference participants were officially welcomed by Milwaukee civic and business leaders for three days of meetings, workshops, sessions, conference events, and networking opportunities with STEM leaders and professionals.

Over 230 event and program sponsors made this year’s annual conference successful. AISES is grateful to Turquoise Sponsors Intel Corporation and The Boeing Company for their substantial support of the National Conference. Throughout each conference day participants found myriad opportunities to explore, experience, engage, and enjoy. AISES thanks every sponsor who made this conference truly memorable and appreciates all their contributions and the continuing partnerships that strengthen opportunities for Indigenous people in STEM.

Edgar Villanueva (Lumbee Tribe), author of the book, Decolonizing Wealth, joined AISES CEO Sarah EchoHawk in a keynote conversation. Villanueva discussed his distinct outlook on philanthropy, which is informed by his experience as a racial equity specialist and Vice President of Programs and Advocacy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education. His ideas, especially his views on barriers to accessing resources and how approaches to philanthropy impact people of color, resonated with the audience.

During the opening ceremony, Sarah EchoHawk moderated a panel of federal, foundation, and corporate leaders on the topic “Building a Stronger Workforce: The Value of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).” Each executive discussed their efforts to promote DEI to advance innovation and success within their organizations.

Joining the panel were Cynthia Muller, director, Mission Investment, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; James E. Campos, director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, U.S. Department of Energy; Kathleen Jolivette, vice president of Attack Helicopter Programs and Senior Site Executive, The Boeing Company; Rhonda James, senior program manager, Global Diversity and Inclusion, Intel Corporation; and Rita Sampson, chief of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity, Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

In addition to almost 100 educational sessions, workshops, and programs, the 2019 AISES National Conference offered team capacity-building resources for honing best practices, latest technology tools, and emerging trends in STEM. Conference-goers could also participate in events like a mini-hackathon sponsored by Wells Fargo, a Hackathon sponsored by Chevron, STEM Activity Day sponsored by The Boeing Company, a student lunch sponsored by 3M, and a Ride and Drive sponsored by Fiat Chrysler. Tours of Carthage College, Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and local businesses Data Holdings and UPS were also available.

The 2019 National Conference Wrap-Up digital edition of Winds of Change magazine will be available soon. You can help us improve the Winds of Change magazine by completing a reader survey. See images from the opening ceremony to the Social Powwow and numerous other conference events captured over three densely packed days on the AISES Flickr. To request permission to use an image, please contact Montoya Whiteman at mwhiteman@aises.org. Finally, you can access videos of the recipients of the prestigious Professional Awards at the AISES YouTube channel. Share the videos of these talented leaders widely!

AISES looks forward to many more years of association with the partners, sponsors, friends, and members who joined us at the “Indigenizing the Future of STEM” themed 2019 National Conference in Milwaukee. You can stay engaged with AISES by joining or renewing your AISES membership where you will automatically receive monthly Paths to Opportunities e-newsletters, e-announcements, and other news about AISES events and opportunities.

We hope to see you at the 2020 Leadership Summit starting February 16-18 at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California or the 2020 AISES National Conference beginning October 15-17 in Spokane, Washington.

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