The 26th annual Women of Color STEM Digital Conference is taking place at the TCF Center in Detroit through Saturday.
Monica Emerson, the National Chair of the conference, says the three day event includes college programs, workshops, initiatives and seminars for emerging professionals. She explains why it’s important to highlight women in STEM fields, including women of color.
“One of the things that I think is really different now than when [the conference] was initially started… is that initially, we talked about increasing the pipeline of women of color in STEM from a perspective of equality … and trying to create a more equitable environment for them in which to grow and develop,” she says. “I think now, what is so apparent is that companies realize that women of color are the majority entrants into the workforce. And so it is absolutely necessary, I would say imperative, for female talent to be not only hired into companies but provided that environment where they can actually develop, advance and contribute.”
Attendees have the opportunity to interface with a variety of STEM professionals. “It draws across all the different sectors,” says Emerson. “We’ve got private sector companies, we’ve got the military, we’ve got other government agencies, you’ve got colleges and universities, who are participating in who support this initiative.”
Emerson attributes the conference’s ongoing success to its ability to strengthen relationships for women of color in the STEM field. “Women who are successful and who have been recognized want to come back year after year, share their experiences, and help bring along other women along their career path,” she says.
She expects the conference will continue cultivating those relationships this year. “Women who experience this conference, I think, different from other conferences, really feel a connection with the presenters, and with the company representatives that are there,” she explains.
The event will also include entertainment in the evenings, award ceremonies and special recognition for all the outstanding women who are making remarkable strides in their careers at varying levels.