KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Society of Black Engineers convention is bringing thousands of people to Kansas City this week.
Current engineers and future engineers are attending the convention.
One of the important aspects of the event is giving Black students exposure to career opportunities in the field.
The National Society of Black Engineers, or NESBE has hosted the event for 49 years.
Students say the conference is encouraging because it shows them an engineering career is a real possibility for them.
“It’s surreal, but at the same time like truly reassuring in that I’m supposed to be here despite what society tells me. Like I have a place in here and I can get it done,” Micaela Johnson said.
For the first time she saw thousands of current and upcoming engineers who look like her.
“Just seeing that you’re not alone which a lot of us feel like at our predominately White institutions and really realizing and seeing in the physical that you have people to support you,” Johnson said.
Thursday the organization held a press conference for the 49th annual conference.
Engineers with the city of Kansas City spoke at the conference.
Participants said the biggest problem isn’t attracting Black engineers but retaining them.
Not only is the convention an opportunity to fellowship, but it offers a career fair and sessions for inspiring engineers.
“People are waiting on me,” said Johnson. “Just like we had people to lead the way for us, we have, even my own peers or people not born yet, they have people waiting on me to step into who I am,” Johnson said.
NESBE is a student-governed organization with over 600 chapters across the U.S. and abroad.
The conference began Wednesday and runs through Sunday.