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Annual Conference

September 9, 2021
6:00 pm -
Houston TX

Register Now

Annual Conference

About The Event

A prestigious forum for stimulating debate on bold solutions to advance graduate education, the Annual Board Meeting & Conference creates a platform to raise nationwide awareness of its mission, partners, and Fellows. This is the “must attend” event for advocates who want to transform how the United States educates and prepares engineering and science talent for advanced leadership careers, particularly among our nation’s native born, historically underrepresented ethnic groups. Like GEM, our Annual Conference offers innumerable opportunities for all of our partners.

Event Schedule

September 9, 2021

Pre Gala Networking Reception 6PM – 7PM

The Pre Gala Networking Reception is an opportunity for all members of the consortium to connect and/or reconnect with each other and represents the pre-cursor for the awards dinner and formal start of the conference.

Leadership Gala 7PM – 9PM

Join the rest of the consortium as we highlight and celebrate leaders amongst our industry, academic and alumni communities.  This black tie optional event aims to formally kick off the conference in style and reaffirm to all why GEM’s narrative is one of black and brown excellence.

Lashawn Nevins Boulware

Young Alum Leadership Award

Dr. Farnam Jahanian PhD

Academic Leadership Award

Dr. Jorge Leis PhD

Alumni Leadership Award

Dr. Thomas Zacharia PhD

Corporate Leadership Award

September 10, 2021

Plenary Session and Breakfast 8am – 9:30am

How Corporate America Can Advance Social Justice — get a first hand account on how a Fortune 500 company navigates its external environment to ensure that it has a say in how society can be shaped for the better.

James Momon

Senior Vice President, Chief Equity Officer, 3M

Cordell Hardy

Senior Vice President, 3M Corporate R&D Operations, 3M

Sponsored by 3M

GEM Representative Workshops 9:45 – 11:45 am

Topics relevant to representatives of GEM Employers and Universities including:

Maximizing your GEM Membership to Jumpstart your GEM Fellows Community

GEM Membership Best Practices

GEM Fellows Symposium 9:45 – 11:45 am; 2:15 – 5:00 pm

This symposium provides current GEM fellows the opportunity to meet their peers and attend helpful lectures on maximizing their graduate experience and pursuing pathways in industry, academia and entrepreneurship.  Topics include:

Why Entrepreneurship?

How to Succeed in Graduate School: Understanding the Graduate School Lingo

The Big “D”: How to Write Your Dissertation and Live To Tell About It

Composing Your Graduate School Life

From I4-I-Corps

Negotiating Your First Industry/Lab Contract

Technical Presentation Competition 9:30 – 12:00 am; 2:00 – 4:30 pm

The 2021 GEM Technical Presentation Competition was initially developed to showcase the technical and research assignments of prospective and current GEM Fellows during their summer internship/summer research experiences and has been expanded for all students to showcase their skills in technical writing and presentations. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals, like all professionals, must possess a well-developed ability to communicate, both orally and in writing. This competition is designed to emphasize the value of an ability to conduct research, engage in a high level of technology and to deliver oral presentations. This year’s competition will be sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.


(Masters and PhD Categories)

1st Place: $400
2nd Place: $200
3rd Place: $100


To participate in the competition, you must be a current or rising science or engineering graduate student who is a current GEM applicant or a GEM Fellow who is registered for the 2021 Annual Board Meeting and Conference. GEM Fellows are particularly encouraged to participate, to showcase research/technology from their GEM internships and/or research conducted as part of their graduate program.

To be considered a current GEM applicant:

  • the registrant must have started the submission of a 2021-2022 GEM Fellowship application (application opened July 1, 2021)
  • have submitted at least Part I of the online application, an unofficial transcript and a resume.

For current GEM Fellows you must:

  • be currently matriculating in a graduate program. (GEM Fellows who completed the requirements of a master’s degree in a STEM field in Spring 2021, may still participate),
  • have been selected by his/her GEM Member University or Employer, of the GEM Office, to participate, and
  • have been approved by the GEM Office as a GEM Fellow in good standing.

As Employee and University Fellow participants will be sponsored to attend the 2021 GEM Annual Board Meeting and Conference, participation in the Technical Presentation Competition is required. Unless you have notified the GEM office as well as your sponsor, and the request has been approved, you will be expected to compete.

The topic is to be related to the work conducted at the GEM Fellow internship. Alternatively, the participant can choose research work conducted as an undergraduate researcher or from their STEM graduate curriculum.  If the student doesn’t have an internship or previous research, consider using a senior project for a topic.  Furthermore, a competitor may utilize resources from their GEM internship or their academic research but must realize that the presentation is to be an individual effort!


The subject matter must be related to some area of the broad field of STEM. Each presentation shall be made by one competitor. Presentations must be in PowerPoint.

  1. Each individual competitor will be assigned an appointment time to present before a panel of 5-6 judges in Round I on Friday, September 10th.
  2. In Round I, each individual competitor will be allotted 10 minutes to present (up to 7 minutes for their presentation and up to 3 minutes for questions and answers).
  3. Finalists from Round I will be announced the evening of Friday, September 10th.
  4. Finalists will then advance to present at the GEM Plenary Breakfast, on Saturday, September 11 at 9:00 AM in front of the entire GEM Board of Directors (University and Employer Representatives) and all student participants. The final round will be a up to 7-minute presentation only, no questions.
  5. Winners will be announced at 12 PM on Saturday, September 11th.


The Presentations will be judged in five categories adding up to a possible 100 points:
(1) Technical/Research Content,
(2) Organization and Format,
(3) Delivery and Effectiveness of the Oral Presentation,
(4) Use of Visual Aids, and
(5) Knowledge of the Topic/Ability to Answer Judge’s Questions.

Please register to compete using this link:


REGISTRATION DEADLINE: August 25, 2021 at 11:59PM ET

Sponsored by National Renewable Energy Laboratory

GEM Alumni Workshops 9:45 – 11:45 am; 2:15 – 5:00 pm

The GAA has been very active creating formal mentoring networks for current GEM fellows, developing current GEM Alum networks via social media, and hosting professional development activities and social events throughout the US. This year, formal programming for alums includes the following:

Why Entrepreneurship?

Pursuing Entrepreneurial Pathways (PEP) Talks

Alumni Board Meeting & Elections

Poster Presentation Session 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM


Poster Presentations will be Judged from 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM 

1st Place $300


  • The poster is a hybrid between a research paper and an oral presentation. The primary purpose of a poster is to communicate what was done, what data was obtained, the researcher’s conclusions and recommendation for future research.   A poster is more concise since the author is present to explain and elaborate on the research work.  You should typically have a single page for each major section of the poster.


The poster contains the following sections:

  • Title
  • Student’s name, University Sponsor, and Employer Sponsor (if applicable)
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgements


  • The poster ready, printed materials must fit within a 36″ wide, and 48″ high poster board. Other materials that will be provided include staplers, stick pins, double sided tape and scissors.
  • Posters should be readable from a distance of 4 feet.
  • The Title should be at least one inch (72 pts) in height.  The student’s name and regional should be included and should be (48 pts). All other lettering should be in 24-point font size. (Point size indicated above is suggested size only).
  • The poster should be balanced and organized in a logical, sequential order.
  • Keep the amount of text to a minimum.
  • There should be more emphasis on graphics, tables, charts, and graphs.
  • You can use photographs in addition to other illustrations. Figures may be in color.
  • No hazardous materials allowed. No Laptops are to be used. No specimens, no apparatus, no chemical reagents, no models are to be used during the presentation. Only printed material, affixed to the poster, will be allowed for the poster presentation.
  • No electric outlets and no Internet connections will be available.
  • All materials must be prepared (printed) and “poster ready” in advance of arriving at the Symposium and ready to be tacked onto the poster board. Printers will not be available.
If you are interested in participating, please fill out this form.

Sponsored by National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Annual Membership Board of Directors Meeting 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Representatives from GEM’s 180+ membership institutions (from both employers and universities) will vote on strategic items to advance the mission of the Consortium. Arrive early to position yourself in the board room with your tent, voting paddle and electronic briefing book.

Hosted by The GEM Governance Board

GEM 45th Anniversary Celebration — 45 Years of Amazing Alums 6:30 pm – 10 pm

Join us as we celebrate 45 years of making a difference through scientific impact.  Come enjoy live entertainment, music and beverages as we dance the night away in Downtown Houston.  It’s time for the family to party!

September 11, 2021

Technical Presentation Competition Finals and Buffet Breakfast 9:00 am – 11:00 am

The GEM board will judge the oral component of the finalists in the technical presentation competition in both the Master’s and PhD categories.  Finalists will receive awards at the awards presentation.

Graduate Resource, Post-Doc and Employer Fair and Poster Session (Lunch) 8:00 am – 2:00 pm

GEM University and Employer Representatives will exhibit to promote their graduate and undergraduate (REU) research programs. Event will be open to students attending the conference and the general public. Lunch served “on the go” for conference full registrants from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm.  Poster participants need to have them hung up in their assigned spot by Friday, September 10, 2021 8:00 AM. Judging happens 12-2.

GEM GRAD Lab 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Getting Ready for Advanced Degrees Laboratory (GRAD Labs) is for STEM undergraduates who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in STEM. Learn about the importance of graduate school and successful application techniques to gain admittance with funding!

GEM Fellows Symposium 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Content for GEM Fellows and current graduate students will run parallel to the Graduate Resource Fair, with scheduled attendance times for symposium students.

Technical Presentation Awards Ceremony 11:45 am – 12:45 pm

We will announce the winners of the technical presentation competition and poster session.

Hotel Information


To Be Determined

Conference Sponsors