About 100 college students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) got to hear from DuPont Vice President of North America Operations Willie Martin at the 2012 Emerging Leaders Workshop and Conference in Roanoke, Va.
Willie was the keynote speaker at the four-day workshop and conference, which drew students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the United States, as well as other educational institutions and high schools. He spoke on the topic of “The Cost of Leadership and Success,” telling students that while the current job market is challenging, the unemployment rate in STEM disciplines is half that of other professions.
Willie suggested that students: stay the course in their chosen path, set proper goals, make good choices, surround themselves with good people, be a leader and accept coaching from good mentors.
“He was very humble and genuine and it was apparent that he cares about the growth and development of the students in attendance,” said William Brown, Prairie View A&M University student who is an intern at the DuPont Louisville site and was a conference participant.
The students attended a variety of sessions designed to prepare them for transitioning into the job market, achieving success once employed and continually developing their leadership skills. The sessions were led by college faculty members, college honors and STEM directors, business professionals and Roanoke civic leaders.
The Emerging Leaders Workshop and Conference was created 13 years ago to promote STEM careers among minority students and to help develop relationships between DuPont and participating colleges. DuPont and Virginia Tech University have been the primary hosts and sponsors the last 10 years. Other companies, businesses and agencies provide additional financial support and representatives to teach sessions.
Emmett Smith, an engineering specialist & DPS systems program consultant at the Spruance plant, is one of the conference’s founders and chairperson of the Emerging Leaders’ Workshop Executive Committee. He said the committee, along with HBCU faculty, sponsors and educational consultants, coordinates the event. Oscar Martin, technology manager, at the DuPont Teijin Films plant at Spruance; and Genara Andrade, a DuPont scientist in Wilmington, were the facilitators of several workshop sessions this year.