John Brooks Slaughter Leadership in Engineering DEI Summit


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February 6th - 8th, 2024 | USC Campus - Los Angeles, CA


The USC Viterbi John Brooks Slaughter Leadership in Engineering DEI Summit is a transformative national, dual-track conference, an annual celebration of innovation and inclusion at the heart of engineering and technology. The conference focuses on several DEI intersections, namely, DEI+AI, DEI+Health, DEI+Games, DEI+Student Experience. We are driven by a passionate commitment to change and progress. Our mission transcends boundaries, fostering profound conversations that delve into the rich tapestry of engineering and DEI.

This conference does not just provide knowledge; we ignite sparks of insight and arm you with actionable strategies to propel us into a brighter future.

Through riveting presentations and dynamic panel discussions, we aspire to do more than inspire change; we aim to fuel a revolution.

This isn't just a conference; it's a call to action.

Join us, and together, we will forge a world where engineering is synonymous with diversity, where every engineer is a champion of inclusion, and where innovation knows no limits.

Message from John Brooks Slaughter

John Brooks Slaughter
University Professor Emeritus of Education and Computer Engineering

America is at a pivotal stage in its modern history. Many of the hard-earned victories in civil rights have been erased by judicial decisions and political malfeasance. Countless widespread actions of anti-racism that occurred in the wake of the tragedies of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbury and other innocent black Americans have been attacked or wiped out by those in power who fear the loss of what they consider to be supremacy and want to stifle progress. Governors and state legislative bodies in many states, have enacted laws and policies that have negatively impacted access and inclusion efforts in organizations and institutions, especially those in education.

The theme of this summit, Equity and Excellence in Engineering, addresses the need and opportunities for the profession of engineering to develop and advance strategies to counter these nullification efforts. Our schools

of engineering and organizations focused on increasing the representation of marginalized groups in engineering, must play a leadership role in this important effort. Your ideas and recommendations will be essential in this process. We are thankful for your presence and participation. Welcome to this Leadership Summit on DEI in Engineering.

John Brooks Slaughter, Ph.D.
University Professor Emeritus of Education and Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Southern California

Message from Conference Chair

Ken Bonner
Ken Bonner
Associate Dean for Inclusion and Diversity Initiatives

Dear distinguished guests, esteemed colleagues, and aspiring engineers,

On behalf of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, it is my great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to each and every one of you to the inaugural John Brooks Slaughter Leadership in Engineering DEI Summit.

As we gather here today, we commemorate the legacy of Dr. John Brooks Slaughter, a visionary leader, engineer, and educator who broke barriers and opened doors for underrepresented communities in engineering. This conference, named in his honor, stands as a testament to his unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the engineering field.

The question of "why" we are launching this annual DEI summit is both a poignant and urgent one. We find ourselves at a critical juncture in history, where technological advancements, artificial intelligence, and recent policy decisions — such as one of the most recent Supreme Court rulings on affirmative action – are shaping the future of our profession. In the face of these challenges, the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion has never been more vital. We cannot afford to overlook the potential consequences of a lack of diversity in the engineering industry. Our collective progress, the very fabric of our society, hinges upon our ability to embrace diversity and foster an inclusive environment that empowers all individuals, regardless of their background, to thrive.

At this summit, we aspire to accomplish several key objectives. We aim to foster meaningful discussions that explore the intersectionality of engineering and DEI, providing insights and actionable strategies to propel us forward. Through engaging presentations and dynamic panel discussions, we seek to inspire change, to equip each one of you with the tools to become champions of diversity in your workplaces and communities. Your presence here today is deeply appreciated, as it signifies your commitment to forging a more equitable and inclusive future for the engineering industry.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to our sponsors whose support has made this summit possible. We are honored to showcase groundbreaking work from a diverse array of presenters who exemplify the true spirit of innovation in engineering. As we delve into the AI track, we will explore the frontiers of artificial intelligence and its potential for transformational change, while keeping a keen eye on the ethical implications and the importance of ensuring AI does not perpetuate existing biases.

In conclusion, as Chair of the 2024 John Brooks Slaughter Leadership in Engineering DEI Summit, I express my deepest gratitude for your participation. Your presence and active engagement contribute immeasurably to the success of this gathering. Let us leave this summit united, with a shared commitment to driving change and leaving a lasting impact on the future of engineering, where diversity, equity, and inclusion reign supreme.

We hope you enjoy the conference.

Ken Bonner, Chair

2024 John Brooks Slaughter Leadership in Engineering DEI Summit

Published on September 22nd, 2023

Last updated on February 5th, 2024