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Engineering deans of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) hold many events at the BEYA Conference, including the Dean’s Breakfast, where members of the Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering or AMIE organization join together to celebrate corporate-academic alliances that support minority students in engineering.

Each year,  the deans honor an AMIE member as Alumnus of the Year in recognition of their contributions to attract, educate, graduate and place minority students in engineering careers through AMIE.

Jacklyn Mitchell Wynn, vice president and director of MITRE Corporation’s  Center for Enterprise Modernization’s Veterans Affairs portfolio, presented the 2019 award. Wynn said MITRE was a proud sponsor of the association of minorities in engineering, and Patrick F. Gerdes was being recognized as a leader in America’s STEM stage.

Gerdes, a senior executive for MITRE’s veteran’s enterprise transformation, was recognized for his work within AMIE, where he is changing lives by creating opportunities to attract, educate, graduate and place minority students in engineering careers.

Gerdes’ other distinctions include leading efforts to implement the Medicare Modernization Act, and serving as an architect for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He has an undergraduate degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from MIT and holds a master in the same subject from Stanford University.

“My story began in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti,” Gerdes said in his acceptance speech.  “My parents brought us to the U.S. because they believed this would open up a world of possibilities. They also believed in the power of education; the importance of always learning and critical thinking.”

Gerdes said these beliefs, the love of family, especially of his wife of 29 years, Lori, along with his faith in God and the power of spirit, have given him the strength and unwavering desire to mentor and help others, especially young people of color.

“Events like this shine the light on what’s possible for people in underserved communities to achieve. Thank you for being that beacon,” he said.

The BEYA STEM Conference brings professionals and students from a wide variety of STEM-related fields together for three days to share their experiences and information in tandem with the HBCU engineering deans and AMIE

The outcome of an initiative by Abbott Laboratories in 1992, AMIE represents a coalition of industry and government agencies, and the ABET-accredited HBCU Schools of Engineering, who see a diversified workforce as a competitive advantage and an essential business strategy.

Save the Date: 2019 AMIE Annual Conference
September 3-5, 2019
Newport News Marriott at Center City
Newport News, Virginia
For more information visit www.amiepartnerships.org

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