Engaged Learning

USF Students Network at Black Engineers Conference

by Mary McInerney, USF News

Six members of the National Society of Black Engineers chapter at USF attended the 50th annual NSBE conference in Atlanta, Georgia, last month. Ivey Garcia ’25, internal vice president of the NSBE chapter, talks about the conference and why she’s majoring in computer science.

What was it like?

With about 20,000 people and more than 80 companies in attendance, the conference was overwhelming but also enriching and exhilarating. Events started at 7 a.m. each day and included regional chapter meetings and networking events with companies such as GE, Honeywell, Boeing, and BOSE, before ending at 10 p.m.

The highlights of the conference for me were the luncheons and late-night networking events that were hosted by companies such as Amazon, HP, Experian, Dell, and plenty of others. We were given the opportunity to talk one-on-one with recruiters and representatives from the companies. We also had the chance to connect with other students from NSBE chapters from other regions.

Everyone from our chapter received at least one interview from companies such as Jacobs, Universal Creatives, Kohl’s Tech, and a couple others. With today’s fierce job competition, I’m proud to say our chapter was able to stand out.

How will you apply what you learned at the conference to your USF studies?

There was a GitHub workshop I went to during the conference that helped me understand it a bit better, especially since it’s used for the majority of my classes. And at the Leadership in Engineering and Sports Q&A with the San Francisco 49ers, I learned that it’s better to specialize in one area of expertise and recognize areas of weakness. I could apply this technique to debugging projects and also working with others to solve problems.

Ivey Garcia being interviewed at conference
Ivey Garcia being interviewed at the conference.

What is your interest in engineering?

I’m majoring in computer science because I wanted to find a middle ground between my love for art as well as coding. Computer science, however, does fall under the umbrella of engineering as there are plenty of job opportunities for software engineers and web developers as well as data analysts. I want to explore the creative aspects of engineering while also learning technical skills from coding.

What do you want to do after you finish college?

I plan to go into animation or game design and engineering. I found my love for coding while using Unity to create my own game in high school and ever since then I knew that was the direction I wanted to go.

Anything else you’d like to tell us? 

Although the conference was a pleasant experience overall, a lack of funding put us in a huge predicament. Thanks to the engineering department, we’re getting reimbursed for our conference tickets.

I want to give a shoutout to USF chapter members who attended the conference with me this year: Beatrice Johnson-Drysdale ’25, co-founder and president; Tiffany Wilson ’24; Levi Kottut ’25, co-founder and external vice president; Axel Ndombasi ’25; and Kwasi Acquaye ’25. I’d also like to give a huge shoutout to our treasurer and co-founder Lisa Anderson ’25, who helped to allocate funds and make this trip possible.