Image of monument to Joe Louis located in Detroit adjacent to Cobo Center

Conference comes to my hometown

With Detroit hosting the National Society of Black Engineers conference, the chapter president reflects on what it means to him.

Image of monument to Joe Louis located in Detroit adjacent to Cobo Center
Monument to Joe Louis, also known as The Fist, located in Detroit adjacent to Cobo Center, where the NSBE Convention will be held this year. Photo: Joseph Xu

Jhawan Davis is a senior in Industrial and Operations Engineering and president of the U-M chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. The NSBE conference is March 27-31.

Am I excited that NSBE’s Annual Convention is in Detroit this year? What do you think! What better way to end my college career than to end it where it all started.

I have many feelings and much pride related to the city of Detroit. I was born and raised there, as were my parents. I witnessed the fall of The Big Three, the job market that drove the Motor City. I lived through all the bad things that big news stations loved to display about Detroit, but I also experienced all the wonderful things that media conveniently left out.

I take much pride in being from Detroit. If you asked a Detroiter to describe Detroit, and asked someone who knew me to describe me, you will hear similar descriptions: Resilience, determination, hard working, unconquerable, eclectic. Those traits are why I have been able to be successful throughout college and lead a prestigious chapter like NSBE-UM.

Ever since I arrived at the University of Michigan in 2015, NSBE-UM has left the Annual Convention with bragging rights of best chapter in Region 4, which consists of schools from Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio (always happy to beat Ohio State). So now, as a senior, and as president, and in my hometown, it is only fitting that I have the opportunity to lead our chapter to a fourth consecutive regional chapter of the year title.

Most importantly, the black and brown kids of Detroit will have a chance to see more than 10,000 black engineers live and in person. From personal experience, I understand that there will be many children who have never even thought of engineering, and in some cases have never even heard of it. But I’m willing to bet by the end of the conference, young black Detroit students will be motivated to lead their generation to greatness.

See some of our highlights from the conference on Twitter.