Latine in Stem

Waubonsee Community College is hosting a networking event focused on the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) experience in the STEM field featuring keynote speaker Cortez Watkins, a Waubonsee alumnus and the Senior Workforce Pathways Partnerships Liaison at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. The free event will take place on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. at its Aurora Downtown Campus, located at 18 S. River St. While registration is encouraged, walk-ins are also welcome.  

At this event, Watkins will expand attendees' understanding of the challenges and opportunities available in STEM for BIPOC individuals. He is passionate about nurturing a culture of inclusion and accessibility within the STEM fields and honoring diversity's unique perspectives to scientific inquiry and innovation.  

Watkins' mission is to guide and inspire young minds from underrepresented communities, drawing from his educational journey through Louisiana's prestigious undergraduate and graduate engineering programs and subsequent move to Illinois.  

As a proud product of these experiences, Watkins is committed to creating avenues for success in engineering and science, particularly at Fermilab. His dedication is mirrored in his work, from his early days at the Urban League to his current engagement with the National Society of Black Engineers, aiming to build a legacy that resonates with every young engineer who dares to dream and achieve amidst diversity.  Watkins is deeply involved with the National Society of Black Engineers. He has been invited to be a panelist at the Annual Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence Conference many times.

In collaboration with Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS), Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory created a Plug and Play Modules U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) COMPASS: Career Opportunity Modules Promoting Academic STEM Success. The BIPOC in STEM event highlights the collaborative effort of Sandra E. Charles, Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and Waubonsee Associate Professor of Biology Sheela Vemu, who worked on creating a set of Plug and Play Modules. The primary objective of their efforts is preparing the next generation of highly skilled STEM workforce by diversifying role models in STEM curriculums.  

Go to for more information and to RSVP for the BIPOC STEM event.   

Waubonsee Community College provides an enriching and comprehensive educational experience to students interested in STEM disciplines. Students can explore their interests in greater depth while enjoying affordable tuition, flexible payment options, academic support, transfer partnerships, career planning, and more. Visit for additional information on our STEM pathways.  

Pictured Above: Dr. Sheela Vemu, Associate Professor of Biology, welcomes guests to the 2022 Being Latine in STEM event at Waubonsee’s Aurora Downtown Campus Latinx Resource Center. 

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