Rochelle L. Williams, Ph.D. is an engineer, educator, and advocate for equitable work environments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions. Dr. Williams is the Senior Director of Programs at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), whose mission is to increase the number of Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. In this role, she serves as the chief programs officer responsible for achieving the strategic outcomes of the society and for the logistical planning and implementation of the programs from the Pre-Collegiate, Collegiate and Professional demographics.

Dr. Williams frequently delivers workshops and presentations centered on mitigating systemic barriers that prevents the full participation of traditionally marginalized persons in engineering. She currently serves as Co-PI on three NSF grants: the ADVANCE Resource and Coordination Network; RAPID: The Impact of COVID-19 on Broadening Participation in Engineering at HBCUs; and INCLUDES Planning Grant: Developing and Strengthening Partnerships to Better Support Women of Color in the Engineering Workforce. 

Having received her Bachelor of Science in physics from Spelman College and both her Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D. in Science and Mathematics Education from Southern University and A&M College, Dr. Williams intentionally works to promote the excellence and innovation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 


Shifting Focus: Dismantling Systems, Challenging Policies, and Leaving Black Women Alone

The National Society of Black Engineers is dedicated to increasing the number of Black engineers who succeed professionally, yet many scientific and engineering companies continue to stall when it comes to the retention and advancement of Black women and women of color. While NSBE continues to provide opportunities for women to hone technical and professional skills, we recognize that in order to see true change, emphasis must shift from ‘fixing the women’ to challenging companies to fix systems and policies that impede the advancement of women of color in engineering. This session will highlight current and future initiatives that advocate for equitable and just work environments for women in engineering.   

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