The Emerging Leaders Workshop and Conference, hosted by the Virginia Tech Graduate School, will be held July 31 through Aug. 3 at The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Roanoke.

Now in its tenth year, the Emerging Leaders Workshop develops scholars and encourages the brightest students, primarily from minority institutions, to pursue graduate degrees and/or acquire leadership roles in America. This mission is accomplished by guest speakers (from business and industry, academia, and government) and former workshop participants sharing their career successes and challenges with the students. All lectures, presentations, and activities are designed to develop sustainable leadership through academic success, good financial planning, community service, and ethical behavior.

Participants, accompanied by a faculty member, consist of a group of rising sophomores and juniors, mostly majoring in math and science, from approximately 40 historically black colleges and universities. The students have the opportunity to prepare for graduate school and career opportunities through involvement with senior scholars and industry professionals who provide awareness of the opportunities available to them, both in the workforce and in academia.

It is hoped that the workshop will encourage the students to pursue advanced degrees and to enter the workforce, thus promoting long-term academic growth in communities all over the nation. In the last decade, the number of technically qualified minority students applying for entrance to graduate schools and/or preparing for entry into the professional world has not kept pace with the available opportunities. Corporate and other entities have expressed the need for math and science qualified students from diverse backgrounds to be available for entrance into today’s workforce.

Students will engage in four days of intensive workshops in small groups of 10 to12 participants each. Senior scholars will facilitate work groups and provide individual attention to the students with emphasis on self-assessment, writing personal statements, goal setting, networking, and developing leadership skills. Senior scholars are former workshop participants and are representative of diverse institutions and academic fields who are graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other prestigious colleges and universities. Many are Truman, Fulbright, and Rhodes scholars.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss career plans and participate in panel discussions and mock interviews with corporate professionals and recruiters from DuPont Corporation, Boeing, FedEx, Lockheed Martin, Norfolk Southern, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the United States Department of State. Other sponsors for this year’s program include Carilion, the City of Roanoke, The Collis-Warner Foundation, Inc., Hewlett Packard, HSMM/AECOM, Carnegie Mellon University, U.S. Cellular, Lockheed Martin, The Roanoke Times, Verizon, the Virginia Tech Africana Studies Program, and the Virginia Tech Office for Equity and Inclusion.

The Emerging Leaders Workshop offers graduate schools an excellent opportunity to partner in developing the best and brightest minority undergraduates and creates a highly desirable pool of potential employees for companies. The workshop also fulfills numerous philanthropic goals pertaining to education and allows corporations to fulfill pressing societal needs through collaborative and innovative efforts.

Topics covered in the conference include pursuing scholarships, internships and fellowships; best practices in honors programs; resume’ writing, etiquette, dressing for success, the global future, transitioning from undergraduate to graduate school, transitioning from college to the business world, interpersonal communication, personal financial/money management, developing personal action plans and mock job interviews.

Author, educator, and motivational speaker, Dennis P. Kimbro, will be the keynote speaker Friday evening. As a lecturer and researcher in the field of management, entrepreneurship and human potential, Kimbro has interviewed successful African Americans, in a variety of fields, to determine the source of their success.

Created in 1997, the Emerging Leaders Workshop was a combined effort of and funded by the Virginia Tech Graduate School, DuPont Corporation, and the Truman Foundation. The workshop has brought together prominent professional and educational leaders and has gained attention for its outreach to more than 500 students who have completed the program.

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