Department of Design and Construction311Search all websites

February 2, 2018

NYC DDC STEAM Deputy Commissioner on STEM panel at Latina Empowerment Conference

On February 2nd, Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships, and STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis attended the Harvard Latina Empowerment and Development Conference (LEAD) and spoke to over 100 Latina high school and college students about careers in the STEAM fields and specifically careers in Architecture, Construction, and Engineering. LEAD is an annual conference organized by Harvard student group Latinas Unidas. The conference brings together high school and college students from around the country to attend educational panels and provide students with networking opportunities. The theme of the 2018 Conference was Facing the Future-Together, and focused on supporting Latina students as they navigate the journey to their professional careers.

Conference panels and workshops centered on career opportunities, and advice for getting ahead. Many of the workshops focused on specific skills, like interviewing and writing résumés. Panel participants discussed Media and Communications, Business and Entrepreneurship, Law and Public Policy, STEM, and Academia. While the focus of the event was career-oriented, speakers also spoke about the importance of internships and mentors and many shared a more personal message of Latina empowerment. Speakers and panelists addressed the struggles they faced in their professional careers.

“It is critically important for young women to be exposed to the STEAM professions, and in particular careers in Engineering, Architecture and Construction as these are the careers of the future and there are presently very few women in the pipeline. If young women are going to compete in a global 21st century economy, they need to be prepared. The LEAD Conference is an opportunity to reach the young women who will one day diversify the STEAM workforce and broaden the pool of ideas that influence the built environment,” said DDC Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis.

Kimberly Hernandez, a freshman at Wellesley stated, “during the conference, the speakers and workshop presentations inspired me. I felt empowered. The energy in the room was amazing. During the STEM panel, I realized just how important it is not to only get more Latinos into STEM, but also more women. As a first-generation college student, having the opportunity to attend this conference was inspiring. I can't wait to pursue my career in physics and engineering.  Thank you so much!

“They tell you ‘Hey this is what I did to get here, and you can get here too,’” said Wesleyan student Shantel Sosa. “None of the jobs they introduced to me—engineer, doctor—I ever thought were careers I would be able to pursue. I totally see myself pursuing one of these careers, and I’ll have the support system to do that when I do,” said Sosa.

NYC students interested in the DDC High School Summer internship program can apply on line by February 16, 2018. To download a PDF with more detailed information on the program.

Students from across the nation who are interested in the College and Graduate Summer Internship program can apply online, now through February 23, 2018. The ten-week paid internship begins at DDC’s headquarters in Long Island City on Monday, June 4, 2018 and ends Friday August 10, 2018. For more information on how to apply and program requirements.

audience of young woman
 DDC STEAM Deputy Commissioner speaking to young woman