National Society of Black Engineers Leader to Speak in UW Event | News

October 9, 2020

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Karl Reid

Karl Reid, executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and author of “Working Smarter, Not Just Harder: Three Sensible Strategies for Succeeding in College … and Life,” is the 2020 H.T. Person Distinguished Speaker for the University of Wyoming College of Engineering and Applied Science.

He will speak virtually Friday, Oct. 16, at 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Participants can view the discussion on Zoom with meeting ID 955 2201 3395 and passcode HTPDS2020.

Reid’s talk, titled “The Case for Diversity and Inclusion from an Engineer’s Perspective,” will explain why diversity, equity and inclusion matter to the prospective and practicing engineer who is looking to produce better products and solutions; to the faculty member seeking to stimulate understanding and learning in the classroom; the executive aspiring to increase company value; and the college president who aims to move the university to higher levels of student retention and success.

“Dr. Reid’s talk will bring alive a topic for us that is always important and compelling, but is so timely, given what our society has been undergoing recently,” says Cameron Wright, interim dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science. “The human aspect to engineering is more important than any of the tools, instruments or computers we may use, and Dr. Reid is the perfect person to help us understand more about the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce, laboratory and classroom.”

Born in the Bronx, Reid grew up in Roosevelt, N.Y., a mostly working-class, African American community on Long Island, where his parents placed a high value on education. Reid earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in materials science and engineering, and was a Tau Beta Pi Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he later worked in positions of progressive responsibility to increase diversity, as associate dean of undergraduate education and director of the Office of Minority Education.

While working at MIT as director of engineering outreach programs, Reid earned his Doctor of Education degree at Harvard University, where his dissertation explored the interrelationship of race, identity and academic achievement.

After graduating from MIT, Reid worked in the computer industry for 12 years, in product management, marketing, sales and consulting. In 1991, five years into a successful career in sales and marketing with the IBM Corp., Reid read Jonathan Kozol’s “Savage Inequalities,” a seminal book about educational disparities in the U.S., which sparked his passion for bringing about positive change through education of African Americans and other underserved populations.

For the past 22 years, Reid has been a leading advocate for increasing college access, opportunity and success for low-income and minority youth.

Reid came to NSBE from the United Negro College Fund, where he oversaw new program development, research and capacity building for the organization’s 37 historically black colleges and universities, and held the title of senior vice president for research, innovation and member college engagement.

He holds memberships in the American Association of Engineering Societies, the American Society of Engineering Education, and the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives. Reid also is a founding member of the 50K Coalition, a national effort to produce 50,000 diverse engineering graduates annually by 2025. He was recently named a Top 100 Executive in America by Uptown Professional magazine.

He is a frequent contributor to the national diversity engineering dialogue; author of several commentary pieces; and quoted in numerous articles in publications such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, and The Hechinger Report.

“Dr. Reid is a very well-recognized authority on diversity and inclusion in engineering education and the practice of engineering. I am thrilled that he has accepted our invitation as the 2020 H.T. Person Distinguished Speaker for the College of Engineering and Applied Science,” says Dennis Coon, H.T. Person Professor in Engineering at UW. “His insights will both enlighten us and challenge us to a higher level of achievement.”

The event is cosponsored by the UW Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

For more information about the event, email Coon at

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