Last November, Base 11 hosted the Next Frontier Conference, bringing together experts, students, young innovators, and other members of our Base 11 community to learn and discover. Through incredible panels and workshops, we learned what it’s like to work across the most important industries of the future: including aerospace engineering, ed tech, finance, medicine, automation engineering, product design, biotechnology, and more.

Keep reading to see the conference highlights and important takeaways. And make sure to tune in to the recordings of the sessions to learn directly from the experts (or watch any workshops or discussions you particularly loved at NFC 2022 again!).

At NFC 2022, we learned about the next frontiers of:

Aerospace Engineering and Space Exploration…In Become Your Best Advocate: Building a Career in Aerospace, aerospace engineer Keji Sojobi shared the power of self-advocacy in her own career, from her start in aerospace to her work on the James Webb telescope and a Netflix feature! The Two Pennies To The Stars: A Story of Planetary Science and Perseverance session highlighted planetary geologist Darian Dixon’s story. He was inspired to pursue planetary geology by a conversation with his mother—which led him to work operating some of the most sophisticated spacecraft ever created, including the Mars Rovers. The Unity STEM Career Playbook workshop with the VP of Social Impact and Education at Unity, Jessica Lindl, and astronaut Leland Melvin discussed the essential components of their own ‘playbooks’ for their careers in STEM and shared advice to those seeking to make their own way in high-growth industries.



Automation and Structural Engineering…The Books, Laughs, Engineering, and Failure session featured LaDonna Patterson, Advanced Automation Engineer at Tesla, who detailed her path through challenges and triumphs in building a career in advanced manufacturing and gave advice for aspiring automation engineers and manufacturers. In Building the Future, One Bridge at a Time (Is Engineering Right for Me?), structural engineer Nicole Melendez shared how she fell in love with infrastructure, her work designing innovative bridges, and the right questions to ask yourself to know if engineering is the right path. 

Finance & Venture Capital…The Show Up As Yourself: Uncovering the World of Venture Capital session featured Debbie Rumbo, founder of venture capital firm OMNST. She discussed how showing up as yourself, living into your values, and being curious facilitates career growth and walked viewers through her own experiences unearthing the world of equity-focused venture capital and effective networking. In FinTech Opens Up a World of Possibilities, attendees unearthed the world of fintech with author and digital strategist Rosa Wang. She shared insights on the young and growing industry—and showed the potential there is for fintech to improve global equity. And VC investor Abbie Strabala introduced us to FemTech—highlighting how she equips women founders, entrepreneurs, and financiers—in For Women, By Women, Powered By Women: FemTech and Early Stage Investing. 

Accessibility and Haptics…Making the World Accessible Through Technology featured Dr. Jeremy Martinez, Addiction Psychiatrist, Founder of La’i Communities and a Coinbase Innovation Challenge winner, who is building a smart house to better serve people with mental and physical disabilities. In his session, he taught viewers about the impact architecture has on mental health and how tech is making accessible design easier to achieve and more innovative. In The Future of Wearable Technology. Keith Kirkland described how his career took him from engineering to Coach handbags to design in Japan—before he landed on building the future of wearable technology. He’s transforming what’s possible and pushing the limits of haptics as the Co-Founder of WearWorks.

Medicine…In On Life Support: Keeping Your Dream Alive, finance expert Ross Mac interviewed Dr. Derek Robinson, who shared his journey from a childhood interest in science to a career as an emergency physician. He discussed the challenges he faced, how they ultimately prepared him to be a compassionate doctor, and the experiences that taught and motivated him to push forward.

And even Food Science! The We Are What We Eat: The Many Paths of Food Science discussion brought together Safe Plates Outreach Director Ellen Shumaker and food scientist Allen McGee to chat about their careers working closely with food—and give us an inside look at our favorite snacks. Science can determine everything from flavor and texture to nutrition to food safety measures!

Tune in to all of these amazing discussions and more from NFC 2022! We’re so grateful to the amazing sponsors who helped us bring this event to life. Thank you to Amazon, Dassault Systemes, Regeneron, The Boulé Foundation (Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity), Coinbase, The Executive Leadership Council, Unity, Stemtac Foundation, Morgan State University, BWX Technologies, JP Morgan Chase & Co, and The Links, Inc.

The Next Frontier Conference showcased the fastest-growing, highest-paying industries and fields of work with the greatest opportunities for wealth creation. Yet despite their growth and popularity, Black and Indigenous people and people of color are still severely underrepresented in these industries. Base 11 exists to change this reality and foster awareness, access, and belief in students and early-career adults pursuing STEM education and careers. 

And we want you to be involved! Keep up with us on our website, learn more about our Next Frontier Programs and challenges like the Parity Project for Innovation Challenge (currently accepting proposals for how STEM can improve equity for Black Americans!), and stay connected with peers, mentors, and leaders on our unique digital platform, Base 11 Digital. We’re excited to welcome you into our community and help superpower the future of STEM fields!