GAMMA THETA, 1998
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CLIENT RELATIONS,
NATIONAL GEM CONSORTIUM
IEEE-HKN: A Steady Rock Through Transitions
By Christina Muchmore
For Dr. Marcus Huggans, Executive Director of Client Relations at the National GEM Consortium, the best way to describe IEEE-HKN, would be “essential.” The experience and support gained from being a member of this organization is essential to students and professionals alike. Emphasizing the tenets of Scholarship, Character, and Attitude, IEEE-HKN prepares students to not just be competent professionals, but also active volunteers and community leaders. In Dr. Huggans words: “HKN gives you the framework of what you need to be successful in an Electrical Engineering academic setting, a professional setting, and also in the community setting… the framework to be successful as a student all the way to retirement.” The skills gained while young, stick with students all through their life, shaping the course of their careers and accomplishments.
Through Dr. Huggans’s professional journey, IEEE-HKN membership was a steady foundation for him to rely on while making many career changes. The mentorship he received from Dr. Steve E. Watkins, 2018 IEEE-HKN President, guided and prepared him for the transition from industry to academia to non-profit organizations. During his 20 years in industry, Dr. Huggans worked with Texas Instruments, where, in the spirit of living out the HKN tenets, he took every opportunity to partake in service opportunities and mentorship of middle and high school students to encourage them to think about STEM and Electrical Engineering. Working with these students made him realize: “HKN had me take a pivot from thinking about getting the next big project or working on the latest and greatest thing; it gave me the opportunity to start thinking about and developing the next wave of Electrical Engineers, starting as early as grade school.”
The desire to mentor and inspire students considering STEM led Dr. Huggans to accept a job as the Director of Student Diversity and Academic Support Program at Missouri University of Science and Technology. His background in Electrical Engineering made him a relatable and knowledgeable role model for the students he worked with to look up to and be able to ask questions about the profession. Though the transition from industry to administration in academia was difficult monetarily speaking, Dr. Huggans said: “I did enjoy it because I saw an impact in how many lives I was changing, and then once I saw that impact I actually went all-in to the nonprofit sector. I can’t put a monetary value on changing someone’s life forever by encouraging them to reach their fullest potential!” Thus, he joined The National GEM Consortium, where he encourages and helps thousands under-represented minority students annually to obtain their graduate degrees in STEM fields, helping to equip young professionals and increase diversity and inclusion in the workforce.
The motivation for Dr. Huggans to keep mentoring and serving others is partly driven by his thankfulness for the professors and professionals that invested in him. Mentors like Dr. Watkins and connections within the IEEE-HKN family, helped drive his career forward and give him a foundation during many career changes. Dr. Huggans lives out the tenets of Scholarship, Character, and Attitude through his exemplary service of preparing and equipping the next generation of engineers, of which he believes HKN to be an essential piece to his mission.