Howard Conyers

Pitmaster, CarolinaQNola; Engineer

In 2009, at the age of 27, Dr. Conyers earned a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University, making him one of less than 20 African Americans in the country to earn this degree. He completed his undergraduate studies in Bioenvironmental Engineering in 2004 from North Carolina A&T State University. Long before all of this educational training, Howard proved to his father at the age of 11 that he was ready to continue the family and community tradition of SC Whole Hog Barbecue by cooking his first pig alone, a lot of pressure for a kid especially with family members judging in Paxville, SC.

By day, Dr. Conyers makes use of his PhD by working as an engineer at NASA Stennis Space Center since 2009. He most recently served as the Principal Investigator & Project Manager for the High Dynamic Range Stereo-X (HiDyRS-X) project. The two-year proposal, funded to advance high speed high dynamic range video, was one of four awarded agency-wide by the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate Early Career Initiative in October 2014. In June 2016, Howard led the team in demonstrating the technology capabilities in recording high speed high dynamic range video during the Space Launch System Qualification Motor QM-2 Testing in Utah for the solid rocket booster test. The video, when released publicly, went viral, amassing over 1.4 million youtube videos and being picked up by media outlets around the world.

By night and weekend, Dr. Conyers has equally impressive attributes that makes him sought out nationally, one of which is that he’s a noted traditional South Carolina whole hog barbecue pitmaster. He has use this tradition as a platform to host educational dinners on South Carolina Barbecue, A Creole and Gullah Family Reunion, and most recently on Senegalese cuisine, where he invites in noted culinary experts like Benjamin Dennis, Pierre Thiam, and Vance Vaucresson. He has been featured in publications including Southern Living Daily South, the New Orleans Magazine, the Advocate, and the New Orleans Time Picayune to name a few. Dr. Conyers is a Fellow of the National Food and Beverage Foundation. Beyond cooking, Dr. Conyers was recognized in 2016 as a NextCity Vanguard, as 1 of 40 of the best and brightest young urban leaders under age 40 across the nation. Howard currently serves on the boards for the GrowDat Youth Farm and the Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture. Other past community involvement has included serving on the President’s Advisors for the Preservation Resource Center and the Warren Easton Charter High School STEM Advisory Board. Howard was recognized as Propeller Fellow of Social entrepreneurship in 2013-14, for creating an initiative to motivate minorities and females to go in to STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. Currently, Dr. Conyers resides in New Orleans with his wife Kathryn and their two boxers, Aggie and Lily Rose.