The National Society of Black Engineers was stronger than ever at its 45th annual conference last month, with a record-high attendance of more than 14,000 engineering professors, students and recruiters gathered at the Cobo Center in Detroit.
But even with that record turnout, NSBE isn’t complacent. The organization is striving to boost the number of graduating black engineers each year from 3,500 today to over 10,000 by 2025. Reaching that number has been a challenge but members are working hard to move the needle.
Alec D. Gallimore, the Robert J Vlasic Dean of Engineering, Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Richard F and Eleanor A Towner Professor of Engineering and Professor of Aerospace Engineering, addressed conference attendees. “All of us want to see greater diversity in the STEM professions, particularly engineering,” he said. “As we work to open doors of opportunity, which for too long have been closed, we need as many talented folks as possible to be ready to walk through them.
“So I want you to know you are doing something very important, not only for yourself, but also for your universities and future organizations, and for the next generation.
NSBE aims to grow its numbers by continuing to provide a sense of community and support for its members across the country. Nia Gray, a Michigan Engineering undergraduate student said she struggled when she arrived at the university where the student body is predominantly white, until she joined Michigan Engineering’s NSBE chapter.
Michigan Engineering Mechanical Engineering doctoral student and NSBE-UM chapter member Nosa Edoimoiya echoed Gray, saying a diverse, supportive student body was crucial to his college experience.
For their consistently-high participation, the University of Michigan’s chapter, NSBE-UM, won the Region IV Amazing Race Award for the fourth consecutive year in a row, beating out other universities from Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio.
Those who attended the event praised the 100+ sessions and workshops provided by NSBE 45 for their perspective on careers and the importance of attracting talent to STEM careers.
I’ve often weighted a career in industry vs academia, and desired to learn more about each. I’m thankful for the ARL Network at #nsbe45 which has connected me with brilliant individuals from both areas!— nemi_nemz (@nemi_nemz) April 3, 2019