ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), an organization that seeks to increase the number of black engineering professionals, will hold its annual convention in Anaheim, Calif., on March 25-29. The 41st Annual Convention, to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center and neighboring facilities, is expected to draw more than 8,000 attendees.
NSBE’s largest event, the Annual Convention has been a turning point in the lives of countless black college and pre-college students over the past four decades. The convention showcases black students and professionals who have a passion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), who are high-achievers in these fields and who are channeling their passion to advance their communities and society at large.
Interview a random sample of NSBE members about their first experience at the Annual Convention, and one will invariably hear words like these from the majority: “I had never seen so many brilliant black professionals….” Like many people, these first-time attendees found NSBE’s convention to be a stark contrast to the negative images they’d seen in media, and a shattering of the “glass ceiling” created by falsely low expectations of black youth.
Here, high-achieving NSBE collegiate, pre-collegiate and professional members are the masters of their domain. Here, they set a course for the future of black engineers coming up the ranks, and plan policies and procedures that will impact the futures of thousands of young people like them. Here, they are viewed by their peers as cutting-edge new talent. And they are regarded as innovators in STEM fields by sponsors such as The Boeing Company and Google, Inc., who support their efforts. NSBE’s members will be joined by local leaders and celebrities alike, in activities and events spotlighting the next phase of engineering and centered on the conference theme: “Innovation & Excellence: Reimagining Your Future.”
As the convention prepares to get underway, the Society’s executive director says NSBE’s chief focus is achieving one goal of its new strategic plan: to graduate 10,000 black engineers with bachelor’s degrees, annually, by the year 2025.
“We view our Annual Convention as a time to show the world what excellence in engineering looks like,” says Karl W. Reid, Ed.D. “As we continue to advance NSBE‘s mission to increase the number of black engineers, we are also focusing on making engineering the career of choice for many more black children around the world. We are committed to reimagining our children’s futures.”
Sossena Wood, a Ph.D. student in bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, is NSBE’s national chair, the organization’s top-ranking officer.
“NSBE’s Annual Convention has been a big part of my personal development,” she says. “Six years ago, in Las Vegas, as a first-time member of the NSBE Senate, I was actively involved in deciding what path the Society would take in the coming year. Now, as we prepare for our convention in Anaheim, I have come full circle, as I share with the Senate the path the Society should take until 2025.”
The following is a small sample of newsworthy events at NSBE’s 41st Annual Convention:
- Silicon Corner: NSBE Hackathon and CyberSecurity Case Competition
- o NSBE computer programmers, graphic designers and others get competitive while working on team-based software projects during the NSBE Hackathon, powered by Google, Inc. and sponsored by Thought Works.
- o NSBE computer engineers and scientists show their defensive skills during the Cybersecurity Case Competition, powered by EMC Corporation.
- “To the Moon, Mars and Beyond,” NSBE Space Special Interest Group Workshop
- o The Special Interest Groups (SIGs) gather the talent of NSBE members to acquire knowledge and take on challenges in specific areas, from the environment to energy to public policy. In this session, the Space SIG presents its bold proposals for U.S. lunar, Martian and other explorations beyond the Earth.
- Technical Research Exposition
- o The Technical Research Exposition showcases NSBE members’ skills in technical writing, theoretical research and oral presentation. The competition provides an opportunity for graduate students and technical professionals to present their research findings while encouraging undergraduate students to showcase their research and pursue graduate degrees.
- APEX Career Fair and APEX College Fair
- o NSBE’s Academic Pyramid of Excellence (APEX) recognizes members who maintain grade-point averages of 3.0 or above. During the two-day Career Fair and College Fair events, the APEX members have hours of exclusive access to the more than 200 corporate, government, academic and other recruiters exhibiting at the convention.
- NSBE’s “Impact Ferguson” Campaign
- o Launched last fall, NSBE’s “Impact Ferguson” campaign raised funds to engage students in the Ferguson, Mo., area in STEM educational activities and to bring 21 of the students to the positive, possibly life-changing experience of the NSBE Annual Convention.
- Workshop – Urban Revitalization: How Volunteering Can Influence the Entrepreneur in You
- o “Positively impact the community” is one of the core components of NSBE’s mission. In this session, NSBE entrepreneurs and prospective entrepreneurs learn how to achieve this end while building a successful business.
- Workshop – Saving Our Cities: Green Projects to the Rescue
- o NSBE’s Environmental Engineering Special Interest Group demonstrates the importance of environmental awareness and environmental protection to the well-being of urban communities.
- 18th Annual NSBE Golden Torch Awards
- o Individuals and organizations, 21 in all, will receive NSBE’s top honors during this black-tie event sponsored by Northrop Grumman Corporation and emceed by actor Laz Alonso. Among the honorees are Retired U.S. Air Force Capt. Ed Dwight, now a successful artist, who was the first African-American to undergo astronaut training, and Julian Earls, Ph.D., retired director of NASA Glenn Research Center.