ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --
On a national webinar designed to share opportunities to encourage and support Black engineers, several corporate leaders testified about the effectiveness and value of investing in programs to foster interest in engineering among the Black community from a young age, as one way to address racial inequality. The presentations were part of the National Society of Black Engineers’ NSBE ALL IN Summit.
The Summit was created to highlight opportunities to affect real change for the Black community through investment in NSBE’s proven programs. During the height of the reactions to the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, corporations issued statements and pledges supporting the Black community daily but NSBE Executive Director, Karl Reid, Ed.D., said, “many of these corporations are still identifying strategies to support the Black community in a meaningful way and NSBE is poised to partner with them.”
NSBE National Chair, Jocelyn Jackson, introduced the webinar by clearly stating NSBE’s mission: “To increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.”
“The best way to begin to meet that challenge is to start early,” said Leslye Miller Fraser, SM, JD, Retired Environmental Appeals Judge, USEPA, and National STEM Chair, The Links, Inc.
“We cannot expect our engineering students to excel if their first exposure to engineering is from their high school guidance counselor,” she said. “To ensure there are enough students who are preparing themselves in middle and high school for a collegiate STEM curriculum's academic rigor, we need more thriving NSBE Jr. Chapters.” NSBE JR. Chapters help introduce young students of color to engineering, often as early as the third grade.
Gary Johansen, Executive Director, Engineering – Power Systems Business, Cummins Inc. echoed Fraser’s comments and made a pitch to support the NSBE SEEK Program, a summer STEM adventure that targets underrepresented seven to 11-year-olds across the country.
“Think about what could be accomplished if NSBE could build and deploy the infrastructure to scale the program to 40 sites per NSBE region - that's 36,000 students per summer this program would impact,” Johansen said. “Your company’s investment in SEEK ensures two things: the
growth and continuous improvement of the program and a steady pipeline of eager, young scholars who will pursue an education in engineering for many years to come.”
Several corporate and NSBE leaders stated that encouraging children and high school students to consider STEM careers is just the beginning of the challenge.
Sandra Evers-Manly, Vice President, Global Corporate Responsibility, Northrop Grumman Corporation said NSBE’s vision is to evolve the NSBE Career Academy to include intentional programming for both the pre-college and professional demographics over the next two years. This additional content will enable NSBE to provide vital and relevant programming for all of its member demographics. Augmenting SEEK and NSBE Jr.'s experiences and curriculum and providing access to essential certifications for professional members.
Kevin Edwards, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Bechtel closed the webinar with a powerful plea. “With so many societal forces working against organizations like NSBE and young people in the Black community, we are appealing to you today to power the expansion of this venerable organization that can do so much more for the STEM community and society-at-large. NSBE currently has a membership of over 22,000 aspiring and current members, but we know that it has to grow to meet industry needs and positively impact the Black community.” Edwards said an investment of $5 million will fuel the explosive growth NSBE needs to undertake to support its ambitious goals.
“As recent events have highlighted, intentionality in providing opportunities to citizens of color in STEM fields is key to affecting meaningful and lasting change. In this regard, NV5 has pledged $275,000 in scholarships to NSBE over a five-year period. Attendance at the NSBE ALL IN Summit provided an opportunity to hear and explore other potential effective partnership opportunities between NSBE and NV5," said Carl Henderson, Ph.D., Chief Diversity Officer at NV5.
Dr. Reid encouraged corporations to contact NSBE to being a dialogue about strategies to help corporations support and nurture Black engineers. Those interested in learning more about investment opportunities and partnering with NSBE can email Charles Thompson III, NSBE’s Senior Director, Fund Development and Marketing, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With more than 600 chapters and more than 22,000 active members in the U.S. and abroad, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. NSBE, founded in 1975, supports and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.”
CONTACT: Yvette Watson National Society of Black Engineers 703-966-6793 email@example.com