Engineering Organization Reaches Across Race
Student group welcomes all
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 16:10
Over 250 organizations are on NDSU’s campus and a lot of them face a dilemma. Their names do not sound very inclusive, and hence these organizations have a hard time recruiting new members. One such organization is NDSU Chapter of National Society of Black Engineers.
Commonly referred to as NSBE (pronounced nesbee), it is the local chapter of the nationwide organization started at Purdue University in 1971.
The original organization was formed with the idea of recruiting and retaining black engineering students. However, today NSBE is an organization that supports engineering students irrespective of their ethnic background. Its idea is to unite engineering students under one common banner and provide them with networking opportunities.
At NDSU, the organization, headed by Samuel Ogunyemi, a junior in mechanical engineering, has already taken steps to diversify their roll call. They have some members from Asia and also one female member, which is rare amongst most engineering societies.
The organization sends its students to national conferences, like the upcoming event in Nashville, Tenn. During these conferences, engineering students can meet with alumni from different universities and also connect with job providers.
The members also get opportunities to participate in career guidance workshops and phone conferences with upperclassmen from different universities.
“We help students find internships and encourage students to go to national conferences,” Ibrahim Ahmed, a sophomore in electrical engineering and vice president of NSBE said.
There are also technical competitions that students can participate in through NSBE.
The organization has a worldwide presence in Africa, Europe, South America, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean. Another advantage of being part of NSBE is that members get to take tours of company plants.
NSBE networks with local companies like Bobcat, to give students firsthand experience of working as an engineer.
“In today’s times it is not easy to find a job in engineering, so it’s important to know the right kind of people to land a job,” Ahmed said.
The NDSU chapter is part of Region 5 of NSBE, which includes engineering schools in the upper Midwest.
“Once you are a part of NSBE you will realize that this organization is not only for blacks,” Ogunyemi said. “We may not be able to change the name because it is a nationwide organization, but that does not mean we are not open to others.”
“Being part of NSBE provides motivation to engineering students that they can be someone, someone big,” he said. “We are here to help each other out.”
Ogunyemi is a recipient of McNair’s Scholarship. He said he has benefited from the organization as a student well before he became president.
The organization also helps senior engineering students find funding for their design projects. The organization liaises with other organizations on campus like African Student Union, Black Student Organization and others to spread the word. The members also spend many hours in community service.
The organization will be sending two or three student delegates to the conference March 2014 in Tennessee.