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National Society of Black Engineers marks 40th anniversary at UC

Chapter continues NSBE's legacy of positive impact

twenty one college students in business wear sit in three rows on a grand staircase

A group of NSBE members attended the Region 4 Fall Regional Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Photo/Provided.

Throughout 40 years of excellence, the University of Cincinnati (UC) chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has faithfully aligned with the national society's mission to increase the number of black engineers in the workforce.

This spring, the chapter honors nine members who received degrees from the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Each member’s graduation is both a personal and communal achievement because it exemplifies their contribution to NSBE’s national goal to graduate 10,000 black engineers annually by 2025.

“We recognize their achievement, acknowledging they may have experienced hardships along the way,” said Moriah Henry, the 2019-2020 chapter president. “We want them to know we are here to support them, and we are proud to see them living out that mission.”

NSBE is a key support system along the path to graduation, coordinating resources to help members excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.

NSBE has made all the difference in my college career.

Moriah Henry, President, UC's chapter of National Society of Black Engineers

Corporate sponsors and partners are invited to host and participate in programming for members to strengthen key business skills. Companies like Honda, GE Aviation, P&G and Interstates have collaborated with NSBE to organize tech workshops, industry panels, mixers, and to share mentorship and employment opportunities.

The chapter sends representatives to annual NSBE regional conferences or conventions, which offer invaluable opportunities to connect with thousands of engineering professionals, attend career and school fairs, to learn about fellowships and research and more.

Many members make significant connections there that lead to co-op and job offers.

“I found my first co-op through NSBE when I attended my first regional conference,” said Henry, a fourth-year electrical engineering student with a minor in robotics. She has completed four co-op rotations GE Aviation.

a large group of college students sit and stand in rows looking at the camera and smiling in various casual poses

Members of NSBE, SHPE, and SASE gathered for a joint meeting earlier this year. Photo/Provided

Twenty-five members attended the 2019 NSBE Region 4 Fall Regional Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Five members, including Henry, brought home the second-place trophy from the Academic Technical Bowl. The trip was sponsored by Marathon Petroleum Corporation.

“NSBE has made all the difference in my college career. If I had not become a part of NSBE, there is a lot I would have missed out on,” Henry said.

The chapter is cultivating partnerships on campus with the Society of Professional Engineers and the Society for Asian Scientists and Engineers. They plan to promote cultural awareness initiatives and open dialogues about topics like intersectionality, colorism and LGBTQ+ allyship.

two young African american women, one wearing goggles and both wearing yellow rubber gloves stand at a table constructing something with a plastic container and tubing

Moriah Henry assists at a demonstration at STEMFest. Photo/Provided.

To reach the next generation of engineers, the chapter actively serves in the community, raising awareness of STEM and engineering career pathways.

They host study tables and student panels with the Summer STEM Bridge program for incoming first-year UC students and volunteer for the Gaskins Foundation's Cincinnati STEMulates program.

They host two annual events for local K-12 students to inspire interest in math and science: Engineer for a Day and STEMFest.

Engineer for a Day teaches students “real-life” engineering through hands-on experiments that encourage critical thinking and team-building skills. Members talk on a Q& A panel about their journey to college. Parents receive information about funding college and helping their children prepare for a STEM degree program.

“Parents can teach their children to be financially literate and push for classes like physics or calculus that could build foundations for their student's success,” Henry said.

At STEMFest, NSBE professionals and UC student organizations present science demonstrations, like a password-hacking tool that teaches about cybersecurity. Students get to make slime and compete in hourly challenges, like building 100-cup towers. 

The chapter is proud to continue the NSBE legacy, serving as role models for future STEM leaders and carrying the noble torch with gratitude for the individuals and organizations that support their mission. 

Traditionally, they recognize members’ achievements, thank sponsors and partners and announce award winners at a spring celebration. Unfortunately, this was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The chapter thanks Turner Construction for its commitment to sponsor Engineer for a Day 2020; the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Department of Civil Engineering, Architectural Engineering, and Construction Management for having arranged to sponsor their students to attend the national convention; and GE Aviation African American Forum for its expanding partnership.

Featured image at top: UC NSBE members brought home the second place trophy in the Academic Technical Bowl at the 2019 Region IV NSBE conference. Photo/Provided by NSBE UC chapter.