National Society of Black Engineers convention showcases community impact

More than 8,000 to attend

OW Staff Writer | 3/19/2015, 11:23 a.m.
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), an organization that seeks to increase the number of Black engineering professionals, will ...

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 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.

The convention is NSBE’s largest event, and 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 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. 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. 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. candidate 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 upcoming convention: