The Mizzou chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers is no stranger to accolades for its work, and at this year’s NSBE Annual National Conference in Pittsburgh, the chapter brought home even more honors.
Mizzou NSBE was named Region V Medium Sized Chapter of the Year for chapters with less than 75 members, taking top honors in a region that includes much of the Midwest, along with Mexico, Central and South America, South Africa and the Dominican Republic. The chapter also won the National T.O.R.C.H. (Technical Outreach and Community Help) Chapter of the Year for their work in the Columbia community and had two members elected to regional leadership — Nosakhare Eke (Region V Regional Chairperson) and Danae Nash (Region V Missouri Zone Chairperson).
“A committee of regional executive board members review what progress has been made to allow for the professional development of members, to ensure the academic success of members, what community service and any technical outreach throughout the community has been done, in addition to what initiatives and programs create.” Mizzou NSBE President Walta Abraham said of the top regional honor.
Abraham said she was proud that Mizzou NSBE had the ability to take 34 students to the conference, getting them quality experience at a variety of educational and professional development events.
The Mizzou NSBE president explained that several initiatives helped land Mizzou NSBE high marks in the region. Academically, the organization began a NSBE library, allowing members to utilize textbooks donated by other members in order to limit personal expense, and they continued holding nine hours of study hall per week to allow members to work together to achieve classroom success. Professionally, Mizzou NSBE brought the Region V Regional Leadership Conference to campus in August, co-hosted the Fall Career Fair and held workshops leading up to the Annual Conference to help prepare members for the career fair and networking opportunities.
In terms of outreach, Mizzou NSBE hosted their first annual “A Walk for Education,” which has a goal of increasing awareness “of the opportunities available through education particularly in the STEM fields and to shatter myths about African-Americans in math, science, engineering and other technologies.” The group also began a NSBE Jr. chapter at Hickman High School and helped mentor the organization as it elected its first executive board. These efforts were also instrumental in earning the T.O.R.C.H Chapter of the Year accolade.
Having Eke and Nash elected to regional leadership continued a steady tradition of Mizzou NSBE members earning election to leadership positions at those levels.
“It’s really important because, one, we need our members to step up to make sure our society is continuing to run,” Abraham explained. “I explained this to Danae, too, that having members on our regional board, allows our chapter to be stronger because you experience first-hand what the region and organization at large is working towards. After learning more about NSBE at large, you’re able to take this knowledge back to your chapter and incorporate new methods to ensure your own chapter incorporates regional and national directives in programming and initiatives.”