The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is a student-managed, non-profit organization committed to the mission of developing culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. It is an organized network of support for Black students who are underrepresented in engineering and science communities. By implementing programs that promote academic excellence, personal, and professional development, NSBE continues to increase the number of Black professionals who are committed to community development and prepared to successfully compete in STEM-related industries.
Our Mission Statement
“NSBE’s mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.”
NSBE sets a standard of excellence by providing services and support to our membership to facilitate the development of the next generation of Black engineers, scholars, and scientists. The NSBE experience empowers members to reach their full potential. We encourage our membership to create and continue a great legacy of Black excellence while maintaining leadership roles in NSBE, the Black community, and other professional organizations. We instill pride and add value to our members, which causes them to want to give back to NSBE in order to continue chapter development.
A Brief History
Since its creation in 1975, the Society has grown to represent over 31,000 members nationwide. The student chapter of NSBE at The University of Texas at Austin was chartered in 1982 due to strong student interest in promoting the goals of the national organization on campus.
Since then, the UT-Austin chapter has become a strong organization on campus receiving numerous awards both within the Cockrell School and on the national level. In partnership with the Equal Opportunity in Engineering Program, NSBE plays the important role of recruiting, retaining, and motivating successful Black engineering students.
Regional and National Honors
- 2016 Freshman Initiative Vanguard Award
- 2015 Black Essence Best Academic Organization Award 2013 Black Essence Best Academic Organization Award 2011 Region V Technical Academic Bowl Champion
- 2011 Black Essence Most Outstanding Organization Award 2010-2011 Region V Medium Size Chapter of the year 2009-2010 Region V T.O.R.C.H. Chapter of the Year
- 2008-2009 Region V Distinguished Chapter of the Year 2007-2008 National Large Chapter of the Year
- 2007-2008 Region V Large Chapter of the Year 2007 Regional Leadership Conference Host
- 2005 Black Essence Award Most Outstanding Organization 2003-2004 Region V Large Chapter of the Year
- 2002-2003 Most Professional Organization at UT 2002 Region V Chapter of the Month
NSBE’s goals are focused on several key areas related to our mission. These areas include Academic Development and Excellence, Technical Mastery, Leadership, Career and Professional Development, and Cultural and Community Awareness.
- Continue to increase membership by at least 15% and specifically target members of the College of Natural Sciences and School of Geosciences
- Implement a point system complemented with rewards aimed at tracking membership involvement and participation while providing incentives to boost membership engagement
- Emphasize a professional development program that caters to a broad range of fields and provides a plethora of networking and mentoring opportunities for our membership
- Maximize available corporate resources by organizing programs and events aimed at harnessing the skills and experience of our corporate supporters through employee networks and other avenues
- Continue to develop our corporate mentorship program characterized by mutual development of both mentor and mentee
- Revamp membership engagement and track involvement through new NSBE Point System
- Revitalize our commitment to community service by pursuing partnerships with the NSBE professional and NSBE junior chapters as well as on-campus service organizations through collaboration and efficient communication
- Integration of our general meetings and larger events with our smaller events and programs to ensure a full and diverse “NSBE experience” for our members
- Increase communication and joint events with other student organizations within the school of engineering, especially within the Equal Opportunity in Engineering program.
2017-2018 Chapter Initiatives
Academic success is essential to being competitive in today’s global job market. As a result, the academic achievement and development of NSBE members is our top priority. We focus on helping members develop essential study skills to increase their GPA. Skills such as note taking, active listening, communicating with professors, and time management are the focus of our academic programming. In addition, we participate in biweekly study sessions throughout the academic year that encourage our members to remain focused on academics.
This academic initiative was created in Spring 2009 to facilitate communication between upper and lower classmen in engineering. It has now merged with the former Industry Mentorship Program (IMP) initiative, founded by one of our own in 2015 and adopted by the national NSBE board in 2016. Together, the programs act as a NSBE mentorship source harboring a pool of undergraduate upperclassmen, graduate students, and NSBE professionals. The first M&M of the semester involves a panel of students in a variety of engineering and STEM fields offering their insights on how to excel in STEM. The second half of the session is designated for networking. Underclassmen are encouraged to exchange contact info with upperclassmen in their major, who then act as guides for them throughout the school year. Mentor & Mentee gives underclassmen access to old notes and textbooks (in addition to our new NSBE Test Bank) as well as connections with potential tutors. The second M&M of the semester is a check-in point to see how our students are developing and how their experience can be improved.
NSBE Mission Scholarships are exclusive to UT Austin NSBE chapter members. The requirements are largely based on how well the applicants fulfill the organization’s mission. Scholarship recipients must demonstrate academic excellence, participate in NSBE career building programs, and serve the University and Black community on and off campus. The recipients must also be active in the Equal Opportunity in Engineering (EOE) program.
The second core value in NSBE’s mission is professional development. We acknowledge the essence in understanding the corporate environment as well as how to navigate it. Additionally, we strive to inspire leadership in our members from their freshman year in an effort to maximize their opportunities to grow and exhibit professional behavior while becoming increasingly marketable to corporations. Professional development is also emphasized at our annual conferences.
The NSBE First-Year Action Team (FAT) aims to boost the involvement of first-year students in NSBE. By becoming members of First-Year Action Team, new members are given the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in leading others and working together to achieve a common goal. FAT is one of the main ways NSBE recruits new members each semester. By encouraging new students to get actively involved in NSBE as soon as they arrive on campus, we hope to strengthen their leadership abilities early, so that they are prepared to lead the organization later in their college careers.
The First-Year Action Team holds bi-weekly meetings, consisting of first-year participants, NSBE officers, and the FAT Advisor. The team is given several responsibilities to fulfill throughout the year, including the planning and execution of an FAT social, academic or professional event, and a fundraiser to pay for graduating senior gifts. Most importantly, members who participate in the First-Year Action Team emerge as leaders in the organization, and display a true appreciation for the mission, and a desire to uphold it in their daily lives.
Many incoming students do not have the professional and organizational experience it takes to become leaders of our NSBE chapter. The skills fostered by our executive board help develop community leaders and successful career professionals. By pairing new students with executive board members, our objective is to give students a direct resource they can consult to learn all the aspects of professionalism that we are expected to know, but perhaps not directly taught. Pairs can opt to join the existing Mentor & Mentee program along with FLP. FLP Chair will then provide mentors with the topics/agenda for the session to go over with their mentees throughout the semester, including resume writing, appropriate interview attire, how to give a proper hand shake, and the “elevator pitch.” There will also be socials and seminars, designed to establish FLP as a fixed program. Pairs will be encouraged to interact with each other on an individual basis, but the seminars and group meetings will give the program the structure needed to maintain stability.
Community outreach is our third core value in our mission and chapter. We try to host one community service event a month that partners with on-campus and local service organizations. Our community outreach projects engage minorities, high school youth, engineers on campus, and the local Austin community. Our chapter is passionate about community outreach and participates in A Walk for Education, high school tutoring, an annual Hunger Awareness Day, and many other community service projects.
A Walk for Education is a program designed to increase the awareness of higher education in low-income and minority communities. We not only focus on children currently in school, but we inform adults who may have put the idea of a higher education on hold.
NSBE members are divided into teams that visit neighborhoods throughout east Austin, an at-risk area. The city of Austin is becoming increasingly gentrified, making this initiative even more important to members of this community. Our canvassing handouts include packets containing college entrance requirements, financial aid information, Apply Texas information, scholarship information, and other materials that provide essential insight on what it takes to attend college.
The purpose of this day is to give back to those in the community that are less fortunate than others and may be in need of food. Toward that end, NSBE will be partnering with the largest hunger-relief charity in Central Texas to deliver free food and low-cost diet consulting into the hands of families and local non-profits seeking help. When we volunteer with the Central Texas Food Bank, we bond as a NSBE Fam and make new friends while ensuring only the safest, highest quality food is distributed to those counting on us within the Austin community and beyond.
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that believes every man, woman, and child should have a decent, safe, and affordable place to live. Our chapter has joined Habitat for Humanity in their efforts to improve housing conditions, increase shelter access, and end poverty housing in the Austin community. This year we will be contributing to their ReStore marketing initiative aimed at increasing products, services, and financing for affordable housing. We believe that having a reliable home to live in plays a major role in a child’s ability to “...excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.”
Pre College Initiative
The PCI program is designed to encourage minority youth to attend college and to engage in engineering, math, and science related fields. It is one of the most important programs in which NSBE is involved. The PCI program includes mentoring, tutoring, the PCI Mini-Conference, NSBE Jr. Chapter, and social events, which engage high school, collegiate, and professional chapters.
NSBE YES Day was created in the spring of 2009 to form a pipeline between UT NSBE and local Austin high schools. This event gives high school students the opportunity to learn first hand what it is like to be an engineering student at a major university. The high school student accompanies a current engineering student to their classes around campus. This experience allows participants to experience the university on another level. The program began with one participant and grew the following year to 10 students.
Investment into this program is vital because students do not have many opportunities to truly experience the day to day life of what it is actually like to be a college student. This program can inspire students to not only to attend college, but also to pursue majors in STEM fields.
Explore UT is a university-wide “open house” that allows students, families, and other patrons to get a glimpse of the University of Texas at Austin. Through this program, our chapter is able to interact with the greater Austin community. Historically, we set up an engineering activity for students and families to participate in and talk about the science principles that go behind the activity. As you can see in the picture provided, our table is constantly occupied with kids eager to do our hands-on STEM activity.
Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is put on by the Women in Engineering Program on campus. This is another very popular event among the Cockrell community. Several student organizations participate to increase the number of young women interested in pursuing an engineering education. Like Explore UT, we set up a hands-on STEM activity for the students and talk about what it is like to be an engineering student at the University.
NSBE Jr. is an ongoing partnership with high schools that provides students with the information needed for college such as financial aid, admission information, college life information and career choices. The high school chapter operates as any other NSBE chapter. The students elect officers, conduct meetings, have fundraisers, and recruit members. The NSBE collegiate chapter members serve as mentors, advisors, and positive role models. They assist the students in classes and attend the NSBE Jr. meetings. The high school students interact with the college students by participating in other PCI activities as well as attending NSBE general meetings, attending campus tours, and participating in social activities. PCI students also have the opportunity to attend NSBE conferences, depending on funding. NSBE Jr. has been a successful program in the past, and we plan on reconnecting with a chapter at a local high school in the Austin area this coming fall.