As a freshman, I am so grateful that I joined NSBE because it gives me the support system I need to excel in my academics. For those wondering, NSBE stands for the National Society of Black Engineers whose mission is to “to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.” Through NSBE, I have been able to connect with the other black engineers on campus and get closer to the black community. The USC chapter of NSBE is also one to die for. Throughout all of the events and weekly study nights, I have gotten close with everyone in the organization and it really feels like one big happy family.
This year’s national conference was being held in Detroit, MI, but I had no idea what to expect since I have never been to the Midwest. The week before leaving, the weather report said that there would be a snow storm which was quite alarming! Luckily, the weather didn’t turn out too bad. At the conference the previous year, we were selected as the National Chapter of the Year! Though we didn’t receive the same honors this year, we still did an amazing job in all of the competitions, bringing home first place in the Academic Tech Bowl, the Technical Research Exhibition, and the NSBE Debate. The career fair had tons of companies which allowed me to practice my elevator pitch for future internships opportunities and the breakout sessions that I attended were exceptional. Dean Jones, the Vice Dean for Diversity and Strategic Initiatives, even flew out to the conference and provided a wonderful breakfast for us along with some USC NSBE alums on the day of the awards ceremony.
Since this is my first year in college, spending 5 days in Detroit in the middle of the semester was very intimidating because I didn’t know how I could work around midterms and so that I wouldn’t get behind in school. Thankfully, all of my professors were very flexible and I was able to take the tests on a later date so I had ample time to study! NSBE was able to sponsor 36 members to go on the tip, so my travel and lodging ended up being at no cost to me. As a minority student, it is nice to know that USC is supporting my academic and professional endeavors.
The best part of the trip was seeing so much black excellence in one room, with over 14,000 engineering students and professionals in attendance. I am thankful of what this organization has showed me and can’t wait to attend next year’s conference!