USC’s National Society of Black Engineers snags Chapter of The Year

| May 16, 2017

The National Society of Black Engineers attended their annual national convention in early April, snagging Best Large Chapter of the Year and 2nd place in their national debate competition.

They don’t do it for the accolades, but USC’s chapter of The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) received plenty at the 43rd NSBE National Convention held March 29th through April 2nd in Kansas City, MO, including the top honors to be bestowed on a student chapter — Best Large Chapter of The Year.

The annual convention is one of the largest gatherings of black STEM talent across the United States, attracting some 12,000 attendees, 250+ exhibitors and hosting hundreds of workshops and round tables in the span of a week.

NSBE is the premier organization serving African Americans in engineering and technology. With more than 31,000 members around the world, it is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States and the link between the African American community and the world of technology.

After a year of involvement and preparation, these 34 Trojan engineers and NSBE members were intent and excited to delve into the organization as a whole, as well as network with other engineers from across the country.

USC NSBE climbed the ranks from their regional convention in the fall, representing Region VI in both the debate and technical bowls. Through hours of preparation and support, debaters Shana Douglass, Desiree James, Hilina Gudeta, and Jason Gooden took second place in the debate competition at the national level.

Their yearlong efforts also earned them Best Large Chapter and Best NSBE Chant.

USC NSBE “Fights On” at National Convention. Courtesy of Janelle Toussaint.

“We gave our everything to make sure we put USC on the map” said USC chapter president Janelle Toussaint. There’s a fellowship between different engineers across the country. NSBE students come back wanting to join the local team and get their feet wet helping out at the local level.”

On campus, the USC NSBE board organizes study session nights, workshops and panels on how to deal with midterm stress, resume building, and elevator pitching, along with networking sessions with big name companies like Microsoft and Visa to gain partnerships, internships, and other professional development at the industry level.

But the chapter’s influence extends beyond USC campus. With programs such as NSBE Junior, where they go out to local high schools to mentor African American students and expose them to STEM fields and offer support to teachers through national non-profit College Bound, USC NSBE has made community impact a hallmark of their organization. Beyond STEM outreach, they also routinely participate in community service like preparing food for people on Skid Row.

Each member of USC NSBE pours themselves wholeheartedly into these ventures on top of completing a rigorous academic program — a quality which really speaks for itself when determining best chapter. Although the competition was fierce, this chapter is tough to beat.

“Our involvement at the local, regional, and national level really made us stand out,” said Toussaint who passes on the leadership torch when she graduates this semester with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and joins Goldman Sachs. “It’s inspiring to showcase our work at the national level and to see people younger than us wanting to fill our shoes.”