This spring, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) hosted its 49th Annual National Convention, coined as NBSE49, in Kansas City, Missouri.
The NSBE49 convention provided chapter members an opportunity to expand their knowledge, network with industry professionals and peers, and gain valuable insights into career and leadership development. Members also had the chance to participate in various activities, such as hackathons, technical competitions, and a career fair, which allowed them to showcase their skills and interact with potential employers.
“We are grateful for the support of the Office of Diversity Programs, which helped make this valuable experience possible for us,” said Adam Tsegahun, a senior in industrial and systems engineering.
Many of UT chapter members were able to land interviews and some even landed job offers.
DaMea Kelly, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering from Chattanooga, received and accepted a three-rotation co-op at DOW Chemical.
“Landing this offer means the world to me as it will equip me with workforce skills needed as a chemical engineer that would be difficult for me to obtain otherwise,” said Kelly. “This offer will give me a glimpse of the different opportunities for future chemical engineers. After college, I plan to work as a process engineer while working to obtain my PE license.”
Jetia Porter, a third-year mechanical engineering student from Memphis, received an offer from Southern Company for the fall of 2023.
“I will be alternating for three semesters and my role will include shadowing senior engineers while they do typical tasks in an industrial environment,” Porter said. “I am looking forward to this opportunity because it’ll be my first experience in an engineering atmosphere.”
Porter said that getting the offer brought her joy, especially after some level of self-doubt had crept in during as the process took place.
“I didn’t mention it to a lot of people, but before my interview, I became overwhelmed with what-ifs, and it eventually led me to an emotional state,” she said. “I even called my mom to get some encouragement which helped me put on my best impression during my interview. Looking back, I would simply tell myself that this is for you, all you have to do is get it and I got it. I plan to make this experience meaningful and hopefully apply it to my future goals which include catering to the younger generation of engineers and spreading knowledge about the importance of advanced technology.”
Kala Jordan, a first-year mechanical engineering student from Jackson, Tennessee, received two offers from Southern Company for a co-op.
“I am entirely blessed to relieve two offers from Southern Company,” she said. “To land this co-op as a freshman means so much to me. It means getting a foot in the door, being able to showcase my skills, and learning more about something I’m passionate about. I’ve been working hard, and someone has noticed enough to give me a chance, and I’m so eternally grateful for this opportunity.”
Helena Sanders, a senior nuclear engineering major from Memphis, received a full-time job offer from Proctor & Gamble.
She said she wants to serve as inspiration for other aspiring engineers from areas of STEM who might not normally feel represented.
“I am a product of a single-parent, Black household that emphasized developing a sense of communal purpose and responsibility,” Sanders said. “Standing at the intersection of multiple underrepresented communities, I was raised to be a proponent of educational advancement. Thus, I feel extremely blessed to be afforded the opportunity to work for a staple Fortune 500 company like Proctor & Gamble in a big city like Chicago.”
She went on to add that her future career interests are geared toward being an active agent in reducing the effects of climate change, especially for under-served, underrepresented, and impoverished communities.
“I have a strong interest in making meaningful contributions to the nuclear energy industry by continually pushing toward change and growth and advocates for all communities to have access to steady and stable infrastructure that supports a healthy living environment,” she said. “By leveraging my affinity for problem-solving, mathematics, and innovation, I hope to achieve just that.”