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University of Tennessee chapter of National Society of Black Engineers at their national conference gala

NSBE Region III Fall Regional Conference: A Journey of Excellence, Connection, and Personal Growth

The University of Tennessee Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (UTK-NSBE) added to its success at NSBE’s Region III Fall Regional Conference, held on November 10–12, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. This gathering, dedicated to fostering connections, academic excellence, and professional development, proved to be a transformative experience for the chapter.

NSBE was founded to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers to excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. UTK-NSBE, a part of Region III, approached the conference with many goals. Among these, the chapter aimed to strengthen the bonds among its members, and successfully connect its members with employers. These goals align with NSBE’s broader mission to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically and professionally.

NSBE members at the Region III Fall Region Conference waiting to attend a session

Among the accomplishments for the UT Chapter at the fall conference was the Academic Tech Bowl team winning the title for the fifth consecutive year. This achievement propelled the team to compete at the 50th Annual NSBE National Convention against other regional winners. UT’s team consisted of Victoria Hall, Damya Kelly, Garrison Lewis, Ariel Thompson, and Matthew Webb. Collins Ilechukwu’s fourth-place finish in the Technical Research Competition further underscored the chapter’s commitment to academic success.

“It was such a pleasure to attend NSBE’s Region III Fall Regional Conference,” said Hall, the chapter president. “I enjoyed continuing the legacy for our Academic Tech Bowl Team for my second year on the team. Additionally, I appreciated the opportunity to connect and discuss full-time opportunities with some of the companies in attendance. By attending the career fair, I was able to bypass several application processes and proceed straight to the interview process.”

UTK-NSBE member Jalen Barker called attending the conference a “refreshing experience.”

“It was nice to get away from the hassle of school and connect with other NSBE chapters within my region,” Barker said. “I enjoyed listening to the stories and advice that the keynote speakers shared with us at the general sessions. They were inspiring and provided the reinforcement that I needed to continue pushing through the difficulties of my engineering major.”

Members of the National Society of Black Engineers eating breakfast at their national conference

UTK-NSBE’s participation in the regional conference not only resulted in tangible achievements but also provided members with a platform for personal and professional growth. The UTK-NSBE chapter remains committed to building a legacy of excellence, mentorship, and camaraderie among its members.

“My biggest takeaway from the conference is the ability to connect with like-minded people with similar backgrounds on a regional level,” chapter member Chris McKinnon said. “Coming from a city where there are few Black people who want to be engineers, it felt good seeing many others who had the same ambitions. The support and knowledge from both professionals and peers were very reassuring that I am on the right path.”