By Staff Writer Kylie Cooper.
The UMass Dartmouth chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) attended the National Society of Black Engineers 45th National Convention in Detroit, Michigan from March 27-31 to connect with industry leaders and strengthen their professional skills.
“Our main goal in going to this conference was to get opportunities for our members,” said Vivian Obodo ‘19, President of UMassD’s NSBE chapter.
Students networked with over two-hundred potential employers at the convention’s career fair. Amongst the thirty UMassD NSBE attendees, several received full-time job opportunities, internship placements, and interviews with companies like Facebook, Snapchat, Dell, and Northrop Grumman.
“One of my proudest moments during this conference was the two internships from Boeing,” Obodo said. “They were both for sophomores.”
Abderahmane Naidjate ‘21, computer engineering, was one of the students to receive a summer internship as a software engineer with Boeing. He hadn’t even planned to go to the convention at first, but was encouraged to attend by Obodo and Barbara Costa from SAIL. Even further, he nearly left the line to get into the hospitality suite that eventually landed him the internship.
“[The convention] is probably one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life,” said Naidjate. His advice for future students attending the convention is to “have your own goals set in mind,” build strong relationships with people, and be patient.
Matthew Kibaru ‘21, civil engineering, was offered a summer internship with the Texas Department of Transportation. His favorite part of the convention, though, was the community.
“I got to see a bunch of people that looked like me,” said Kibaru. “Everyone there was a minority, which I thought was really cool.”
“I enjoyed meeting all different types of people and different backgrounds,” echoed Cachelle Johnson ‘21, data science.
While some students did not receive work opportunities, everyone created valuable network connections. Some students were able to reach out to Google employees, as well as Cash App and American Express.
“Even during the career fair, companies had plenty workshops for people to participate in,” said Obodo.
Topics explored during workshops included mentoring, interview skills, and women in STEM. If students are interested in particular companies, they may also attend the company’s workshops to speak with recruiters on a more personal level.
One such workshop was “From NSBE to Google,” held by Google employees that started out as NSBE members. They shared their transition experiences from college to the workforce, as well as how they initially approached recruiters.
Outside of the conference, students also attended company dinners and parties, like Verizon’s cruise ship party. UMassD NSBE was able to further connect with each other over a big dinner on the final night of their trip.
“Being at that conference… shows how much…you’re bonding together [within the chapter], too, to become a family,” said Johnson.
Despite its name, UMassD’s NSBE chapter isn’t just for engineering majors. Last year, the organization began accepting business students, as well.
“Every engineering company is a company, so you need marketing majors, accountants, so on and so forth,” said Obodo, a management information systems major herself.
During weekly meetings, NSBE focuses on professional development training—the likes of resume-building, professional attire, and elevator pitch workshops. Last semester, Dell Technologies held an event on campus and asked NSBE to host workshops for students who would be in attendance.
UMassD NSBE seeks to inspire Black students by showing them career opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be presented.
“[Opportunities are] there and as long as we work hard and we have integrity, we’re literally going to reach for the stars,” said Obodo. “You can do anything. You’re going to be great. You just have to put in the work.”
Students interested in joining NSBE are invited to attend the weekly meetings held on Thursdays at 7 P.M. in the Charlton College of Business, Room 340.
UMassD NSBE was able to attend the convention thanks to sponsoring and support from the Student Government Association, CollegeNow, the Frederick Douglass Unity House, Student Affairs, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, the Career Development Center, and the Charlton College of Business.