NSBE chapter at Mississippi State earns national awards

Contact: Zack Plair

Jamel Alexander

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers recently won three awards at the organization’s national conference in Boston, Massachusetts.

The chapter was one of six to earn NSBE Chapter of the Year honors among 120 medium-sized chapters nationwide. Further, MSU student Jamel Alexander was one of two recipients of the Mike Schinn Distinguished Member of the Year Award, and chapter president Asha Earle was one of six honored with the President’s Visionary Award.

Alexander, of New Orleans, Louisiana, is pursuing a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering having earned his master’s at MSU in 2013.

Earle, of The Woodlands, Texas, is a senior chemical engineering major.

“The Bagley College of Engineering is very proud of the accomplishments of the MSU Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers,” said Jason Keith, dean, professor and Earnest W. and Mary Ann Deavenport Jr. Chair for the Bagley College of Engineering. “Their efforts have resulted in increased exposure and excitement for engineering through their work with NSBE junior chapters. The MSU NSBE chapter provides on-campus visits and ACT prep sessions to help ensure greater participation of minority students in engineering at MSU. As one of several diversity student organizations within the college, NSBE provides a positive outlet for student engagement at MSU.”

Asha Earle

With 350 pre-collegiate, collegiate and professional chapters, NSBE offers training, enrichment and networking opportunities for its more than 31,000 members for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

Earle said MSU’s chapter boasts about 200 members who are committed to advancing NSBE’s mission on- and off-campus. The chapter held regular meetings twice per month, engaged in a monthly community service project and mentored the Golden Triangle pre-collegiate NSBE chapter—which includes members from Oktibbeha, Lowndes and Clay counties—through outreach efforts.

For its college members, NSBE facilitates professional development, connection with research and internship opportunities and resume assistance, Earle added.

As both of her parents are electrical engineers, Earle said she became a junior member at age 10, joining the collegiate chapter at MSU as a freshman. In her year as president, she said club leadership has sought to promote a welcoming, open environment for its members.

“Our goal for this year is to make NSBE more family-oriented, where members see the leadership and each other as one big family,” she said. “Our motto this year is ‘NSBE bred. NSBE fed. NSBE until the day I am dead.’”

Earle said diversity is hard to find in engineering fields, particularly among racial minorities, and a classroom of 30 students in those disciplines may only include one or two non-white students. NSBE, she added, steps up to help those students find a sense of community in their fields of study.

Pictured are officers in MSU’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, (l-r) first row: Justin Jackson, Kasey Gathings; second row: Jessica Brown, Asha Earle, Amber Ellis; third row: Christina Moffett, Ashley Mikle, Alex Bohannon, Justin Bobo; fourth row: Gabriel Sanders and Eric Mathews II.

“I know it was intimidating for me at first when I got here,” she said. “It’s hard when it feels like you’re alone. But NSBE helped me, and I want to help others the same way.”

For more information on the MSU chapter of NSBE, visit http://www.bagley.msstate.edu/programs/diversity/. For the national organization, visit https://www.nsbe.org/home.aspx.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.