NSBE members attend national convention

BET founder Bob Johnson was a keynote speaker.

Seventeen members of the MU chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and one NSBE alumnus attended the 38th Annual NSBE convention in Pittsburgh March 28 through April 1.

The annual convention is the premier event for the 35,000 members of NSBE chapters nationwide. The event consisted of a career fair, workshops and networking seminars, MU NSBE Chapter President Steve Erazo said.

Motivational speakers such as Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson and Barrington Irving, the youngest person to fly solo around the world at age 23.

"The best part of the convention was the motivational speakers," Erazo said. "Bob Johnson of BET was there and talked about how important it is to give back to the African-American community once you reach a certain point of wealth as well as finding and following your passion."

The convention targets NSBE members through collegiate program offerings, a pre-college initiative conference, a technical professional conference and a graduate school conference, according to the NSBE website. The career fair, workshops and networking seminars provided attendees with food for thought while stimulating new and continued interest in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

"Something new the convention offered this year were company hosted hospitality suites," Erazo said. "General Mills was one of the companies that hosted a suite where we could network with the company on a less professional level. Often time people believe engineers are similar to robots and the suites gave companies a chance to get to know us in a more personable setting."

The convention offered several workshops for participates as well, such as how to obtain a 4.0 GPA and how to apply for graduate school, MU NSBE Chapter Vice President Akia Parks said.

"The workshops were interactive," Erazo said. "There was one workshop called Networking for Success about how to properly follow up after an interview. The workshop had (the participants) network with each other during the workshop to keep it interactive."

NSBE chapters from all six of the NSBE regions were in attendance at the convention. The MU chapter of NSBE is in the fifth region, along with University of Texas at Austin, Louisiana Tech University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and University of Kansas.

During the convention each region had the opportunity to meet and mingle, Parks said.

"The regional meeting was my favorite part of the convention," Parks said. "Every school in our region came together for some regional love.'"

Parks said she really enjoyed getting to meet the different chapters and members of NSBE at the convention.

"The convention was also a good opportunity to interact with companies and graduate schools as well as an opportunity to network at the convention," she said.

The MU chapter of NSBE attends the convention every year as well as a fall regional conference and a regional leadership conference in August.

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