Johnson City Press: National Society of Black Engineers establishes chapter at ETSU
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National Society of Black Engineers establishes chapter at ETSU

Contributed • Jun 28, 2019 at 5:08 PM

Members of a newly established chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers are discovering job opportunities and attaining new sought-after skills and credentials while attending East Tennessee State University.

The Office of Equity and Diversity provided assistance for 19 students to attend the society’s 45th Annual Convention in Detroit alongside 12,000 aspiring and practicing engineers, educators and representatives of more than 200 academic institutions, government agencies, corporations and nonprofit organizations.

“It was great to talk to employers face-to-face and learn about their companies. I was able to see myself working for those places and it was an environment where I could put into practice the interview skills I had learned by showing them why I am a good fit,” said Darack Nanto, an international student from Togo who recently graduated from ETSU for the second time.

He attended the convention to explore job opportunities in the U.S. where he could utilize his M.S. in technology with a concentration in engineering technology.

Patience Isine, who also attended the convention, is the founding president of the local chapter and a new alumna of the master’s in technology program. NSBE is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the U.S., with more than 500 chapters and nearly 16,000 active members.

“Establishing a chapter of NSBE at ETSU opens up opportunities for students to collect more tools for their toolboxes and to set them apart from their peers,” said Dr. Keith Johnson, who advises the NSBE chapter at ETSU and serves as chairman of the Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology and Surveying and as a special assistant to the president.

In addition to attending the NSBE Annual Convention, the ETSU chapter organized an OSHA training certification workshop and the group is considering Six Sigma Green Belt and project management training in the future.

The mission of the NSBE is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community,” the group said.

By adding an NSBE chapter at ETSU, the university is addressing the need for diversity in STEM professions and the shortage of technical workers.

“We’re experiencing growing demand for employment in technical fields so we must prepare students to backfill positions that will be vacated as baby boomers retire,” Johnson said. “Jobs are becoming more technical, even those that previously may have not been technical in nature, so our workforce has to be better trained.”

For more information about academic programs available in the Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology and Surveying and the NSBE chapter at ETSU, visit www.etsu.edu/cbat/applieddesign.

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