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National Society of Black Engineers group finds secrets to success, wins pair of regional awards

May 16, 2012

NIU’s National Society of Black Engineers student chapter recently won two awards that speak to the success of its organization.

The first is the Region Chapter of the Year, which is awarded to a chapter that has excelled at the regional level. The award is given to the chapter that performed well in five categories of consideration. Those categories are performance on the Chapter Development Report, conference attendance, penetration rate, number of transcripts submitted and, most importantly, participation in regional and national activities.

From left: Collan Davidson, Solomon Mason, Anthony Patton and Anthony Boyd.

From left: Collan Davidson, Solomon Mason, Anthony Patton and Anthony Boyd.

The NSBE student chapter at NIU exists to “stimulate and develop student interest in various engineering disciplines,” according to its Student Association website.

Group members participate in innovative programs each semester, including company tours, engineering projects, group study sessions, community service, career workshops and social networking opportunities.

Under the advice of David Grady, NSBE adviser and student diversity and recruitment director, “ … stuck to a few activities, and did them well.” Grady stressed that a combination of focus and teamwork is what makes this organization successful.

NSBE is an organization where the students will make mistakes, he added, but it is also a place for them to grow and prepare for the professional world.

“All of the things that these kids are doing, they’ll be doing when they graduate and get into business,” he said.

Logo of the National Society of Black EngineersNSBE’s regional award program also gives a Shining Star award to recognize members who go above and beyond their expected duties to help their chapter succeed. NIU NSBE Chapter President Solomon Mason, a junior mechanical engineering major, won the award this year.

“Solomon has contributed so much to this chapter over the past year,”  said NSBE Region IV Chair Person Victoria Hills, “leading the planning of several programs including 4.0 workshops, Resume Review Workshop, NSBE Retention Program and several STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) outreach initiatives.”

Grady’s hands-off approach helped lead NIU NSBE to the Chapter of the Year award.

“From an advisory standpoint, NSBE is developing its own personality. What we’re trying to do is to get these kids to take on responsibility and leadership roles,” Grady said. “If you are there constantly as an adviser, and you’re directing them as to what they need to do, they will tend to lean on that person for that direction. If they run into some questions, such as how to navigate around something or how to do something, that’s where I offer advice.”

Mason has a passion for the organization, always networking with students to form study groups, serving as a tutor to others and consistently promoting NSBE.

“I feel very blessed to have this award,” Mason said. “It feels good to get recognized for the hard work you put in over the year, but it’s even better that the chapter gets recognized for our collaborative effort. I love this organization and I am even more motivated to continue my work and help this award stay at NIU next year.”