Greetings from The National Chair

Greetings, NSBE family.

It is my distinct pleasure to serve as your 2016–2017 national chair. My goal during this year is to spotlight the human element of the engineering experience. As we talk about exposure, retention, leadership development and professional success, we must take into consideration the lives that we impact on a daily basis.
I grew up in a working class family on the west side of Detroit, Mich. During my progression through the Detroit Public Schools, I was fortunate enough to have key individuals influence my career aspirations. From teachers and administrators to church members and family friends, there was a litany of people who exposed me to opportunities far beyond the neighborhood in which I was raised. NSBE provides a platform for individuals like me to have a similar impact on the next generation of aspiring engineers.
As a former college dropout, I know firsthand the difficulties that await those who fall out of the engineering “pipeline.” In today’s global economy, it is extremely challenging to obtain decent employment without a college degree. One can ill-afford the cost of student loan debt for an uncompleted university experience. In addition, dropping out of college takes a tremendous toll on one’s self esteem and mental health. By creating a family-like atmosphere in which everyone is accountable for the others’ success, NSBE can play a pivotal role in ensuring that, despite the obstacles, all black engineering students finish the race.
NSBE also offers immense opportunities for professional grooming, but we must become intentional about our development methodology. Being a NSBE member or leader should hold weight in the academic and corporate worlds. It is our responsibility to make that desired result real. NSBE does not grant engineering degrees, but we do equip engineers with the mentality and skillset to become leaders in their chosen field.
It is critical that we humanize NSBE by telling our story to everyone who will listen. Make sure your friends and family members understand how NSBE has impacted your life. Volunteer at your former schools, and talk about your educational journey. Share the message that Black Engineers are everyday people who lead amazing lives. Campaigns are nice, and marketing is great, but true branding occurs when other people start to tell your story. Only then will NSBE be able to make a real impact by increasing the number….

Matthew Nelson
NSBE 2016-17 National Chairperson