Greetings, NSBE family.
 
I am writing this message as I return from a 10-day visit to Ghana. NSBE sent 10 delegates from the U.S. to support NSBE Ghana in their efforts to expand the impact of our mission across the African continent. You will hear more about this trip and the strategy behind our outreach efforts in the near future.
 
While out of the country, I was informed about the recent flooding in Baton Rouge, La., and areas nearby. A number of our members were directly impacted by this tragedy, with water damage affecting homes and vehicles. Although material possessions can be replaced, the psychological and financial toll of the loss can be devastating. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and their families.
 
The difference between success and failure is the internal resolve to overcome obstacles in the pursuit of excellence. Many engineers, including me, dealt with adversity during their academic and professional journey. I initially failed to rise to the challenge of my personal struggles and dropped out of school during my junior year. That decision cost me several years and thousands of dollars. However, I learned from that experience and vowed never to allow anything to impede the accomplishment of my goals.
 
If you are a member affected by the flooding, please understand you do not have to endure this challenge alone. Your NSBE family is here to walk with you while you reestablish a sense of normalcy. Many of us cannot afford to replace your losses but are willing to provide support in the best way we can.
 
During times like these, NSBE can truly have a positive effect on both members and non-members alike. If you know someone who has been affected, reach out with words of encouragement. Consider donating clothes and household items via charities such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army. The only way to increase the number of Black Engineers is to increase the number of lives we positively impact, and no time is better than the present.

About the Author
 
Matthew C. Nelson is 2016–17 national chair of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), leading the Society toward its primary goal of graduating 10,000 African-American engineers annually, with bachelor’s degrees, by the year 2025. Nelson is a master’s degree student in design science at the University of Michigan (U-M), where he also earned a B.S.E. in industrial and operations engineering with a minor in multidisciplinary design, in 2015. His collegiate journey began at Michigan in 2002, when he struggled to maintain a below-average GPA. After falling out of the engineering pipeline, he spent several years working to return to higher education. He enrolled in Lansing Community College in 2011, returned to U-M to finish his academic journey, earned university honors, made the dean’s list, earned the College of Engineering Distinguished Leadership Award and was awarded the first-ever U-M Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach (CEDO) Legacy Award for his work in engineering diversity. 
The difference between success and failure is the internal resolve to overcome obstacles in the pursuit of excellence. Many engineers, including me, dealt with adversity during their academic and professional journey.