Engineering organizations will collaborate to increase diversity
and inclusiveness of the engineering community

NEW YORK CITY — The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). The signing ceremony took place on April 9, 2016, at AIChE’s Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety in Houston, Texas, and establishes a strategic partnership on activities of mutual importance to the two engineering organizations. The alliance includes provisions for membership reciprocity; collaboration on continuing education and professional development programs; joint activities among the organizations’ student chapters, local sections, and divisions; and coordinated public outreach activities.

The MoU was signed by June Wispelwey, Executive Director of AIChE; Dr. Karl Reid, Executive Director of NSBE; and Dr. Gregory Stephanopoulos of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, AIChE’s 2016 President. Neville Green, National Chair of NSBE, was represented at the signing ceremony by Constance V. A. Thompson, NSBE’s Director of External and Government Affairs.

In signing the agreement, Wispelwey noted that the MoU was “the first one that AIChE has signed with another organization within the United States. That’s one thing that makes this milestone special.” She underscored the importance of collaborations in AIChE’s endeavors, adding, “I am looking forward to working together with NSBE to ensure a diverse representation of people in engineering.”

NSBE’s Reid said that coalitions between his organization and other engineering societies such as AIChE are crucial. “I believe that where there is agreement there is power,” he said, “and it’s an exponential effect when two organizations work together on common goals.”

One goal shared by AIChE and NSBE is to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) proficiency among U.S. students, particularly among students from underrepresented groups — with the objective of increasing the number of young people pursuing science education and engineering careers. In this area, NSBE has joined a multidisciplinary and multicultural project called the 50K Coalition, which aims to produce 50,000 diverse engineering graduates annually in the U.S. by 2025. This goal represents a 66-percent increase in the current annual Bachelor of Science graduate degrees awarded to women and minority engineering students.

            Reid says that the alliance between AIChE and NSBE will help both organizations “to build a diverse pipeline of chemical engineers.” But, he said, more than just that, “it’s also about offering effective solutions to the world’s problems, which ultimately is what engineers do. And the world’s problems are as diverse as the people in it.” 

About AIChE
AIChE is a professional society of 50,000 chemical engineers in 100 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontiers of chemical engineering research in such areas as energy, sustainability, biological and environmental engineering, nanotechnology and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at
About the National Society of Black Engineers
Founded in 1975, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. With more than 31,000 members and more than 300 chapters in the U.S. and abroad, NSBE supports and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.” For more information, visit
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