National Society of Black Engineers Nabs Historic $2M Gift to Expand STEM Youth Program

Young Black student (Pixabay)

Young Black student (Pixabay)

The National Science Foundation granted the National Society of Black Engineers their biggest-ever donation.

Evaluation Engineering reported the NSF awarded a total of nearly $2 million dollars to a collaborative project with NSBE, Purdue University and Virginia Tech. The gift is geared toward growing NSBE’s Summer Engineering Experience for Kids program.

NSF will issue grants across three years from its Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers program. A $1.08 million gift to NSBE – the greatest federal award in its history – is covered in the gift.

ITES aims to encourage elementary, middle and high school students to participate in science, technology, engineering, and math. The donation to SEEK means third through fifth-grade students will get the chance to learn about STEM fields in more cities than ever.

NSBE National Chair Matthew C. Nelson issued a statement to describe how the funds will affect the program.

“This award from the National Science Foundation will enable NSBE to realize the vision we have had for SEEK since we founded the program in 2007,” he said. “SEEK can now make a resounding impact not only on communities underrepresented in engineering but also on the nation, by strengthening the pipeline to engineering careers and helping fill that pipeline with many more underrepresented minority and female students.”

NSBE’s website reported that during SEEK, 50 college students arrive at local elementary schools to mentor 375 Black youth. Over the course of three weeks each summer, young pupils work together to complete projects. As they finish assignments, students learn the roles math and science play.

The partnership called “Strengthening the STEM Pipeline for Elementary School African Americans, Hispanics, and Girls by Scaling Up Summer Engineering Experiences” began Sept. 1. Using the grants, SEEK will grow from 3,825 third- through fifth-grade students at 14 places this year, to 27,000 Black, Latino, and female third- through fifth-graders at 31 locations nationwide by 2019.

Karl W. Reid, NSBE’s executive director, thanked NSF, Purdue and VT for their involvement.

“NSBE extends its sincere gratitude to the NSF, Purdue University, and Virginia Tech for this opportunity to increase the diversity of the engineering profession,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to the knowledge that will be gained from this project and to the positive results we will see for aspiring African-American, Latino, and women engineers.”

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