national_society_of_black_engineers__web.jpg(BLACK PR WIRE) WASHINGTON — The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and ExxonMobil recently honored three universities with the 2012 Impact Award for their efforts in retaining underrepresented minority students in engineering programs.

Michigan State University, the University of Houston and the University of Maryland–College Park  received $10 awards presented by Carl Mack, executive director of NSBE, and Kenny Warren, vice president of engineering, ExxonMobil, during an April 18 event held at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C.

“NSBE salutes these outstanding academic institutions for their success in keeping black, Latino and other underrepresented minority students in engineering,” said Mack.

“There is an urgent need for more skilled workers in science, technology, engineering and math fields; the United States cannot afford to continue losing two-thirds of these students to other majors, as it is doing now. These universities are among the few that not only understand the urgency of solving the retention problem in engineering, but are also creative and determined in coming up with solutions.”

The Impact Award was established in 2011 by ExxonMobil and NSBE to honor and recognize collegiate efforts to attract minority students to and retain them in engineering disciplines. Additionally, each program is recognized for its ability to be easily replicated and shared across the nation through NSBE.

Observers note a critical need to encourage minority students toward engineering degrees if U.S. employers hope to keep up with workforce demands. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2010 Statistical Abstract, Latinos make up 16.3 percent and African Americans comprise 12.6 percent of the U.S. population, but only 6.2 and 5 percent respectively of the engineering workforce.

The colleges were selected for their demonstrated results-based progress in retaining under-represented minority students in engineering-related programs.

The grant is part of ExxonMobil’s longstanding partnership with NSBE, dating back to 1989, and has included nearly $1 million in philanthropic support of the organization. Past Impact Award recipients are Purdue University, Virginia Tech and University of Texas at Austin.

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), with more than 30,000 members, is one of the largest student-governed organizations in the country. Founded in 1975, NSBE now includes more than 394 college, pre-college, and technical professional/alumni chapters in the United States and abroad. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.”


NEEDED IN THEIR FIELD: From left, Tamara Hamilton, University of Maryland-College Park; Theodore Caldwell, Michigan State University; and Kenny Warren, ExxonMobil. The universities were honored by the National Society of Black Engineers and ExxonMobil, for efforts in retaining minority students in their engineering programs.