By Courtney Hibler
The National Society of Black Engineers is a group at Youngstown State University dedicated to making the number of culturally responsible African-Americans excel academically and professionally.
According to the NSBE website, this society is one of the largest student-governed organizations in the United States with 16,000 active members and more than 500 chapters.
Krystal Coster, current president of NSBE and a senior civil and construction engineering technology major, said her purpose as president is to encourage, motivate and help other minority students become active both the NSBE community and their own.
“I want to help [other minority students] understand their essence in this field and substantiate their networking to the best of their abilities,” she said.
NSBE members are offered many opportunities, including leadership training, professional development activities, mentoring, career placement services and more.
Michelle Fleming, a senior mechanical engineering major, said she had the pleasure of restarting the organization years ago when she attended YSU.
“I was elected as president of the new version of this program,” she said. “I enjoyed getting a group of students to come together for the purposes of helping other black students succeed.”
Fleming’s presidency soon ended due to an accident, causing her to leave school and receive long-term medical treatment. She returned to YSU two years ago and immediately inserted herself back into the organization.
“A lot of support was given to me when I was gone and no longer able to attend school,” she said. “Members called me regularly to remind me that I still had to make it to the finish line one day.”
Devonte Campbell, a senior computer information systems major, is also a former president of the organization and said he foresees aiding new members in similar ways that it did for him.
“They will be among fellow members that respect one another and treat each other like family,” he said. “The NSBE can only help our members and it does so in the most significant way possible.”
Fleming said the organization is all-inclusive and any YSU student wanting help push the mission of the NSBE is more than welcome to join.
“Everyone needs to see themselves represented in the world to increase their chances of success,” she said.
Sherri Lovelace-Cameron, professor of organic chemistry and advisor of the NBSE, said the current members will be participating in a regional conference this coming weekend.
The purpose of regional conferences is to allow a smaller and more intimate setting, giving the different organizations an opportunity to meet new members and become friends.
“I have been attending the NSBE conferences since my sophomore year,” Campbell said. “My resume has been improved because of workshops that were provided, and I was able to gain a lot of network and experience by speaking with several employers.”
The fall regional conference for the NSBE will be located in Cleveland, Ohio, and will include a career fair with many local job opportunities and employers.
Fleming said the YSU organization is in region four for the conference and they have their own chant.
“Fo’ solid, fo’ life, forever,” she said. “This is our motto and we stand by it.”
Campbell encourages any student interested in the NSBE to reach out to a current officer or member to join.
“I joined this organization with the purpose of giving,” Fleming said. “What I didn’t know was that I would end up receiving many priceless moments and memories in return.”