| 03.18.2018

Diversity domination — UI National Society for Black Engineers gains national recognition


Within the University of Idaho, there are many student organizations that celebrate diversity found on college campuses. One such entity is the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE).

The UI chapter of NSBE has a total of 30 registered members.

The society is devoted to spreading awareness about professions in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, as well as professional and community development, said UI NSBE President Shams Arifeen said.

Joseph George is the vice president of UI NSBE and said they provide outreach programs to schools in Moscow and Pullman, and as far as Spokane and Lapwai, Idaho.

These programs usually involve speaking with middle school or high school students about career opportunities within the STEM fields, Arifeen said.

With the university about to start finals next week, UI NSBE members are offering tutoring services for students in STEM related classes who need help, George said.

Each spring, the NSBE holds its national convention. This year, the convention took place in Nashville, Tennessee, from March 26-30. Ten students, including George and Arifeen, went to the convention to represent the UI chapter.

During the convention, numerous awards and scholarships were given to chapters and individuals. This year, UI walked away the award for highest GPA, with a chapter GPA of 3.78, and the award for most active chapter. UI NSBE competed against the more than 200 other NSBE chapters to win these honors, Arifeen said.

Professor Aicha Elshabini won the Student Organization Adviser Award at UI earlier this year for her involvement with the NSBE on campus.

The most active chapter award is based on community and national participation in the organization, as well as school-related activities and outreach done by members, George said.

Olivia Balemba was another UI member who attended the conference. Balemba said the conference included everything from discussions on how to get a job after college to how to get a 4.0 GPA and more. During the conference, Balemba was offered an internship at Boeing.

The UI chapter just elected new members to its executive board a few weeks ago, Arifeen said. George said that the chapter plans to increase its involvement with activities on campus, as well as helping to start a junior chapter in Pullman.

Arifeen also pointed out that the society was open to anyone interested in joining. While the name states “Black Engineers,” Arifeen stressed that he and George were from Bangladesh and India respectively, and that the society is about promoting diversity.

Jared Jonas can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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