National Society of Black Engineers: History and Future

National Society of Black Engineers: History and Future

I was born and raised in Chicago,
Illinois: south side of the city, around the way, off the block, from the hood. I really thought I wanted to be an
architect, until my drafting teacher told me one day that, “If you were an engineer, you
would make money just because you’re a smart guy and you like math.” And from that
point on I began thinking about engineering. Then I really did some
research and I really found that my actual interests aligned more with
mechanical engineering. The reason I ultimately came to Purdue is that they
offered me the most amount of financial aid, and you know, without their financial
aid, I would not have been able to attend any school. We came from Inner City public
schools in Chicago and they did not offer calculus. And I can remember
walking into the first calculus class, and seeing a couple guys, and one of them said,
“Hey Billy, look, this is the same calculus book we used in high school!” I
was like, “Uh oh! I’m gonna be in trouble!” I was really lucky coming to Purdue in
that I also came with four other friends from high school, and we all decided as a
group to attend Purdue, so when I got here, I really already had kind of a
social network and a study group built in, that contributed to my success in the
freshman and sophomore year. After the first semester, when we kind of got our
bearings, I think that the hard work actually
paid off, and I ultimately got a B in in my first calculus class, which I’m
still proud of to this day! Most of the the minority students in particular, when
they matriculate here, they don’t have that study group of support or that
network. And I could see that the difference in performance, with some of
the minority students, that the graduation rates were low, the
retention rates were low, the actual matriculation rates were low, and there
were very few students on campus. And I saw that as a problem. And as I had an
opportunity to visit other campuses, I could see that that was a problem
that was shared. So we got back and we kind of talked about what we’re going to
do about that, we decided that we had a chance to make a difference
here. Those experiences gave me the idea of forming the National Society of Black
Engineers. All I did, all the six of us did, was plant a seed. And then we graduated.
And others behind us watered that seed, and they nurtured that plant, and it grew,
now there’s a whole big tree called the National Society of Black Engineers, that
has 30,000 members, and almost 400 chapters, in almost 19 countries, with a
14 million dollar annual budget, and 30 full-time paid professional staff. I’m very
proud of that. Through the National Society of Black Engineers, we now have
begun to target third, fourth, and fifth graders with the goal of getting them
interested in math. The doors of opportunity are open to them because now
they’re eligible for Advanced Placement math and science in high school, which
makes them eligible for matriculation in not only engineering, but in medicine,
in chemistry, and physics. So what I try to tell young folks: math is fun,
first of all, and it’s important. If we can show them that through math
and algebra, you know, they have another opportunity, or another avenue, to get the
things they want. I think that will make a difference.


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    Joe Hudson

    I am a private math tutor at UNLV here in Las Vegas Nevada. I love every minute of it. Mathematics is becoming increasingly important in today's world due to increase in technology and information. The man in the video is an inspiration to me and others. I want to pursue my degree in mathematics. Every black child should know math and engineering in the United States. I am in my 40's still learning mathematics now and to the end. One should not be afraid to learn because it is exhilarating when you learn new things.

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