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NSBE chapter attends national conference: 'One of the biggest stepping stones in their lives'


From left to right: Farid Adenuja '16, Mechanical Engineering; Kenneth Imade '16, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Aurelie Roche '16, Chemical Engineering; Kian Jones '17, Computer Science, and Maria Gonzalez '16, Economics and Math. (Photo by Brandon Vick, University Communications)

“Be a SHE.E.O., not C.E.O.; do business like a woman, not like a man.”
“Everyone is a potential customer.”
“If you fail to plan, your plan will fail.”

These were some of the talking points Aurelie Roche ’16 of ChemE brought back from the annual conference of the National Society of Black Engineers in Anaheim, Calif., this spring.

Roche and seven other members of the UR chapter who attended said the conference was a valuable experience, allowing them to attend workshops and network with employers about internships and job opportunities.

Perhaps most importantly, it was a chance to be surrounded by minority role models and students from other universities – a far cry from sitting in a classroom where there might be only one or two other minority students.

“This convention reminded me that I'm not alone; that a lot of people who also look like me are striving for the same things -- and succeeding," said Farid Adenula ’16 of MechE.

“It was great to see members of the other NSBE chapters with ideals and aspirations similar to mine. Diversity can truly be inspiring,” added Christopher Marsh ’16 of Optics.

Some of the students were able to schedule interviews for internships; others returned more confident in their ability to approach and engage a potential employer – and more aware of ways to fine tune their pitches.

For example, a workshop on communicating more effectively helped Hamed Kone,’15 of ChemE “redefine my idea about communicating with friends, recruiters or professors. It challenged my peers and me to diverge from the introvert character that is associated with engineers.”

“Walking up and talking to various recruiters as well as having interviews has helped me realize some areas that I still need to improve on, such as becoming more confident and speaking more clearly when talking to people,” added Kian Jones ’17 of Computer Science.

This was the second such conference for Kenneth Imade ’16 of ECE. “It made me realize that life involves taking that small risk. Whether it involves talking to your professor during office hours, asking for their help, or talking to a fellow company representative, I learned that there’s no loss for taking an initiative.”

The interest shown by recruiters provided an additional incentive for the students to keep up with their studies.

“The conference reminds me that there’s a niche for everyone and everything in engineering, and it encourages me to keep going, and exploring reasonable outlets for my future craft,” said Chiamaka Alozie '17 of ChemE,

“I now realize that employers like a candidate with multiple programming and spoken languages,” said Maria Gonzalez '16 who is majoring in Economics and Math. “These are skills I have time to develop in the rest of my college career.”

 “Talking to companies and seeing that they are potentially interested in me for future employment provides a great incentive to continue to maintain or improve my grades and to continue working on meaningful projects both to supplement my learning and to provide a way to demonstrate my skills on my resume.,” Jones added.

The 2015 conference will in Boston; Roche is hopeful that the shorter distance will make it possible for even more chapter members to attend.

“This can be one of the biggest stepping stones in their lives.”

To find out more about the NSBE chapter here, email or visit the Facebook page