student government provides funds to Society of Black Engineers to travel to convention | News






UCF’s National Society of Black Engineers received student government funding to travel to the NSBE’s 48th Annual Convention in California. The conference will be an opportunity for members to attend workshops, participate in competitions and meet industry professionals.




Born in Nigeria, Abdul-Malik Mustapha saw few black people in STEM fields when he moved to the United States to major in electrical engineering at UCF.

Mustapha, academic excellence chair for the UCF chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, said that while the field is evolving, the face of science, technology, engineering and mathematics is primarily made up of white men. He hopes younger minority students can learn from black STEM majors who are in the NSBE at UCF.

“Seeing black people come together and succeed, it was refreshing to see the impact of an organization like this,” Mustapha said. “I could see that being a part of this would definitely help me develop not only my professional skills, but also my technical skills.”

The Legislative Branch of Student Government passed a budget bill on January 20 that will provide funding for 25 NSBE members to travel to the NSBE’s 48th Annual Convention. This year’s convention will take place March 23-27 in Anaheim, California.

Black and Hispanic workers are vastly underrepresented in STEM occupations. Black professionals make up 9% of all STEM jobs while Hispanic professionals make up 8%, according to the Pew Research Center.

The NSBE at UCF strives to empower minority students to pursue studies in technical fields. The organization not only provides support to students, but also K-12 students. Mustapha said that through a series of workshop events, NSBE seeks to engage students in STEM activities.

NSBE MP Chad Jones said this convention will be a great opportunity for hard-to-navigate black engineers.

“It’s important because it brings visibility and it allows the vast majority to see why people from minority groups, especially black people, should have a seat at the table,” Jones said. “It’s an event where you can not only sell yourself, but you can grow yourself.”

NSBE Senator John Ajiniran said he was grateful to SG for being able to fund this event as the convention is important to all sections of NSBE.

“It will be a very good experience for the students,” said Ajiniran. “There will be lots of networking opportunities and leadership experiences with seminars etc.”

The funding provided by SG will cover half the cost of the trip, so it will cover about $11,250, according to budget bill 53-34. Funding comes from SG’s $20.4 million budget which comes from tuition. The Conference, Registration and Travel Committee allocates a total of $680,000 to be spent on student organizations and registered individuals, based on the activities and services fee budget.

Although SG funds half of it, the trip is still quite expensive for members, Mustapha said. The remaining cost per member totals approximately $400.

NSBE tries to reduce some of the remaining costs for its members through fundraising efforts, such as selling hoodies and t-shirts on its social media with the slogan “I STEM from greatness”. Profits will go to the 25 students who will attend the conference.

Students who were very active in NSBE were chosen from the 25 members who would receive funding from SG, Mustapha said. Other members who wish to attend the event will not benefit from a reduced price.

Senate SG Chairperson Chinyere Anunobi said she thought it was important for the SG to help minority students.

“One of our main challenges is how to reach these students,” Anunobi said. “It’s very important for us to make sure that we allocate money and use it for students who may not be comfortable asking for it or who may need help. »

Anunobi said ensuring that funding benefits students in the best possible way is the most important part.

Attending conferences and being part of NSBE gave Mustapha the confidence to step out of his comfort zone. He hopes that other members will take this opportunity to grow professionally and personally.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of our members,” Mustapha said. “So SG’s help in this regard is very instrumental in the lives of our members who will be attending, as they have the opportunity to see not only people of their own ethnicity and race, but also to see role models who have also been through the process of what it is to be a black engineer in the United States”

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