Preparing for STEM Success
Finding your place in the world is a daunting task. For many students, especially those of color, joining a community of like-minded young adults can ease anxiety and inspire success. Pre-med biomedical engineering majorJeremy Glasper '23 discovered that community in Bradley's chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
"I joined NSBE in the fall of my freshman year because I wanted to build a professional network of minority students in the STEM field," Glasper shared. Less than one year later, he has already received helpful real-world advice from peers and says one of his most inspiring moments at Bradley happened during a NSBE function.
"We had a guest speaker named Ryan Rembert, who gave us his personal experience of how he has been treated as a Black man in the workplace and how he combats racism. I took a lot of notes which I can incorporate into my professional life."
NSBE's objective is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black STEM majors who succeed academically, excel professionally and positively impact the community. Computer science major Ahnia Ricks '21 was so affected by NSBE that she signed on as Bradley's chapter president immediately after her freshman year — an experience that has motivated her to pursue two career goals.
"One is to be a project manager for a Fortune 500 company in their technology division," Ricks said. “The second is to start a not-for-profit organization devoted to helping inner-city, minority youth develop science, technology, engineering and math skills to be successful in STEM careers in the future."
Ricks' leadership has not gone unnoticed — NSBE was named Organization of the Year at the Black Excellence Ball 2020 in February. Hosted by the Black Student Alliance, the ball is a celebration of accomplishments of the African American community on the Bradley campus.
"(The honor) symbolizes that people actually appreciate and see us trying to make a difference," Ricks said. "It showed that all our hard work was starting to pay off and that the community feels that we're doing an adequate job of trying to support them."
Manufacturing engineering major Brittney Burns '23 first joined the NSBE Jr. chapter at her high school. She now serves as senator of Bradley's chapter and appreciates the group's impact on her life.
"I believe the main thing that NSBE has done to help me succeed was the motivation to keep going even when I don't necessarily have it ... The idea of 'you are not alone and help is at your fingertips' is definitely true within the NSBE Bradley chapter community."
The coronavirus forced the group to suspend activities for the remainder of the spring semester, but that's only driven members to make the 20-21 school year their best yet.
"We started planning for the fall now ... a lot of professional development, fundraisers and community bonding so we can grow with one another," Ricks shared. "We got Organization of the Year but want to continue to positively affect the community any way we can."
— Wendy Vinglinsky