National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Torch Rededication

Interview with Robbie Williams (Mechanical Engineering), Purdue NSBE President 

In your own words, what is the mission/goal of NSBE at Purdue?

The goal of NSBE is to build a community of individuals who are dedicated to the growth and success of Black/African American students in Engineering. NSBE provides numerous resources and mentors to its membership and is dedicated to the academic, professional, and ethical development of each student.

What have been some highlights for NSBE this year?

One of the biggest highlights of this year is the pilot of our University Partnership Grant, which we plan to roll out to all the Schools of Engineering. The goal of this grant is to bring all of the Schools of Engineering, and the Purdue NSBE Chapter together in order to collaboratively discuss, understand, and improve the black experience in engineering. This grant will also provide financial support for the chapter’s conference expenses, allowing more members to attend our conference at lower cost. As of last week, the School of Mechanical Engineering is the first school to join this partnership. 

What does it mean to be the Mother Chapter of NSBE?

Being the Mother Chapter means that we set a precedent for not only what NSBE is, but also the impact that NSBE has. For nearly 50 years now, the Purdue Chapter has acted as a model for many other chapters and to see the growth of the organization as a whole and of our own chapter is indescribable. While we were cleaning out our office last fall, we found a number of the founding documents and pictures of some of the first executive boards. It was amazing to see the legacy of an organization that started with students who were just like us. 

The NSBE Torch is being rededicated on February 26th. What does it mean for NSBE to be honored in this way?

The Torch rededication is a reminder of the presence and strength of the Black/African American community here at Purdue. Though we only make up a very small fraction of the College of Engineering, seeing the NSBE Torch is a confirmation that you will always have a community who looks like you, and are here ready to support you, challenge you, and love you unconditionally.

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