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Organization Aims to Add More Black Engineers

The National Society of Black Engineers has created a new campaign to get more Black youth interested in engineering.

The “Be 1 in 10,000” campaign targets 7th graders. It’s goal is to have 150,000 7th grade students envision themselves as engineers and pledge to achieve academic excellence in subjects such as algebra, chemistry and physics, the base of an engineering education.

The Society will then provide online and other resources to help those students achieve their goals.

“NSBE’s leadership is totally committed to this campaign,” says NSBE National Chair Neville Green, a senior in chemical engineering at the City University of New York. “As students and professionals in STEM, we know the importance of driving this change, to ensure the future of our communities.”

Just 19 percent of Black 4th graders in America and 13 percent of the nation’s Black 8th graders were proficient in math in 2015, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. A minuscule 5.5 percent of Black 8th graders completed calculus five years later in 2005, and a mere 1.1 percent of the nation’s Black college freshmen enrolled in engineering programs in 2010, according to a recent NSBE analysis.

The percentage of African Americans among U.S. engineering bachelor’s degree recipients has continued to decline for more than a decade. It was just 3.4 percent in 2014.

The campaign is designed to mobilize the Society’s 31,000-plus members and others as well. Those who partner with NSBE will help bring about a positive cultural change that will create a mind shift in students of color across the nation. The hope is that these children will begin to see themselves as engineers instead of the athletes and entertainers they most often view as role models.

Participants will be provided with academic support including tutoring and mentoring by older student and professional members of NSBE, collaborative study sessions, training in test-taking and other measures.

To join the campaign or for more information, visit Graduate10K.NSBE.org. Or follow the campaign on social media at #Be1of10K.