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College of Engineering student group named national small chapter of the year

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


MANHATTAN — The Kansas State University student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers was named national Small Chapter of the Year at the society's annual convention March 23-27 in Boston, Massachusetts.

The group qualified for the national title by being named Small Chapter of the society's Region 5. The Kansas State University chapter was judged by members of the national executive board against the winners of the other five regions. Region 5 includes universities in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Mexico, Central America, South Africa and the Dominican Republic.

Small chapters have fewer than 30 members, while the large chapter divisions have 30 or more members. Faculty adviser for the group at Kansas State University is LaVerne Bitsie-Baldwin, director of the College of Engineering's Multicultural Engineering Program.

The competition involves an application process, beginning at the regional level, where a committee selects the chapter that best fulfills the National Society of Black Engineers' mission to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community, as well as providing programming relevant to the membership and that impacts the surrounding community. Other factors reviewed within the application are financial/fundraising accomplishments, outreach accomplishments, goals for the chapter and membership.

"The top highlight of our application was our outstanding planning/organization of Engineering a Dream," said Sallem Ambessie, sophomore in biological systems engineering, Olathe, and vice president of the chapter.

The annual all-day event, this year scheduled for April 30, is an outreach to middle school students to introduce them to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields. Attendees meet with students and faculty to participate in various engineering-themed activities, providing them with knowledge about the different areas of engineering and the importance of teamwork within the field.

"We were also recognized for our outstanding work in reaching out to corporate sponsors," Ambessie said. This year the group partnered with Austin Commercial, CP Chem, Phillips 66, GE Aviation, the K-State Student Governing Association and several alumni of the National Society of Black Engineers.

"I am so proud our chapter has been recognized for its efforts with this national award," Bitsie-Baldwin said. "They work diligently on their projects and believe in the task of promoting an increase in the number Black engineers."

Another accolade from the convention was chapter Kevin Bultongez, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, master's student in mechanical engineering and a chapter senator, taking first place out of 400 entrants in the technical research exhibition poster competition.

Along with Ambessie, the following students are officers of Kansas State University's National Society of Black Engineers student chapter:

Jenae Tate, senior in chemical engineering, Junction City, chapter senator; Kaila Wilson, junior in biological systems engineering, Kansas City, chapter senator; and Geordy Williams, junior in computer science, Prairie Village, chapter historian/webmaster.

From out of state: Brandon Reid, junior in construction science management, Denver, Colorado, chapter president; and Chioma Udokwu, sophomore in industrial engineering, Kansas City, Missouri, chapter programs chair.

From out of country: Lauriston Davis,senior in mechanical engineering, Westmoreland, Jamaica, chapter secretary; and Abdullateef Shodunke, senior in electrical engineering, Ogun State, Nigeria, chapter treasurer.


Student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers

News tip

Junction City, Kansas City, Olathe and Prairie Village, Kansas; Denver, Colorado; and Kansas City, Missouri.

Written by

Mary Rankin

At a glance

Kansas State University's student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers has been selected the society's Small Chapter of the Year.