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Mizzou NSBE makes mark at national convention

NSBE members pose for a group photo around a table with a College of Engineering tablecloth.

The Mizzou chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) were incredibly active at this year’s NSBE Annual Convention from March 29 to April 2 in Kansas City, Mo. Photo by Gene Royer.

National conventions are key opportunities for networking, visibility, student recruitment and more for engineering student organizations. The Mizzou chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) not only maximized those opportunities, but had two members elected to prestigious regional posts at this year’s NSBE Annual Convention from March 29 to April 2 in Kansas City, Mo.

Briana Wilson was elected Region V Regional Leadership Chair, giving her the responsibility for the Regional Leadership Conference for the largest NSBE region this year, while Nosakhare Eke was elected Region V Vice Chair.

And there were more major highlights for Mizzou NSBE at the event. Chapter President Chris Trunell gave the State of the Region address and in a 15+ hour long Google hack-a-thon, Melissa Hollingshead’s team won first place in the collaborative category. MU Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa also spoke during a panel of engineering deans held at the event.

“It was cool just getting to address everyone,” Trunell said. “We definitely had a good year, and our region was named Region Supreme — third year in a row.”

The career fair and networking events allowed Mizzou NSBE members to make connections with a who’s who of industry leaders — Twitter, Snapchat, Tesla, Northrup Grumman, Exxon, and many, many more. Trunell said that several of those encounters led to interviews for jobs and internships for Mizzou NSBE members.

“Companies every night would have networking events,” he said. “One of my favorite workshops I went to gave an in-depth look into the life of a consultant. A lot of people went to the Twitter workshops. Twitter was big there.”

The MU College of Engineering was one of several institutions that had an active presence at the career fair. Universities and colleges typically set up booths to recruit mostly graduate students and some undergraduates, and given that Kansas City is fertile recruiting territory for MU, Trunell said the booth was a key priority.

“All of the top grad schools around the nation come to this convention to recruit students for their programs,” he said. “We thought it was important since this year was in our backyard to have a booth at that career fair.”

Trunell said Mizzou NSBE had a group of about 50 people participate, including mostly undergraduate students alongside faculty and graduate students. But the chapter also brought seven local Kansas City high school students along to expose them to such an important annual event.

“I’ve been in NSBE since freshman year. I was a member, but it wasn’t until I went to that first convention in Anaheim, CA that I really got to see NSBE in its full glory and realized just how many resources this organization offers to its members,” Trunell said. “The reason we took so many people this year is because I wanted them to have that same moment.”