With over 40 events this academic year, the USC chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers has made its mark helping to support Black students majoring in STEM fields at USC.
And that work was recognized on a national level — the USC chapter was named Best Medium Chapter of the Year at the National Society of Black Engineers Annual Convention in Pittsburgh last week.
The USC chapter had also won Best Large Chapter of the Year in 2015, before they were redesignated to the Medium size category due to NSBE rule changes, according to USC NSBE Vice President Ellah Ipah.
“Our chapter prides [itself] on making sure that we are putting on the best programming, that our programming is diverse, and we challenge ourselves to do that,” Ipah said. “For example, we put on our first Black Excellence Gala [this year] … We were able to get it sponsored by Google, and that was a really big deal because it was the first time that we had done anything of this nature and it had gotten a lot of attention from some of our vice deans and Dean within [Viterbi].”
Ipah credits the executive board and USC with helping the chapter reach its success.
“I think that our e-board is exceptional and they work very hard,” Ipah said. “USC has instilled that within us: to put our best foot forward always. And that shows in our programming and the leadership we have in our organization.”
To win the award, the chapter submitted documentation of the over 40 events it organized throughout the year in categories like inclusion and academic excellence, Ipah said. The chapter was also considered based on its participation in the national convention. With 30 USC attendees, they were one of the largest chapters in attendance, according to Ipah.
Ipah said that winning the award proves that USC NSBE is doing important work.
“We spent all year really pushing people to come to [the convention] or join NSBE,” she said. “It can be a challenge sometimes to see value in that when we’ve got so many things going on … But when you’re able to put that magnitude behind the name, [and prove that] we’re putting on good programming, we’re a substantial force within our community, within our organization on a national level, it definitely encourages people to come and take us more seriously.”