LOREN NEGRON | THE DAILY EVERGREEN
The WSU National Society of Black Engineers held its first-ever fall forum to discuss leadership and professional competency, Saturday afternoon in Butch’s Den.
The WSU chapter collaborated with the University of Idaho chapter and the NSBE Tri-Cities Professionals chapter.
Alyssa Hampton, president of the WSU NSBE chapter, said the forum was focused on leadership development and connecting students with members of the professional chapters to open up opportunities for mentorship.
This was the first event with other chapters the WSU NSBE has taken part in, so they were experimenting to see what worked and hope to hold more forums in the future, she said.
“We’re building our presence here on campus, making sure we represent what it means to propel cultural competency in professional environments,” Hampton said.
Michael Benjamin, president of the NSBE Tri-Cities Professionals chapter, led the meeting in a recitation of the NSBE mission statement, which is “to increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.”
Benjamin along with two other members of the NSBE Tri-Cities Professionals chapter were part of a panel that answered questions from attendees looking to further their professional competency.
Members also took part in roundtable discussions over introspective questions that dealt with leadership and professionalism.
Hampton said the WSU NSBE chapter is looking to increase its presence on campus and partner more with both the University of Idaho chapter and the NSBE Tri-Cities Professionals chapter.
“Not everything here is at your fingertips like it is in Seattle, so why don’t we work towards building a network of students and professionals for support, mentorship, internship opportunities?” she said.
Matthias McFarlane, WSU NSBE programs chair, said NSBE is an organization that does not look at him as a minority but is a space where he can escape from expectations based on his minority status.
“It gives you the space to do what you want to do, which is just achieve and succeed and keep pushing forward,” McFarlane said. “NSBE gave me room to do that.”