Kettering NSBE students host ‘A Walk for Education’

Feb 27, 2014

NSBE members do grassroots outreach in underserved communities, distributing information about college, scholarships and the benefits of pursuing degrees in STEM fields.

Students from the Kettering University chapter of the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) hosted ‘A Walk for Education’ at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint in November.

The ‘Walk for Education’ event is a national NSBE event. NSBE is composed of six different regions across the United States. The state of Michigan is a member of Region IV, which also includes Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana and Illinois. The event is designed to, “increase awareness of the opportunities available through education particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields and to shatter myths about African-Americans in math, science, engineering and other technologies.”

NSBE members do grassroots outreach in underserved communities, distributing information about college, scholarships, ACT/SAT test prep tools and discuss the benefits of pursuing degrees in STEM fields.

Kettering NSBE members Rhonda Clarke and Chelsea Reeves learned about the event at the 2013 NSBE Leadership Conference at Northern Illinois University and were inspired to bring it to the Flint area.

“When we heard about what the program consisted of and how much of a difference we could make in a young person’s life, we instantly knew that we wanted to bring that to the University and to the Flint Area,” said Clarke, a Flint native who is currently a junior studying Industrial Engineering and minoring in Business at Kettering and the A-section NSBE President. “Considering the condition of the community, we believed that this would be an awesome opportunity to make a positive impact on the youth in the area.”

NSBE members stuffed about 150 bags with school supplies including notebooks, pencils, pens, literature from Kettering University, University of Michigan-Flint and Oakland University and Kettering University t-shirts. Kettering University Marketing and Communications provided Kettering supplies for NSBE to hand out and Tom Ayers, Kettering University vice president for finance and administration, and his wife helped hand out the bags at the event. Members of UM-Flint’s Black Student Union also participated in the event. Both groups met with about 90 students from the Flint area ranging in age from 7-18.

Students who attended were divided into three groups and participated in engineering activities in each group. After that, they talked about their own future goals and heard from a panel of college students discussing the importance of education.

“It was a great experience to see how much the children enjoyed themselves,” Clarke said. “I hope that the students will learn that even though the conditions they live in are not the best, that shouldn’t stop them from pursuing their goals and their dreams. Every child needs to take advantage of every opportunity presented to them because everyone deserves a chance of a better future.”

Clarke said Kettering NSBE hopes to make this event a yearly tradition and reach even more students in the future.

“This event is definitely something we would like to continue doing and eventually spread it across Genesee County,” she said. “We want to create a movement and help revitalize the area.”

For more on NSBE’s Walk for Education event, visit the national website.