NSBE: Engineering a Vision for the Future

NIU’s National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) will visit Nashville, TN in March for the 40th Annual NSBE National Conference. The conference’s theme this year is, “Engineering and Leadership in Harmony.”

Mechanical Engineering Major and NIU’S NSBE Parliamentarian, Solomon Mason has embraced this theme since joining the society over five years ago. Mason took the time to discuss his NSBE journey and his NSBE vision for the future NIU chapter.

How long have you been a part of NSBE and what leadership roles have you held within the society?

“I became a member in 2009, but it wasn’t until three years later when I played the biggest role within the organization. I started as chapter president and moved up to Regional Programs Chair for the Midwest region. As of 2013, I currently hold the position of NIU’s Parliamentarian and Regional Leadership Chair for the Midwest.”

Wow, these roles have leadership written all over them, literally. What are the responsibilities of your current position as Regional Leadership Chair?
“Well, the region is made up of chapters from across the Midwest; Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. My position is responsible for implementing effective programs for leadership sustainability, membership retention and chapter development within the Midwest region.”
NSBE is considered the largest student-governed organization in the country. Would you say the society has issues with leadership sustainability, membership retention and chapter development?

 “A big issue with any organization at a collegiate level is membership sustainability. My job is to counteract that through the implementation of effective recruitment programs and retention strategies.”

Would you say you’re using engineering methods of leadership for NSBE chapters and even the members within them?

 “YES EXACTLY. I use engineering concepts all the time like the scientific method. You identify and strategize by developing hypotheses. Then you test and analyze these hypotheses to come up with a conclusion. You use this method in order to engineer a team.”

At this point in your NSBE career, you have engineered chapters and individuals throughout the Midwest region, but what about you? What are your aspirations and hopes for the future of NIU’s Chapter of NSBE?

I want everyone from the chapter to gain a sense of vision. I want our members to feel a sense of purpose within our organization and develop ways to make our chapter better in the future.”

The NSBE National Conference will be held March 26th-30th in Nashville, TN. More than 400 colleges are expected to attend. Mason and other members of the NIU chapter will be participating in career oriented workshops and other programs in an effort to engineer a better future for the society. 
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