Last month, the Cal Poly National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter took home the regional award for chapter of the year at the 45th Annual NSBE Convention in Detroit. The best chapter award win was the club’s first since 1987.

Cal Poly’s NSBE chapter aims to “increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community,” according to the their website. The NSBE is divided into six regions across the U.S. Cal Poly’s chapter, which was established in 1978, is part of region six. Comprised of 13 states, region six is the national society’s largest region.

Cal Poly NSBE Vice President Amman Asfaw said he is comforted by the success of the club and hopes the win will instill excitement in younger members. Asfaw also said he feels the future of the club is more solidified following their win.

“[The award win] was huge,” Asfaw said. “In light of everything that’s been happening on campus in the past year, it definitely is a bright spot for the Black community at Cal Poly in that we have a very successful chapter that operates in an organized and professional manner from top to bottom.”

This year, Cal Poly NSBE also made strides in the amount of leaders produced at the regional level. According to Asfaw, Cal Poly NSBE did not have a member on the regional executive board for the past four years. Next year, the club will have three members on the regional executive board.

Asfaw thanked the financial supporters who made the club’s trip to Detroit possible — including Cal Poly CENG, Cal Poly LSAMP and numerous corporate sponsors. Asfaw said Cal Poly NSBE’s large presence at the Fall Regional Conference and National Convention are a significant reason they won best chapter.

Asfaw also credits mechanical engineering freshman Wanjiku Gichigi, Cal Poly NSBE’s freshman senator. Asfaw said Gichigi played a vital and tedious role in documenting all activities within the organization to be considered for regional awards.

Gichigi said she is grateful for the club and the support she received from others as she stepped into the role earlier this year.

“Going forward, I hope to give the same support and recognition to incoming freshmen or anyone who is trying to enter NSBE,” Gichigi said.

According to Asfaw, the groups success continued beyond their award win as well. Members of the chapter received 13 on-site interviews at the convention. From those 13 interviews, four members were offered job or internship opportunities from organizations including Boeing and the NSA.

“I think the morale of our chapter is very high right now,” Asfaw said. “Overall, it means a lot. Our leaders and chapter this year have put in a lot of effort and a lot of work, and now, seeing this has made everything worth it.”

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