NSBE National Chair Matthew C. Nelson (Right)
Kappa Alpha Psi Grand Polemarch Thomas L. Battles Jr. (Left)
KAΨ and NSBE Leaders Seek to Develop the Next Generation of Black Male Engineering Leaders
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) have established a partnership to dramatically increase the number of black engineers produced annually in the United States. Leaders of the two organizations met at NSBE World Headquarters in Alexandria, Va., on Friday, Sept. 16 to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The three-year MOU outlines the collaboration of NSBE and the Kappas to reach the primary goal of NSBE’s 10-year strategic plan, which is to increase the number of African-American bachelor’s degree recipients in engineering from 3,501 in 2014 to 10,000 annually by 2025.
“Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity thanks the National Society of Black Engineers, NSBE, for your leadership…and for the engineers and leaders you are producing all across this country,” said Kappa Alpha Psi Grand Polemarch Thomas L. Battles Jr., the fraternity’s highest-ranking officer. “I think that it was probably in His design that we would come to this decision at this time, given the many challenges (black people) are facing in this country. And so we are delighted to partner with you in this initiative.”
“Greek fraternity culture has played a pivotal role in young men becoming male models of stature and integrity once they come of age,” said NSBE National Chair Matthew C. Nelson. “Your work is really important, and it aligns with NSBE’s mission. Positively impacting the community is something both organizations do very well.”
With the agreement, NSBE and KAΨ have pledged to promote and facilitate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and career readiness for precollege students from groups that are underrepresented in these fields. The objectives of the MOU will be achieved primarily through both organizations’ youth programs: the National Society of Black Engineers’ NSBE Jr. Chapters and KAΨ’s Guide Right National Service Program. KAΨ and NSBE will collaborate in establishing six Regional Guide Right NSBE Jr. chapters, to provide students in grades 3–12 with supplemental STEM curricula and exposure to STEM concepts and career opportunities.
“This partnership creates a synergy of two great organizations for a common cause to break down institutional and economic barriers for students of color to explore and pursue technology careers,” said Kevin Burnett, national Guide Right chairman of Kappa Alpha Psi, who is responsible for supporting all of the fraternity’s youth programs and initiatives.
Marlon Ridley, a proud member of KAΨ and NSBE, provided the leadership to structure the partnership.
“Our country is experiencing a paradigm shift in economic opportunity and social mobility,” he said. “Organizations like NSBE and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity have a rich history of uplifting the African-American community, and this partnership will give students tools to excel in this digital economy and expands the nation’s workforce of scientists and engineers.”
“This strategic partnership opens the door to collaborate on funding opportunities that can exponentially expand the size and scale of this initiative and therefore positively impact more young men and communities of color,” added L-Mani S. Viney, executive director of the Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation.
Four NSBE leaders who are members of KAΨ spoke briefly during the signing ceremony, pointing out the longtime contributions of the fraternity to the Society and vice versa: André Willis, a past NSBE national chair and a member of NSBE’s National Advisory Board (NAB); S. Gordon Moore Jr., also a member of the NAB and a past national chair; Richard Z. White, current national chair of NSBE Professionals; and Steven A. Jarrett, a member of the NAB.
“…I think the missions definitely go together,” Moore said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to see two organizations (to which) I give credit for my development and growth come together.”
“(The Kappas) are already successful in what you’re doing to develop young men,” Nelson said. “…We just hope to be a symbiotic partner and help you expand what you’re already doing, as well as learn some leadership and development (skills) from you that we can take to our young men as well as young women across the country.”
To reach the goal of 10,000 black engineers annually by 2025, “we need partnerships,” said NSBE Executive Director Karl W. Reid, Ed.D. “…It’s said that ‘Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor,’ and, ‘A cord of three strands is not easily broken.’ I’m thrilled that we are a cord of three strands, not just (our) organizations but the young men that we will influence going forward.”
With more than 31,000 members and more than 300 chapters in the U.S. and abroad, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. NSBE, founded in 1975, supports and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.” For more information, visit www.nsbe.org
ABOUT KAPPA ALPHA PSI FRATERNITY, INC. (ΚΑΨ)
Founded on Jan. 5, 1911 at Indiana University Bloomington, ΚΑΨ is a collegiate Greek-letter fraternity with a predominantly African-American membership. Since its founding, the fraternity has never limited membership based on color, creed or national origin. The fraternity has more than 150,000 members with 721 undergraduate and alumni chapters in every state of the United States, and international chapters in the United Kingdom, Germany, Korea, Japan, United States Virgin Islands, Nigeria and South Africa. The fraternity is subdivided into distinct administrative regions, which improve the efficiency of decision-making and communication for its chapters and members. Kappa Alpha Psi sponsors programs providing community service, social welfare and academic scholarship through the Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation. For more information, visit www.kappaalphapsi1911.com.