Edward E. Barnette Jr. Community
Impact Scholarship / Fund

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Adapted from Who was "Big Ed" Barnette (1949 - 1991)? by George Smith

Edward E. Barnette Jr. was an ambitious leader, who set high goals for his life, and pursued them with uncommon passion and energy. Ed chose to study Industrial Engineering at Purdue University during a time when 8 of 10 black freshmen dropped out every year. As an incoming senior, he and other black seniors felt a responsibility to help underclassman. In 1971, Ed went to Arthur J. Bond, an Electrical Engineering PhD candidate, and asked for help. Art wrote a Constitution and agreed to serve as the Faculty Advisor. Then Edward E. Barnette, Jr. moved forward and became the founding President of Purdue’s Black Society of Engineers. Among those Ed was determined to help, were six black freshmen, later to be known as NSBE’s own Chicago 6.

As a professional, Ed continued to serve, support, and embody NSBE’s mission. Ed was a successful senior corporate executive with the Digital Equipment Corporation, and at the same time, always mindful of his responsibility to inspire, help, and mentor the younger black engineers. For his accomplishments, Edward Barnette was declared one of the “Outstanding Young Men in America”. The Purdue University NSBE Chapter recognized his priceless contributions to our cause by establishing an annual scholarship in his name. Fittingly, Mr. Barnette was NSBE’s first recipient of the Golden Torch Award for outstanding academic, industry, and community achievements. “Big Ed,” was a beloved husband, father, fraternity brother, and friend to many, many people. He personified “positive impact” for our Society and his early vision enabled us to see a brighter day for our people.

The Professionals Scholarship Program is a grass roots program that provides scholarships to all demographics of the society, from pre-college to professional. A key feature of the scholarship program is that nominations come from our Professionals Chapters. Chapter leaders, supported by their members, nominate candidates from within their local NSBE community, from pre-college to professional, that embodied the NSBE mission through their impact to the community they serve.

In its inauguration, the scholarship committee named The Professionals Scholarship Program the Edward E. Barnette Jr. Community Impact Scholarship Program. Please take a moment to learn about Edward E. Barnette, an essential forefather to the Founders and the first NSBE Professional.

Grassroots Engagement

We have the power to make a real and continual impact in many ways. When we align our finances with the outcomes we desire, with our beliefs, with the mission, results are automatic and immediate. In 2016-2017 we secured $25,000 dollars for five, $5k scholarships. With nearly half of all individual donations ranging from just five dollars to one thousand dollars, the NSBE Professionals succeed in this amazing inaugural effort.

Our first year of the scholarship program was a true success! This success would not have been possible without our founder’s support (Tony Harris, Brian Harris, Ed Coleman, and George Smith), our Professional Chapters (Leaders & Members), and our many donors from around the country. We are very thankful to founder Tony Harris and past National Chair (and now UC Davis Chancellor) Dr. Gary may for their five thousand dollar contributions.

Local Impact

We impacted NSBE members ranging from seasoned professionals to aspiring high school students. Our winners included Dia Maria Brown a graduating high school, and an aspiring Environmental Engineer, attending University of Vermont this fall. Austin Christopher, also a graduating high school senior, and aspiring Civil Engineer attending UT Austin or Rose Hulman. Rachel Corine Judge a Chemical Engineering senior, attending Virginia Commonwealth University, an active campus leader, and 2016-2017 NSBE Chapter President. Kayla Holston a senior Biomedical Engineering student at the University of Virginia, serving in 2016-17 as Vice President of her chapter, also active in her campus community. Finally, Deborah Ann Dilworth, a Professional member seeking her Masters in Civil Engineering, a 2016 Regional and Chapter Member of the Year.

These devoted members are active, excelling academically, succeeding professional, and impacting the community. They embody mission, they embody the purpose of the Edward E. Barnett Jr. Impact Scholarship –the IMPACT Scholarship.

Scholarship Goals

To recognize outstanding contributions to the community along the length of the entire STEM pipeline and thus throughout our membership. The scholarship supports the continued educational objectives within the following demographic areas:

  • High School Seniors (PCI/NSBE Jr.)
  • Collegiate Students (min. two semesters from graduation)
  • Non-traditional (Professional Affiliate Members, non-Bachelors holding)
  • Post-graduate (YTP/Professional, first post-graduate engineering degree)