The National Science Foundation awarded $2 million in grants to the National Society of Black Engineers, for its Summer Engineering Experience (SEEK) program.
The grants, the largest in the NSBE’s history, are to “build understandings of best practice factors, contexts, and processes contributing to K-12 students’ motivation and participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).”
SEEK provides a three week summer camp for kids. They get to participate in a host of hands-on, team-based engineering projects led by actual engineers and engineering college majors—all members of NSBE.
“This award from the National Science Foundation will enable NSBE to realize the vision we have had for SEEK since we founded the program in 2007,” says NSBE National Chair Matthew C. Nelson. “SEEK can now make a resounding impact not only on communities underrepresented in engineering, but also on the nation, by strengthening the pipeline to engineering careers and helping fill that pipeline with many more underrepresented minority and female students.”
One of the SEEK programs is a joint effort between the NSBE and Virginia Tech. In 2016, The partnership will use the grants to expand the SEEK program from 14 sites and 3,825 students in grades 3–5, to 31 sites and 27,000 African American, Hispanic, and female third through fifth graders across the U.S. by 2019.
The project will measure the effectiveness of SEEK in improving students’ STEM-related skills, attitudes, and knowledge; the relationship of those qualities to the students’ academic motivation; and the effect of organizational context factors on the students’ STEM experiences and outcomes.
“NSBE extends its sincere gratitude to the NSF, Purdue University, and Virginia Tech for this opportunity to increase the diversity of the engineering profession,” says NSBE Executive Director Karl W. Reid, Ed.D. “We look forward to the knowledge that will be gained from this project and to the positive results we will see, for aspiring African American, Latino, and women engineers.”