SoCal NSBE Jr. Victors Shine at Nationals
On March 23-March 27, 2022, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) hosted its first in person National Convention since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 2,000 students and professionals gathered at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA, to celebrate NSBE’s 48th Annual Convention themed “Inspiring Engineers” where they networked with, competed against, and learned from each other in the name of NSBE’s mission — to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.
Among these attendees were a group of promising young students from NSBE Jr. Southern California chapter. The team of twelve, named “Straight Outta SoCal,” placed first at the Convention’s Ten80 Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Challenge.
For weekends on end throughout the school year, Straight Outta SoCal built, coded, and tested their Robo Racecar, an AV technology designed to introduce coding and software-hardware integration to beginner-intermediate computer science students. The team went through the entire lifecycle of product design, from construction and testing, to creating a business plan and filming a promotional video.
Straight Outta SoCal students assembled at the USC campus with help from Anne Areta, Coordinator for African American Students at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s K-12 STEM Center. They worked alongside their professional coaches, Khali Connad and Jillian Bibbins of Northrop Grumman, and student coaches, Kendall Work of USC Viterbi and Zainab Sulaiman of Cal State LA, to complete their project and practice their delivery for the National Convention.
“I am so proud of our team, Straight Outta SoCal, for their efforts,” said Connad, Ground Segment Manager at Northrop Grumman. “It was so great to see these mature middle and high school students present to judges and showcase their AV so confidently.”
Despite it being their first time competing in the challenge, Straight Outta SoCal exemplified the potential that is unlocked when CS education is equitable and accessible for all students. With the NSBE’s Game Change Plan to “graduate 10,000 Black engineers by 2025” in full throttle, teams like Straight Outta SoCal prove that the future of engineering is brighter than ever.
Published on April 22nd, 2022
Last updated on April 22nd, 2022