NACME Career Center

Salute to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’S)


August 5, 2015

For its summer issue, US Black Engineer magazine recognized NACME as a Top Supporter of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s). We were chosen by a panel comprised of the deans of 15 university level engineering programs and the alliance, Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE). As someone who is intimately familiar with the growth, mission, and effectiveness of HBCU’s, I was honored to receive this recognition on behalf of NACME.

For me, the lessons learned and friends made at three HBCU’s have been a guiding star throughout my life. I began my academic career at Morgan State University, served as the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs at Delaware State University, and later served as President of LeMoyne-Owen College.

Our recognition from US Black Engineer also coincides with a recent article I read about a new book by Melissa Wooten, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her book is titled In the Face of Inequality: How Black Colleges Adapt. I learned things I hadn’t known before. For example, in their early years, many HBCU’s also served as both elementary and high schools for their communities, as few African Americans had access to education at any level. And, facing a funding crisis in the late 1940’s, the presidents of several HBCU’s came together to form the United Negro College Fund, an organization that remains a seminal force in higher education.

Prior to the Civil Rights Movement, African American college graduates faced a limited job market based on the wider society’s perceptions of the kinds of career paths they ‘could’ or ‘could not’ excel in. After the Civil Rights Movement, new career opportunities opened up for African Americans. HBCU’s adapted by adding new course offerings and majors to prepare these young people for more and more career options.

Today, HBCU’s are stronger than ever. Although HBCU’s represent only three percent of all U.S. higher education institutions, 8.5 percent of African American undergraduates attended these institutions in 2012. And in terms of preparing young African American engineers, the HBCU network is, once again, taking a leadership role. On an average year, HBCU’s award 17 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in engineering to African Americans. So it should be no surprise that, of NACME’s 51 Partner Institutions, six are HBCU’s. We are happy to have Florida A&M University, Jackson State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Tuskegee University, Prairie View A&M University, and Morgan State University as part of our NACME family.

And the best is yet to come. There is much to look forward to as the HBCU network writes the next chapter in its illustrious history.

In order to implement the NACME STEM Integration Model Linkage Strategy (NSIM), a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was established to solidify the roles and responsibilities of the Academies of Engineering (AOEs), Partner Institutions and NACME. NACME’s role is to formally introduce the AOEs to our partner institutions. The primary benefit of the MOU for the AOEs is that it positions the AOE graduating seniors to become NACME Scholars after meeting the eligibility requirements for the $2,500 NACME Pre-Engineering Scholarship.

As for our corporate partners, NACME offers them a seat on the AOE Advisory Board and they, in turn, gain access to the AOE classrooms, offer shadowing experiences for students and teachers, and provide internship and full-time positions to NACME Scholars enrolled at a NACME Partner Institution.

The NACME Pre-Engineering Scholarship Program recognizes the nation’s highest achieving African American, American Indian, and Latino high school seniors who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership skills, and a commitment to science and engineering as a career goal. Each NACME Pre-Engineering Scholarship winner receives a $2,500 award to be used toward the cost of attendance at a university.