posted on 12.24.2021
NACME Press Releases AMID BHM, NACME CALLS ON CORPORATIONS TO CELEBRATE THE PAST BY INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
(ALEXANDRIA, VA. February 19, 2021) – The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME), the leading nonprofit organization supporting under-represented minorities pursuing undergraduate degrees in engineering and computer science, is urging corporations to celebrate Black History Month by investing in the next generation of changemakers.
“As the U.S. strives to lead in the technology enterprise, it must be aggressive about cultivating the fullness of the nation’s domestic talent. African-Americans, as well as Hispanic and Native Americans, remain underrepresented in fields identified as critical to U.S. competitiveness, specifically engineering and computer science,” said Michele Lezama, president and CEO of NACME. “As we celebrate Black History Month, we recognize modern trailblazers like James E. West, the co-inventor of the modern electronic microphone, Mark Dean, co-inventor of the IBM personal computer, and NACME’s Carmen Sidbury, the first African-American female to obtain a PhD in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. It’s time for corporate America to reinvest and do its part to ensure that all underserved Americans have the opportunities and resources needed to contribute to the forward success of this country and make their mark on history.”
Opportunities remain hindered for students today to gain financial support and industry experience as employers opt to rescind offers due to safety and budget concerns. According to a January 2021 article by Chemical & Engineering News, Robin Wright, the National Science Foundation’s director of the Division of Undergraduate Education, is concerned that STEM students struggling to find support could be more likely to abandon the major as a result of the challenges caused by the pandemic. As the article states, this could cause STEM enrollment to become “even less inclusive and diverse than it already is,” as said by Wright.
To help sustain momentum to bridge the STEM gap, NACME encourages corporations to identify avenues to continue this crucial support and can work with partners to implement safe and effective alternatives to in-person internships. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2019 Internship & Co-Op Survey Report, employers identify internship experience as a differentiator when choosing between two equally qualified applicants, and graduates with internship experience earn more on average. Additionally, experiential opportunities like internships are essential for supporting academic achievement once students return to classrooms and transfer knowledge gained in the workplace.
The program also serves as a pipeline for corporate partners to recruit diverse talent, as a recent survey of NACME scholars revealed that majority of students would consider full time employment if an offer was made following their internship experience. This is evident in ExxonMobil’s investment in Dr. Shawn Emerson Simmons as a NACME ExxonMobil Corporate Scholar in the early 1990’s, which helped place her on a trajectory that led to an impressive career of 20 years and counting with the company. Now the Environmental & Regulatory Manager for the ExxonMobil Sakhalin business unit, Dr. Simmons has led environmental permitting efforts for multi-billion-dollar projects and supervised global teams across Africa, Asia Pacific, Australia and Europe throughout her career. She is also proud to serve as the global Vice-President of ExxonMobil’s employee resource group, Black Employees Success Team (BEST).
Beyond her corporate success, Dr. Simmons has received numerous accolades highlighting her advocacy for STEM education, volunteer service and leadership, such as the "Tomorrow’s Leader Today" Award, the YMCA Young African-American Achiever Award and recognition as one of the “30 Leaders of the Future” by Ebony magazine.
“I am so appreciative of organizations like NACME who consistently work to keep the pipeline of academically trained and career-ready under-represented minorities in STEM going. Not only did I receive the financial support needed to complete my engineering degree, I also had the opportunity to build my network and cultivate career coaches and mentors along the way,” said Dr. Simmons. “The partnership ExxonMobil has had with NACME over the years is a visible, tangible demonstration that diversity, equity, and inclusion are valued.”
ExxonMobil joins 24 other companies including IBM, Microsoft and AT&T as NACME board member companies dedicated to furthering NACME’s mission, which includes participation in the Named Corporate Scholarship Program. Corporations looking to join the efforts to identify solutions to the diversity challenges in STEM fields can visit www.nacme.org or reach out to Christopher Greaves, Director, Corporate Initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc.
The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc., NACME, founded in 1974, helps to ensure American competitiveness by leading and supporting the national effort to expand U.S. capability through increasing the number of successful historically under-represented individuals who pursue careers in computer science and engineering. NACME arguably enables the largest amount of college scholarships for underrepresented minorities pursuing degrees in schools of engineering. NACME is strategically driven by a board of directors of C-Suite executives representing leading corporations who champion diversity. Our mission is to enrich society with an American workforce that champions diversity in technical fields by increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in engineering and computer science.
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