NC State chapter of National Society of Black Engineers wins Chapter of the Year awards

The NC State NSBE chapter pose after winning two awards. Jenni Mangala, center left, and Bryan Washington, center right, hold the awards.
The NC State NSBE chapter pose after winning two awards. Jenni Mangala ’24, center left, and Bryan Wilson ’24, center right, hold the awards.

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter at NC State University won two chapter awards this year at the 50th annual NSBE Convention held March 20-24 in Atlanta. Forty-seven NC State students attended, the highest number ever for the chapter.

NSBE divides its chapters into six regions. NC State’s NSBE chapter is in region II, and it earned the Medium Chapter of the Year and overall Chapter of the Year awards in the region.

“Our chapter has put in a lot of effort this year,” said Sarah Musa, telecommunications chair for NC State’s NSBE chapter. Musa is a junior majoring in computer science, and she will be president of the chapter next year.

Jenni Mangala, Park Scholar in the Class of 2024 and a senior electrical engineering major and current chapter president, said the chapter has grown a lot since she joined in 2020.The inability to meet in person affected engagement and attendance. When she came to campus in 2021, she and other NSBE members started reaching out to their friends about joining.

Bryan Wilson, Park Scholar in the Class of 2024 and a senior computer and electrical engineering major, was one of the people they reached. He is the current vice-president of the chapter.

Mangala and Wilson joined the chapter’s executive board their junior years, and the team continued to build on previous leadership’s efforts to balance company-based meetings — where companies come visit for networking opportunities for jobs and internships — with community-based meetings.

“We all are engineers and we all are working a lot, and so being able to be in our community and just have fun specifically with other Black engineers was very important to us,” Wilson said.

The team also implemented a service requirement for students to travel to regional and national conferences. The chapter organized events with local schools and K-12 groups.

“Building off of that community engagement inspired people to be really active in service, and then it was just this positive feedback loop where more people are coming to meetings,” Mangala said.

Hannah Frowner, a first-year chemical engineering student, won the Region II Chapter Member of the Year award. She also ran for and won the position of comfort zone coordinator on the region II executive board. Frowner found motivation in the same sentiment that led NC State’s women’s and men’s basketball teams to Final Four runs: Why not us?

“The support of my whole NSBE chapter and members of the regional board was my main motivation to take the leap,” she said. “It was nerve-wracking to give a speech, but I am glad I won so I can support my NSBE chapter and other chapters in the area.”

The regional executive board works closely with the region’s chapters and with national leadership to strengthen community relationships, offer technical trainings and provide leadership opportunities.

Chancellor Randy Woodson was on the same return flight as members of the NC State NSBE chapter.
Chancellor Randy Woodson was on the same return flight as members of the NC State NSBE chapter.

Chapter members were thrilled with their recognition at the convention, and they even got to celebrate with Chancellor Randy Woodson when they happened to be on the same return flight to Raleigh.

Both Mangala and Wilson thanked the leaders who came before them for the foundation they’d built, which had previously led to a regional chapter of the year award in 2023. The work they’ve done to broaden NSBE’s reach is important for Black engineering students at NC State.

“Having a space where you get that encouragement, you get mutual support, but you can show up as yourself and you don’t have to put on this face and talk a certain way or act a certain way … it’s a sense of belonging and encouragement that you can’t really get from anywhere else,” Mangala said.

Wilson added that for him, it has been inspiring to see younger and older Black engineers together at NSBE conventions.

“I can never forget the impact that going to my first convention had when I went into this space of like, quite literally thousands of other Black engineers,” he said.

The 50th annual convention’s tagline was Nurturing CommUNITY, and it was held at the Georgia World Conference Center.

Students participated in workshops, networking events and the career fair. Some students secured interviews during the career fair, and others were offered internships.

NSBE has more than 600 pre-collegiate, collegiate and professional chapters with more than 24,000 active members. Its mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.”