Black Excellence in Engineering and Computer Science

NSBE Chapter 6 National ConferenceAlumnus Josh Williams '18 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument in Washington, DC.
begin quoteThe function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of Black History Month, we talked to three successful engineering alumni and asked them to share their thoughts on the importance of supporting Black engineering and computer science students and highlighting their accomplishments during this month-long celebration and beyond. We also reached out to students of color within the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering to share their thoughts on the value of building community at USD. Below are their responses.

Alumni Spotlights

Devyn Bryant ‘18  (ME)
Engineer II, SDG&E

“Critical thinking and problem-solving skills (i.e., engineering skills) are great equalizers across many boundaries and can uplift, encourage and invigorate a group of people. It is no secret that engineering can be a difficult career path to pursue. Therefore, I believe it is important to highlight Black engineers to encourage the next generation to pursue and achieve even more than the ones who came before them." 

Maaron Tesfaye ‘19 (ME)
Design Engineer, SeaSpine

“I believe it is incredibly important to support Black engineering students because it paves the way for true and significant growth in the field of STEM. Innovation is derived from thinking outside the box, and the only way for that to happen is to truly diversify those creating and making decisions in the field. To be honest, I think it is important to highlight Black engineers every month, but to be given this spotlight helps center the focus on our successes and contributions which helps propel us forward in a field that we have not historically been represented in.”  

Joshua Williams ‘16 (ME)
District Engineer, SDG&E

“Black Excellence is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of Black History Month. This is a time to honor and commemorate those who came before us, shine a light on the hidden figures and unsung heroes of today, and empower the next generation of brilliant, beautiful, and creative Black people. Black engineers and innovators have played a key role in many modern-day advancements. It’s important to support and celebrate the past, present, and future Black engineers for they just might change the world.” 

Student Spotlights

Arrion Archie ‘21 (IntE)

“The community at USD was extremely valuable to me and my personal development. Organizations such as NSBE and resources like student tutors along with the Career Development Center contributed significantly to my professional development and academic success.”

Taylor Brown ‘23 (ISyE)

“Having a community that supports you is necessary in almost all aspects of life. We can’t do anything completely alone. Without my community at USD, earning my engineering degree would be a lot tougher and not as fun. With it, I enjoy friendships, campus involvement,and personal growth.”

Devin Devlin ‘21 (EE, Minor in Math) 

“NSBE gave me the opportunity to be surrounded by people that look like me — a place I didn’t feel alone, a place where I belonged. You are able to make friends in an environment where people go through the same thing as you. Join the NSBE organization — it sets you apart. Through my NSBE leadership roles, I have not only built my communications and preparation skills, I am now in a position to give back to my community. With NSBE's mission to graduate 10,000 by 2025 annually, I want to do as much as I can to support that goal.”

Gabriel Goins ‘23 (IntE)  

“As an African American aspiring engineer, it has been an increasingly challenging ride. I initially struggled to find community within the engineering department, however finding a welcoming environment was just as easy as getting involved in cultural and student support organizations like NSBE and SSS. Having spaces like these are essential not only because they foster a welcoming environment for POC but they also impact students’ success in areas such as networking, teamwork, academia, and building professionalism to market in prospective job opportunities. It is also reassuring and motivating to surround myself with other driven engineers and students across other multidisciplinary studies who experience similar struggles and racial tensions. My college experience has been enriched with the help of my NSBE community and various faculty. Because of them I know I belong, I can be successful and I will strive to do better for myself and help contribute to the cause.”

Kaia Morrison ‘23 (CS)  

“The community I have found through students, mentors, faculty, and especially NSBE has been unimaginably helpful throughout my years at USD. It's not always easy to feel like you belong when you often find yourself to be the "odd one out" in various situations. Nevertheless, I can say that my community on and off campus is one of my biggest motivators to continue my journey as a Black engineer.”

Faith Osei-Tutu ‘23 (ISyE)

“As a Black student at a predominantly white Institution I do not see very much representation of myself. Especially as a Black woman in engineering. Despite this adversity, NSBE, BSU and SSS have provided me a place where I can be surrounded by people who look like me and have similar aspirations as I do. These communities at USD are a strong support system in guiding me to be successful at achieving my academic endeavors.”

Lauren Washington ‘21 (ISyE)

“The value of community means a lot to me because if it weren't for the NSBE community and the USD engineering community I don't think I would have been able to navigate through my classes and grow personally and professionally. I'm grateful for all of the amazing ISYE and Integrated Engineering teachers who have inspired and supported me ! They continuously challenge me to grow professionally while helping me mold and develop personally. NSBE was the first community that I found my freshman year before I declared engineering and their encouragement and community motivates me to flourish and try new academic and professional avenues. They foster a collaborative and supportive environment where we are able to see one another succeed academically, professionally and personally.”

Rhonda Harley 
NSBE USD Chapter Advisor 

“The value and power of community is something I am fortunate enough to see often as the advisor for the USD chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). As a Black woman pursuing a PhD herself, I am consistently inspired by their tenacity, dedication, and commitment to advancing not only their own academic and professional pursuits but also uplifting and empowering each other to do the same. Black excellence is CERTAINLY undeniable within the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering and I am honored to be a part of it.

We invite you to visit our home page and social media channels for related news, events and acknowledgements as we honor the rich cultural heritage and contributions of Black engineers and computer scientists in the United States.