Last month, BL Harbert once again had the opportunity to partner with SEEK (Summer Engineering Experience for Kids).
SEEK is the nation’s largest summer engineering program geared toward African-American and other underrepresented elementary school students. Now in its fifth year in the Magic City, the program is put on annually by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
Over the course of the three-week program, nearly 150 third- through fifth-graders participated in the free program where they strengthened their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills through hands-on engineering projects, making presentations, and head-to-head weekly design competitions.
Every week the students were guided by mentor-instructors, most of whom are undergraduate members of SEEK themselves. And at the end of every week, BL Harbert employees were on-site for “Competition Friday,” a day where students presented their engineering projects and showcased what they learned that week, to judge the competition.
“‘The NSBE SEEK’ program is an excellent program exposing children to engineering and construction. The majority of the children are inner city and surprisingly, this program is usually their first exposure to engineering,” explained BL Harbert International’s Milton Davis. “They leave the program excited and encouraged that they can work hard and obtain a degree in a field that can transform their lives. You have to see the excitement in their eyes to really grasp the impact.”
Davis continued, “I have to give a ‘shout-out’ to our CEO, Billy Harbert. Several years ago, he sent me an e-mail asking about this program he read about in Engineering News-Record. I provided an overview, and he said let’s do it! Thank you Billy! There is a tremendous workforce deficit throughout the country and reaching our young people at such an early age is a game changer.”
And that’s precisely the goal of the camp: to spark an interest in science and technology with kids of color at an early age in order to help graduate 10,000 new engineers annually by 2025.
“The U.S. has made significant movement toward NSBE’s goal of 10,000 black engineers graduating annually by 2025, and SEEK is one reason why,” added NSBE National Chair Matthew C. Nelson. “Reaching African-American kids and their communities with programs like SEEK, that expose them to the promise and challenge of engineering, is critical to realizing our vision of a more diverse engineering workforce.”