Three Iowa State engineering student organizations joined together in support of a single mission: to support the 50K Coalition, a new national effort “to produce 50,000 diverse engineering graduates annually by 2025.”
Iowa State’s chapters of National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers-Latinos in Science and Engineering (MAES) and the Society of Women Engineers worked together cofound the “Engineering the Way” a 4K fundraising walk/run held on April 14.
Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen gave remarks at the beginning of the event, commending NSBE, SHPE-MAES and SWE on their collaborative efforts.
“This event has really just shown that we can come together and make one event, as opposed to all of us doing our own,” Megan Peters, president of ISU SWE and senior in chemical engineering said. “There’s a lack of collaboration, and we can fix that.”
“Engineering the Way” charged $15 per person with all proceeds going toward the 50K Coalition. The event was set to occur on central campus but was moved to State Gym due to weather conditions.
“I feel like the event went well. We didn’t have as much participation as we could have, but the snowy, rainy weather was a big factor in that,” Peters said.
A Common Goal
When Tiara Turner, president of ISU NSBE and senior in industrial engineering, heard about the 50K Coalition, she thought right away that a group-hosted event would be beneficial to the common goal.
“I don’t feel that there’s enough partnership among student organizations on campus,” Turner said. “The coalition has allowed us to push each other forward in partnership, rather than competing.”
NSBE, SHPE-MAES and SWE are three of the four founding national organizations of the 50K Coalition. About 20 other organizations have since joined the mission, seven of which hold chapters at Iowa State, according to Peters.
“This has honestly been a super-team,” Turner said. “It’s one thing to have an idea, but collaborating has allowed us to see it coming to fruition.”
NSBE, SHPE-MAES and SWE are now putting together a group to discuss steps to make Iowa State a nationally recognized part of the 50K Coalition, which could bring unity to the organizations and attract more attention from students and corporations to Iowa State, according to Turner.
All three of these organizations also hold goals in professional development and community outreach, which coincide with the mission of the 50K Coalition.
“There hasn’t really been anything like that before,” said SHPE-MAES president, Ashley Treviño, senior in mechanical engineering. “There’s always a push for women in STEM or minorities in STEM, but there’s never been an actual national mission to combine those.”
A Single Mission
SHPE-MAES is a hybrid of two organizations, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and Latinos in Science and Engineering and abides by both of their organizations’ missions.
SHPE seeks to “change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development,” and MAES’s mission is “to promote, cultivate and honor excellence in education and leadership among Latino engineers and scientists.”
The NSBE mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.”
SWE’s mission is to “stimulate women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life and demonstrate the value of diversity.”
Considering the commonalities in the missions of each organization, the groups collaborated toward their common goal of expanding the diversity of graduating engineering students.
“Especially nowadays, understanding different cultures and communities and inspiring people who are diverse or different from you is so important,” Peters said. “They deserve as much of an opportunity for education as anyone.”
Other outreach efforts conducted by the organizations include STEM camps, SHPE-MAES’s ISU for You Promise, Noche de Ciencias (Science Night) and Mayas Extravaganza, SWE University and NSBE’s Walk for Education and Engineering the Future.
“You want to plant the seed in younger generations. The work that the 50K Coalition is doing at the middle school and elementary level is going to be really integral and touches back on the community impact of our mission,” Turner said.
Click for more information about the 50K Coalition, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Latinos in Science and Engineering or the Society of Women Engineers.