NSBE leads march, helps promote education

April 30, 2009

by Donyelle Davis

Tech’s National Society of Black Engineers held its fourth annual “Walk for Education” April 25 in New Orleans.

The “Walk for Education” is an outreach program that educates families about the benefits of higher education.

Corwin Washington, membership chair of NSBE and a senior environmental science major, said the purpose of the program is to work against negative educational trends that are prominent in the minority societies.

“We want to increase the number of minorities who apply for and enroll in college,” Washington said. “We also want to focus on the importance of engineering and science majors.”

Washington said volunteers went door to door in predominately black neighborhoods to educate residents.

“We distributed information about college admissions in the area, vocational schools, GED, SAT and ACT,” he said. “We also passed out information regarding financial aid.”

Washington also said he believes people are more likely to be encouraged to attend schools by people within their demographic.

“When there is someone you can relate to encouraging you, it makes a difference,” Washington said. “It is inspiring and makes a person think, ‘Hey, if they can do it, so can I.”

Shanay Jackson, president of NSBE and a senior biology major, said the organization strives toward uplifting the community through promoting academic successes.

“We want people to know that there are options for their future,” Jackson said. “It is all about giving back to the community.”

She said the members targeted young adults ages 13-18.

“We wanted to instill the idea of higher education to the junior high students early on,” she said. “We believe if we spark their interest early on, the chances of them actually aspiring to go to college will be greater.”

Jackson said the event had about 150 volunteers regionally, who participated this year.

“A few Tech students from our region participated,” Jackson said. “It was a good experience.”

She also said the event was highly anticipated because of the success of last year’s walk.

“This year there was a corporate sponsor for the event,” Jackson said. “So there was a lot to do in order to attract volunteers.”

Timothy Garner, a junior medical technology major, said he participated in the event because he was one of the few people in his family to attend college and wanted to encourage other young adults to do so.

“I wouldn’t be here if it [weren’t] for the people who encouraged me,” Garner said. “So I really wanted to pay that inspiration forward.”