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WVU chapter of National Society of Black Engineers celebrates 40 years

A group of students standing in front of a backdrop holding a West Virginia University banner that says "Let's Go"

WVU NSBE members attended the 49th annual NSBE national conference in Kansas City, MO in March 2023 (photo supplied).

The National Society of Black Engineers chapter of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University is observing its 40-year anniversary this month, an important milestone in the chapter’s history.

Story by Kaley LaQuea, Communications Specialist
Photos supplied


Since April 1984, the NSBE chapter has been a special place for Black engineering students to foster connection and find belonging.

“Academic success and retention is one of the hallmarks of NSBE,” professor emeritus and founding NSBE advisor John Zondlo said. He described how inaugural NSBE students formed study groups and met regularly before exams to compare notes and help one another excel. “So academically there was a lot of support, but I think emotionally and physically they just needed a place where they could go and feel like they could kick off their shoes and be comfortable with each other.”

NSBE president Paul Boddy has been involved with the organization since his freshman year. Boddy, who grew up in Charleston, says that NSBE is an important part of helping Black engineers find their footing at WVU.

“That's the kind of environment I'm used to, but not every student that goes to WVU is necessarily used to it, so it's a big change for some students when they go into a class and then they are the only black person that they see,” Boddy said. “NSBE is that community, that base for a lot of people to get comfortable and have some people who have similar backgrounds or experiences to get advice from.”

Now in his first year as president, Boddy and NSBE members are engaging the chapter’s alumni networks to expand the chapter’s reach and provide meaningful professional support to its members. The chapter has connected with more than 100 alumni in preparation for the event.

Twelve WVU NSBE members traveled to last year’s national conference in Kansas City, MO to network with engineers in a variety of fields. Boddy found his first mentor through a NSBE regional conference and stressed the importance of ensuring that students have opportunities to connect with peers and professionals alike.

The 40th anniversary events will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 12-13. Current and former members will tour the Evansdale campus Friday and get a look at the updated facilities in the Lane Innovation Hub. On Saturday, Statler College alumni Nick Shelton, Faye Coleman and Michael Brown will speak at the event panel. Coleman, co-founder and CEO of Pure Genesis, earned her bachelor's degree in 1987 in industrial engineering.

Brown, who earned his undergraduate degree in electrical and computing engineering from the Statler College in 1991, is the director of turbine solutions for St. Louis-based industrial manufacturer Emerson. Shelton currently serves as systems engineering manager for JMP software and earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical and computing engineering.



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Phone: 304-293-4135