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Committed to providing all students with opportunities in engineering and related fields, Lafayette’s Minority Scientists and Engineers (MSE) organization is making great strides in giving its members access to professional events and training.

“MSE is dedicated to the development of intense programs for the increase of African American and underrepresented minorities in the fields of engineering, engineering technology, applied mathematics, physical sciences, and computer science,” explains club president Therese Karitanyi ’07(New York, N.Y.), who is pursuing a B.S. chemical engineering and A.B. with a major in international studies. “The organization strives to support and encourage excellence for its members and provides a forum for discussion and networking among students, faculty, and professionals.”

MSE serves as Lafayette’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and soon will become a chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. All MSE events are open to the entire campus community.

In addition to Karitanyi, members of MSE’s executive board include secretary Tito Anyanwu ’07 (Brooklyn, N.Y.), a mechanical engineering major; treasurer Nii Adjei ’08 (Tema, Ghana), a chemical engineering major; National Society of Black Engineers chair Steve Music ’07 (San Jose, Costa Rica), a mechanical engineering major; Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers chair Veronica Escobar ’08(La Paz, Bolivia), a civil engineering major; and events coordinator Priyanka Nair ’08(Kerala, India), a biology major.

“Even though the organization is called Minority Scientists and Engineers, just about all the events we sponsor are open to everyone,” says Karitanyi. “I would encourage first-year students particularly to take advantage of some of these opportunities because now is the time to learn from others’ experiences, successes, and mistakes.”

Among the events MSE has sponsored are a tutoring service for first-year students enrolled in engineering and science courses, brownbag discussion in which engineering faculty and students shared their thoughts and experiences, and a trip to the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers’ 30th annual National Technical & Career Conference in Denver, Colo.

The club most recently attended the 33rd annual National Society of Black Engineers National Convention held March 28-April 1 in Columbus, Ohio. Nearly 10,000 participants traveled to the conference to take part in workshops, forums, and roundtable discussions.

Lafayette students who accompanied the executive board to the conference include George Armah ’08(Accra, Ghana), who is pursuing a B.S. mathematics and A.B. with a major in computer science; Tahsin Hashem ’07 (Dhaka, Bangladesh), an electrical and computer engineering major; Mosi London ’10 (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Taha Jiwaji ’08(Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania), who is pursuing a B.S. electrical and computer engineering and A.B. with a major in economics and business; Marciano Palha De Sousa ’07 (Harare, Zimbabwe), an electrical and computer engineering major; Mateen Poonawala ’07(Karachi, Pakistan), who is pursuing a B.S. mechanical engineering and A.B. with a major in mathematics-economics; Shrijan Rajkarnikar ’08 (Kathmandu, Nepal), an electrical and computer engineering major; Sheena Seopaul ’10 (Lanham, Md.); and Minza Zahid ’08 (Karachi, Pakistan), who is pursuing a B.S. mechanical engineering and A.B. with a major in economics and business.

Anyanwu believes attending the conference yearly can benefit students in ways they may not expect.

“This is my third time attending the conference, and the experience was just as unique as the first time,” he says. “The career fair, workshops, and networking events were very meaningful, inspiring, and useful in meeting people with similar career objectives. The feeling was remarkable; it gave me a bigger scope and appreciation of my future career as an engineer. Simply put, it feels good to mingle and network with other passionate individuals who are doing what you are doing.”

For London, attending the conference as a first-year student provided an eye-opening perspective on how to prepare for a future career as an undergraduate.

“As a freshman studying to become a civil engineer, I found the conference to be a very enlightening experience,” says London. “I was able to learn and interact with people who are the best their fields, from information technology to aeronautics. I received very helpful advice on how I should approach my academic career as well as what I should be thinking about for the future. I would recommend attending upcoming conferences for anyone who is truly interested in getting a wider view of what awaits them in the workforce as engineers.”

Music believes MSE’s presence on campus offers students important guidance on how to pursue careers in engineering and the sciences, often in a more comfortable informal setting.

“It is essential to have a group like MSE on campus to help those individuals who for some reason or another are at a disadvantage,” he says. “MSE offers invaluable advice and opportunities to guide minorities throughout their college careers.”

“MSE serves as an important support group for minority engineers on campus, along with providing the organizational base to help with trips like [the conference],” adds Armah. “Without MSE, this trip would not have been possible.”

Categorized in: Academic News