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Clarkson Chapter Of National Society Of Black Engineers Wins Regional Awards

Two students and a student team from Clarkson University’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) received top awards this year at NSBE’s Region One Fall Conference held recently in Boston.

Clarkson juniors Dionne Dixon (Deer Park, N.Y.) and Onyinyechi Ibeneche (Lagos, Nigeria) received a first-place and third-place award, respectively, in the Undergraduate Students in Technical Research competition.

Dixon, a mechanical and aeronautical engineering major, presented research she conducted this past summer under the direction of Mechanical Engineering Professor Kathleen Issen titled “Mechanical Properties of Cymat Aluminum Foam.”  As the first-place winner, she will compete at NSBE’s 2004 National Conference next March in Dallas. Last spring, Dixon was recognized nationally by NSBE as a winner of the General Electric (GE) African American Forum Scholarship. The $4,000 award is given to undergraduates majoring in one of the programs offered by a school of business or engineering. GE employees fund this scholarship and the GE Foundation generously provides matching contributions.

Onyinyechi Ibeneche, an electrical and computer engineering major, presented research she completed as part of the Clarkson Honors Program. Her research, “Implementation of a DPOAE Measurement Device to Test for the Functionality of the Ear in Newborns,” was conducted under the direction of Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Alereza Ziarani.

The NSBE at Clarkson Step Team took home third-place honors in a step team competition. Step teams create entertaining synchronized dance routines using foot stomping, hand clapping, and chanting to pump up the chapter, zone and regional participants.  Using short sticks and wooden stools, the Clarkson team rhythmically presented NSBE history and information about Clarkson and academic achievement.

Eighteen students from Clarkson attended the Region One Conference that included some 60 chapters from colleges and universities throughout New England, New Jersey, New York, and Canada.

Over the last 10 years, the Clarkson NSBE chapter has been honored with numerous regional and national awards, including Region One’s Small Chapter of the Year Award in 1997 and 2001, and National Small Chapter of the Year. In 2001, the Clarkson chapter was named Region One’s Distinguished Chapter of the Year, the first time a small chapter received this distinction. Small chapters are defined as consisting of 35 members or less; Clarkson’s chapter has 30 members.

LaDawn H. Berko-Boateng, who received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1992, was a founding member of the Clarkson Chapter of NSBE in 1990. Berko-Boateng is now a Clarkson University Trustee.

The Clarkson chapter is extremely active on campus, organizing study-a-thons and professional development workshops; sponsoring cultural awareness activities; hosting speakers and corporate receptions to initiate professional networking; and participating in community fundraisers. The chapter also partners with the University chapters of the American Indian Science & Engineering Society, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Society of Professional Women, and the Society of Women Engineers on programs of mutual interest, including the National Engineers Week Design Competition.

NSBE at Clarkson is part of the University’s Pipeline Programs and Academic Success (PPAS), which provides academic, cultural and social support for underrepresented students in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. By integrating efforts at the pre-collegiate, undergraduate, and graduate levels, it assists African American, Hispanic, and Native American students, as well as some economically disadvantaged or first-generation college students. Using a series of programs, pathways and partnerships, Pipeline connects a variety of institutional resources.

NSBE comprises more than 300 chapters on college and university campuses and is divided into six regions. To meet NSBE’s objectives of developing student interest in technical and scientific disciplines, the national organization sponsors high school and junior high school outreach programs, a national communications network, conferences and career fairs, and supports the efforts of local chapters.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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