The University of Texas at Austin's chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers was recently named "National Large Chapter of the Year" by its parent organization, a first-time honor for the 60-member student group.
"It feels great," says chapter chair Justin Iglehart, an electrical engineering senior in the Cockrell School of Engineering. "It's always great to receive a national award."
He says the chapter, which was formed in 1976, has always been strong in professional development and academic achievement, two of the three areas judged in the competition. This academic year the chapter revved up its community-service efforts as well. The members tutored at-risk students in mathematics at East Austin's Johnston High School on a weekly basis.
"We really upped it this year," says Iglehart, whose group previously mentored on a monthly basis. "We wanted to have more of an impact and to be more consistent."
The National Society of Black Engineers is one of the largest student-managed organizations in the country with more than 24,000 members. It has more than 270 chapters on college and university campuses, 75 alumni extension chapters and 75 pre-college chapters divided into six regions.
In 1994, the chapter won the "Distinguished Chapter of the Year" honor from the national society.
Iglehart says he expects the group to receive about $800 from its parent organization for earning the distinction. And he expects the award to pay other dividends, as well.
"I hope this honor keeps our momentum going," Iglehart says. "We've had a really strong participation from our freshman class. It's good to see that same passion. It would be great to build upon what we have."