We interviewed the Vice-President of the NSBE chapter at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown about how her small chapter is looking to make a big splash in the NSBE world.

Well to formerly introduce myself, my name is Alexis James. I often go by Lex. I was born and raised in the city of Philadelphia. I Jamaican as well with both of my parents being born and raised in Jamaica. I am currently a senior at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and majoring in Chemical Engineering.

What drew me to NSBE was my search in being apart of a community that I can resonate with. Being apart of the organization has impacted my college experience by opening my eyes to the many resources and connections that I can gain by simply being a NSBE member.

Though there is very low representation of black women in engineering it never impacted how I see myself in the discipline in a negative way. Regardless of what is shown from what is not, I still make it my responsibility to represent despite what the outlook may be.

We are a new chapter here at Pitt-Johnstown and quite small in size. Despite the numbers, we were able to host our first event this year, collaborating with other chapters who were willing to help bring the event to life. That was a huge accomplishment for us. Overall, we would like for our chapter to increase in size and collectively become more involved within the NSBE community.

In dealing with the effects of the pandemic it has simply taught me how to adapt and not to fear. As well as not to be afraid of putting myself in vulnerable positions that can allow me to grow. It has helped me to keep a level head and not stress about the things I cannot control. So, I continue to attack my tasks head strong and stay committed to my destination.

The NSBE Meet and Greet was our successful attempt in creating a virtual meet and greet. It was a two-part event where we also hosted a game show known as Smart, Funny, and Black that was coordinated by the Howard NSBE chapter. The purpose of the event was to create a family-oriented environment for those within the NSBE community to connect and build relationships in a comfortable setting. Throughout the process I learned it was key to be very clear, open, and organized. This allowed for there to be direction in what would like to accomplish. While at the same time forming an atmosphere was centered around transparency and creativity.

A few years out of college I see myself working as a Process Safety Engineer. Where I can ensure the safety among my colleagues and community.

Unfortunately, I am not a huge music person.

Black women in particular have traditionally had exceptionally low representation in engineering. Does this impact how you see yourself in the discipline, and if so, what more would you like to see done in Engineering & STEM fields to reach out to black girls?

What drew you to NSBE? How has being a part of the organization impacted your college experience?

Tell us a little more about your chapter at Pitt-Johnstown. In what ways would your chapter like to grow this year?

Hi Alexis! First, tell us a little more about you! Where are you from, what’s your year/major, and what drew you to engineering?

Have you handled the challenges presented by the pandemic in how you work toward your goals, both personally and in NSBE?

Earlier this fall, you spearheaded a very ambitious event across our NSBE Region 2. Tell us more about the Meet and Greet event. What was it, and what did you learn in the process of putting it together?

Where do you see yourself a few years out of college?

And lastly, tell us, what have you had bumping in those headphones this semester?

Thank you so much for your time, Alexis!

Alexis james

Big fish in johnstown