We spoke with the
former Temple NSBE President on his new role putting on the Regional Leadership Conference this fall, and how NSBE has changed his college career trajectory for the best.
Hi Corey! First off, we’d like to know, where are you from, what’s your major, and what year are you?
My name is Corey Bennett and I am from Somerset, NJ. I am currently a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering and will be graduating in December 2020.
Being Chapter President of Temple NSBE [was] one of the best experiences of my life. Prior to being President, I served as the Fundraising chair during my sophomore year, and Treasurer during my Junior year. If you would have asked me freshman year, where do you see yourself four years from now? I would have never imagined myself serving in these leadership positions. Coming into college, I was an introvert and rarely spoke to others. As a result, I found myself struggling in a majority of my classes. I didn’t have anyone to turn to in my classes that looked like me. Therefore, my first semester grades weren’t too great. Once several members introduced me to the Temple NSBE chapter, my passion for Engineering grew. During my second semester, I was very involved with the chapter. One of my main goals was to attend every NSBE event, from the general body meetings to the conferences. Fast forward a few years, as chapter president, I wanted to motivate those following in my footsteps to continue education in STEM. Throughout the term, I had the opportunity to interact with the membership and offer them guidance as they navigate through college. The year was such an enlightening one, because I was able to make a huge impact on everyone that I encountered.
The biggest adjustment would be the responsibility. As a member of a chapter executive board, you’ll be accountable for ensuring that your respective chapter is running smoothly. As a member of the Regional Executive Board, you are responsible for making sure that each chapter within the region is functioning. Additionally, as a regional board member you’ll be in charge of various regional year long programming. For the RLC chair, I am leading the Regional Leadership Initiative (RLI) and Shadow Initiative. RLI is a year long leadership development curriculum for CEB/REB members. For the Shadow Initiative, I am responsible for preparing those individuals looking to serve on the REB for the 21-22 term. I have been coordinating the various activities that the shadowers will partake in for a seamless transition to the REB. Lastly, I serve as the Chair for the Regional Leadership Conference and Vice Chair for the Fall Regional Conference. So, I am usually pretty occupied with conference planning. With that being said, the regional executive will definitely be a heavier workload. However, if you are looking to enhance your skills and are passionate, the work will be rewarding. I have enjoyed every moment from being on the REB and have learned a lot about myself.
The main highlight was seeing everything come to fruition. The Regional executive board had worked extremely hard to bring the first ever virtual conference to the region. The conference started off as an idea on paper, which later translated into hours of planning. The hours of planning led to various agenda walkthroughs to ensure that the conference would be an everlasting memory for the membership. Throughout the planning process, I really enjoyed becoming closer with my regional board members. We often spent a lot of time brainstorming different ideas and getting to know one another. We definitely ran into some loopholes and difficulties, but we remained one unit and destined to achieve a great conference. During the day of the conference, I was overjoyed about how everything came together. We had roughly 250 people in attendance, which was a 64% increase in attendance from the previous year. Throughout the day, we have various leadership and professional development workshops to prepare the chapter leaders for the upcoming term. I had the opportunity to interact with an abundance of bright leaders who planned to propel their chapters and region to heights never seen before. Following the conference, many members expressed that the conference was pivotal for them in getting off to a great start. Hearing everyone’s feedback was also a highlight because it reminded me of the main reason why I am a part of NSBE- to encourage black engineers to break down barriers and to continue education in STEM.
To always have a back up plan to your plan A. Your plan A may seem solidified, but you never know what will happen. It is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Keep this in mind, when you are applying for employment, moving, or any other decision that you make in life. For example, as RLC chair, I had to create backup zoom links for the actual links that were being utilized. If a zoom link was to go down, the backup link would be easily accessible. Although this is such a small example, this can relate to everyday life and how you have to be prepared for every curveball thrown your way. Additionally, I would say to stay flexible in whatever you do. Through these uncertain times, it is very important to adapt to an altered situation or circumstance.
NSBE has been a highlight of my college experience. Whenever I think of college, one of the first things that comes to mind is NSBE. Academics has helped me acquire the technical knowledge in the classroom, but that only goes so far. Being a part of NSBE has contributed to my growth as a leader. Additionally, the organization has been a catalyst for improving my interpersonal and communication skills, and developing me into a holistic engineer. I look to carry these skills into the workforce. I cannot thank NSBE enough for providing me with the resources and the foundation to grow. One advice that I have for those in college is to get involved! Yes, academics is the main priority while in college. However, academics alone won't always get you in the door for a company. It is about what you do beyond the classroom, for example, leadership experience, internships, independent projects, etc. Lastly, NSBE is a great network. I cannot empathize this enough. At the chapters general body meetings, you’ll be surrounded by 30+ black engineers with different skill sets and passions. Keep in touch with them, you never know where your paths will cross in the future. At the NSBE Annual convention, you’ll be able to meet thousands of other collegiate engineers, professionals, and employers. Network, Network, Network!!
I love traveling. I’ve been to many places, such as Europe,Greece, Fiji, Jamaica, etc. One place that I’ve always wanted to travel to is Dubai. Hopefully, once the Coronavirus settles down I will be able to continue traveling. Also, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I am always up for a great time!
Upon graduation in December, I will be a Mechanical Engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) in Indian Head, MD. Additionally, I plan to be a part of a local NSBE professional chapter.