NSBE’s Summer Engineering Experience for Kids Boosts Black Students’ STEM Proficiency

$2-Million NSF Grant Supports the Program’s Growth in 2018

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has announced the dates and locations of its 2018 Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) programs. SEEK is the nation’s largest summer engineering program geared toward African-American and other underrepresented elementary school students. The program, now entering its 12th year, reported significant gains in the engineering, math and science knowledge of the third through fifth graders who participated in the program in 2017.

SEEK is in the midst of a three-year expansion funded by a $2-million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to NSBE and its project partners, Purdue University and Virginia Tech. SEEK, a free, out-of-school-time program, will take place in June, July and August this year, at 16 sites in 14 cities across the U.S. NSBE will host a SEEK program in Minneapolis for the first time in 2018.

“The U.S. has made significant movement toward NSBE’s goal of 10,000 black engineers graduating annually by 2025, and SEEK is one reason why,” said NSBE National Chair Matthew C. Nelson. “Reaching African-American kids and their communities with programs like SEEK, that expose them to the promise and challenge of engineering, is critical to realizing our vision of a more diverse engineering workforce.”

SEEK participants engage in team-based, competitive engineering design activities and learn science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts, under the guidance of mentor-instructors, many of whom are collegiate members of NSBE. More than 20,000 students in grades 3–8, more than 25,000 parents and more than 3,000 mentor-instructors have participated in SEEK since its launch in Washington, D.C., in 2007. The engineering design activities for the children and teens are provided by SAE International (formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers) — NSBE’s curriculum partner in SEEK since 2007 — and by numerous other organizations. New curricula for the program this year include cybersecurity activities and aeronautical engineering challenges using drones. SEEK enjoys the support of a broad base of corporate, government and nonprofit partners.

The NSBE-Purdue-Virginia Tech project funded by NSF measures: the effectiveness of SEEK in improving the students’ STEM-related skills, attitudes and knowledge; the relationship of those qualities to the students’ academic motivation; and the effect of their learning context on the students’ STEM experiences and outcomes. NSBE Executive Director Karl W. Reid, Ed.D., is the principal investigator of the project, which is titled “Strengthening the STEM Pipeline for Elementary School African Americans, Hispanics, and Girls by Scaling Up Summer Engineering Experiences.”

Average scores on post-program tests were higher than on pre-program tests for participants in the 2017 SEEK, NSBE reported. Scores increased by 9.4 percent on the engineering test, 4.8 percent on the math test and 3.4 percent on the science test.

“NSBE is proud of the success that students are achieving through SEEK,” said Dr. Reid. “With the continued support of our academic, corporate and government partners, we expect to disseminate the knowledge we’re gaining to influence K–12 STEM education nationwide.”

A listing of the SEEK programs for 2018 follows. More information about SEEK is available at www.nsbe.org/seek.



Cities and Start Dates
Atlanta, Ga. (all-girls)   June 4    June 22
Birmingham, Ala.   June 4    June 22
Chicago, Ill.    July 16   Aug. 3
Detroit, Mich.    July 16   Aug. 3
Houston, Texas (Site 1)  June 11  June 29
Houston, Texas (Site 2)  July 9       July 27
Los Angeles, Calif.   July 9       July 27
Minneapolis, Minn.   July 9   July 27
New Orleans, La.   June 4    June 22
Oakland, Calif.    June 18  July 6
Pittsburgh, Pa.    July 16   Aug. 10
Sacramento, Calif.   June 11  June 29
Saginaw, Mich.    July 23   Aug. 10
San Diego, CA     June 25  July 13
Washington, D.C. (all-girls)  July 23   Aug. 10
Washington, D.C. (coed)  July 23   Aug. 10

*Dates are subject to change.

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