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Thursday, February 19, 2009

National Society of Black Engineers Host Youth Conference

By Starla Muhammad

Undergraduate engineering and computer science students from the Arizona State University chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) hosted its 13th annual Kathy Preacely Youth Motivational Conference (KPYMC) on February 14, on the Tempe campus. The annual event is part of the groups Pre-College Initiative Program (PCI) geared toward developing and inspiring the interest of youth in the areas of science, technology, mathematics and engineering. Approximately 20 elementary, middle and high school students, many from the south Phoenix area, attended this year’s conference.

According to event organizers, the PCI program “provides activities to help students discover firsthand how engineering and technology relate to the world around them and discover the excitement of academic excellence, leadership, technical development and work.” The students had a great time participating in hands-on activities, including science experiments and demonstrations while being mentored by the collegiate members of NSBE. Although geared toward students in grades 6 through 12, many of the students who attended this year’s conference were younger.

Activities included a robotics exhibit, team building and a cultural awareness discussion panel. The free conference also included a continental breakfast and lunch. Members of the ASU Chapter of NSBE who worked with the visiting students include Brandon Taylor, Jonathan Blair, Carmen Parks, Todd Jackson and Lashell Reed. The conference is named for Kathy Preacely, a community activist who was a key figure in the passage of the Martin Luther King Holiday in Arizona.

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