February 22, 2023

Inspiring Future Generations While Transforming the Culture of Engineering

In honor of Engineers Week and Black History Month, RK&K team members who are members of NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) share how they aim to inspire future generations.

An overlapping mission of innovating solutions and inspiring future generations serves as an intersection of Engineers Week and Black History Month.

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) was officially formed in 1975. Its mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.”

RK&K team members who are members of NSBE shared how they inspire the next generation of technical professionals and serve as a catalyst for transforming the culture of engineering… in the same vein of Engineering Week’s theme of “Creating the Future.”

Engineer Kayla Cash said she studied civil engineering to help people. She focused on transportation because she was fascinated by learning about the design and implementation of traffic signage, signals, and pedestrian facilities.

She encouraged students to follow their passions.

“I would advise seeking opportunities that align with your genuine interest. Anything you want to do can bring value! Speak up for yourself if you feel strongly about things. Use your voice,” Cash said.

Engineer Kayla Cash, a member of the National Society of Black Engineers conducts field observations at an intersection focusing on existing signage, signal timings, signal phasing, and motorist and pedestrian behaviors in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

“Don’t add to the already existing disparities by further doubting yourself. Keep pushing. Only those who go far find out how far they can go,” Kapungu said. “You are amazing, keep at it. I was a tutor for five years in college, and the latter provided me with a platform to mentor students, notably fellow Black students.”

According to the latest data from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the percentage of Black civil engineers grew from 3.6% in 2016 to 6% in 2020. It was the largest growth trend compared to the overall engineering workforce.

Cash said the trend will continue to grow if Black engineers are empowered to succeed.

“The industry can support the growth of Black engineers by retaining them and making them feel valued by the work they do. Also, by promoting Black engineers into higher positions within companies, Black engineers will grow,” Cash said.

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