April 2016 will mark the 45th anniversary of the former KU School of Engineering SCoRMEBE program, the Student Council for Recruiting, Motivating and Educating Blacks in Engineering. SCoRMEBE was created in response to students requesting a change in services available to enable and support minority students in engineering. It was one of the first on its kind for minority engineering students in the Big Eight and was instrumental in establishing the first minority scholarship in engineering at KU. One of the key services provided by SCoRMEBE was the recruitment of new minority students into the school of engineering.
To understand the important role SCoRMEBE played in recruiting minorities into engineering, go back with me for a minute to 1975, when a young African American female student, as a senior in high school, began not only preparing for graduation but the opportunity to further her education by pursuing a college degree that would enable her to one day make a positive difference in the world.
Making a difference in the world was most important to her because as a little girl she had already committed to her purpose in life…”to help somebody as I pass along”. Because she excelled in math and science, she imagined that she could be an accountant or teacher because those were the fields her counselors talked about and the only ones she really ever heard about. She had never heard of the field of engineering nor about how obtaining a degree in engineering could help her live out what she saw as her purpose in life. That is not until a couple of students from SCoRMEBE, while on spring break, decided to visit her high school to share a different way forward with a degree in engineering.
In 1975, two students from SCoRMEBE visited a high school class in St. Louis, Missouri to talk to students about the different fields of engineering and the unique opportunity for minority students to pursue a degree in engineering at KU. They talked about creating a sense of community among all KU minority engineering students with specific programs and resources designed to help minority students excel and reach their full potential as engineering students in college.
For that young African American female student, the two SCoRMEBE students who shared information about pursuing a degree in engineering, changed the direction of her life from that point on. Not only were her eyes and mind opened up about the opportunities in engineering, but she now had a new vision and mission of how an engineering degree could enable her to achieve her desire to make a difference in the world by helping others.
I’m sure you probably figured it out by now that the young African American female student who was in class in 1975 to hear the presentation by the two SCoRMEBE students was me. In just a few short weeks after learning about careers in the field of engineering from the two members of SCoRMEBE, I was offered a full scholarship to the KU School of Engineering for the SCoRMEBE summer program and the regular school degree program. I’m proud to say, four years later as a member of SCoRMEBE, I graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I truly believe my life and career would not be the success it is today had it not been for the SCoRMEBE program and the effort put forth in recruiting and retaining minorities in engineering, like myself, at KU.
This is why I am so passionate about supporting and continuing to enable the recruitment and retention of minorities and women in the field of engineering. I know firsthand that programs like SCoRMEBE not only make a measurable contribution to the field of engineering but can and will continue to do so with right support.
I encourage everyone to consider the positive impact a gift contribution to the KU School of Engineering Diversity and Women’s Program will have towards enabling all individuals to find a way to use their talents and gifts to make a positive impact on the world through the field of engineering.
Thank you in advance for your contribution and support.
Donate now at https://www.launchku.org/project/1305.
Angela Chammas KUME’79