African Americans are increasingly working in STEM fields, in industries such as nuclear energy, however, the need to underscore the importance of diversity has not faded. As graduation month comes to an end, we are placing a spotlight on the many opportunities that a STEM degree offers by taking a closer look at the Nuclear Engineering Program (NEP) at South Carolina State University.
In addition to being the only public, historically black college or university in South Carolina, SC State offers the only Bachelor of Science nuclear engineering program in the state of South Carolina and at a historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). The program is partnered with University of Wisconsin-Madison (UWM) and provides undergraduates with the future skills needed to have an active role in the nuclear energy industry including researching, designing, developing, testing and/or operating nuclear reactors.
The nuclear engineering program at SC State began with five students and grew to over 55 students in recent years. As of May 2013, the NEP has awarded 27 Bachelor of Science degrees in nuclear engineering. Additionally, the NEP has received accolades including the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET in 2008.
The nuclear energy industry needs a skilled, innovative and diverse workforce in order to keep up with the rising demand for energy and represents a path of opportunity for many African Americans. Organizations and influencers from diverse backgrounds are stepping up efforts to educate African Americans about STEM. One organization that is making a difference is the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). NSBE works to diversify the engineering field and educate the African American community about STEM benefits and a future in engineering. In April, the South Carolina State University hosted an awards banquet honoring NSBE members, faculty and supporters and underscored the importance of stem majors as well as the opportunities for African Americans in fields including nuclear energy. With its economic benefits, nuclear energy is gaining widespread support as a strong economic driver and is making a strong case for professional development for African Americans.
More and more academics, minorities and organizations are showing their support for nuclear energy. At the CASEnergy Coalition, we unite over 3,600 diverse members including leaders in business, labor, academics and government in support of nuclear energy. With the help and support of our members, the Coalition is playing an active role in the national energy dialogue and spreading the word about the benefits of nuclear energy in our nation’s energy mix. If you haven’t already, join us and get engaged in the nuclear energy conversation.
Share your thoughts on the diverse opportunities that nuclear energy presents and tweet us @CASEnergy!