School: University of Delaware
Major: Environmental Engineering
BLOC: Hi Mark! Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today! Here at BLOC we like to spotlight black collegians who are doing interesting things. We hear that you had a cool internship with GE Transportation. Mind telling us more about that?
Mark: The plant I work at in GE transportation is in Grove City, Pennsylvania. At my plant, we are a locomotive engine manufacturing plant. I am an environmental engineering major so they put me in the EHS department (environmental health and safety). I am pretty much responsible for making sure the machines, workers, and other aspects of the plant are in compliance with EPA and OSHA regulations for manufacturing (environmental protection agency) and (occupational safety and health administration).
BLOC: How did your major & UD prepare you for this opportunity?
Mark: My major prepared me by having a fundamental understanding of the science behind why and what regulations the industry has to abide by so I knew a bit about of it ahead of time. As far as UD, well I'm a part of NSBE, which is how I got the offer at a convention.
BLOC: Could you talk more about the benefits of being a member of NSBE as that’s a well-known organization?
Mark: NSBE is incredible. I've learned networking and leadership skills as well as general professionalism and so much more. The greatest assets are obviously career fairs at conventions, but aside from that, it's been great to be surrounded by people who look like me with the same goals. Both younger and older. Got a homie in engineering grad school now who was influential because it made me realize I could do that too.
BLOC: If you were going to make a pitch for environmental engineering for prospective engineering students what would you say?
Mark: You should consider this field of engineering because it has the highest growth rate amongst all disciplines at 15% by 2022. The environment will always be there, and for that it will always be at the forefront of the work force.
BLOC: There have been several studies done in the past few years that bring to light black collegian’s difficulty in STEM majors. What networks and resources have you used throughout your years at college to make sure you’re getting the support you need to succeed in your major.
Mark: NSBE is the biggest by far. Definitely gotta pay homage there. Outside of that I am a member of RISE (resources to insure successful engineers), which is a university program to retain black engineers. The center for black culture is great too and I happen to work there. And last but not least, my fraternity: though I haven't been in it long, it has been a great asset to broadening my experience and network at school.
BLOC: What are your post-UD plans looking like?
Mark: Either will be entering the industry or going to grad school to pursue a PhD. We've got to increase the number of black professors nationwide. I always believed you’ve got to be the change you wish to see in the world.
BLOC: Do you have any advice for engineering students who may not have an internship this summer but are still looking to develop skills?
Mark: Get involved. Find somewhere to volunteer. Take classes. Stay active. Just show you're trying!