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National Society of Black Engineers Honor U.S. Navy Engineer as Professional Member of the Year

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications Division | May 16, 2016

DAHLGREN, Va. -The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) honored a Navy engineer for leadership impacting NSBE's mission in Virginia, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) announced, May 16.

Serita Seright was named the NSBE Region II "Professionals Member of the Year" at its 42nd National Convention, recently held in Boston, Mass.

I'm humbled to be recognized for personifying the NSBE mission - to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community," said Seright, among a select group of high-achieving technology executives, students and academics honored at the ceremony for their efforts in expanding diversity in technology.

The award recognizes individuals who make outstanding contributions to NSBE, especially their chapter and region, in the areas of leadership, excellence, service, and advancement of NSBE programs and mission.

"Serita is positively impacting the community through her participation with all levels of FIRST Robotics," LaShara Smith, Richmond Professionals Chapter president, wrote in her nomination of Seright for the award, adding that the NSWCDD engineer is also the co-chair of STEM-U-LINK.

STEM-U-LINK - hosted by the Richmond Professionals chapter of NSBE - is a free career exploration fair for all students, especially 8th to 12th grade minority students. The event's objective is to show the versatility and range of career paths a student can pursue as a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professional in a friendly judgment-free environment.

"STEM-U-LINK is significant because it is the first career exploration fair for minority middle and high school students in the greater Richmond community," said Smith. "This half-day event touched over 100 minority students. Serita's community service, role as PCI (pre-collegiate initiative) chair, and individual mentorship will fill the pipeline leading to an increase in black engineer and STEM professionals."

As pre-collegiate and the collegiate-initiative chair for the Richmond Professionals Chapter of NSBE, Seright assists the chapter to provide and manage programming that fulfills the NSBE mission.  

"It's an honor and privilege to be surrounded by the Richmond Professionals chapter, a family of talented and dedicated engineers," she said. 

As a college student, Seright competed in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Southeastern Conference robotics competition in 2012.

The Navy civilian electrical engineer returned to the IEEE robotics competition in April 2016 as a judge and mentor to, "encourage teams during the competition because I know from firsthand experience that the competition is very challenging."   

The competing teams represented colleges and universities around IEEE Region 3, encompassing southeastern states.  The competition - influenced by supply-chain logistics - required students to deploy robots they designed and built to pick up color-coded containers, scan the container barcode, and then place the containers in the appropriate storage locations in the playing field.

"Paying it forward is important to me because we can increase the number of black engineers by using our knowledge and resources to create the next generation of STEM leaders," said Seright, who is responsible for promoting technical education and careers, interacting with academia from pre-school to graduate school, and acting as a support system for NSBE student chapters.

NSBE is dedicated to the academic and professional success of black engineering students and professionals. NSBE offers its members leadership training, professional development activities, mentoring opportunities, career placement services and more. NSBE comprises 394 active chapters - 242 collegiate, 70 professional and 82 pre-collegiate - located in six geographic regions. NSBE is governed by an executive board of college students and engineering professionals and is operated by a professional staff at its World Headquarters, located in Alexandria, Va.