2020 Year in Review

Table of Contents

TLDR; 2020 started on a high note for NSBE Boston and we were on track to achieve most of our goals but the unexpected global pandemic posed some challenges. Our programs and initiatives continued without a hitch through the generosity & support of our members, corporate partners and executive board members, who helped us remain agile and successfully execute the NSBE mission, which is to “increase the number of Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.”

It goes without saying that 2020 was an extraordinary year of challenges from a pandemic to a racial reckoning however, our e-board remained nimble and executed on programs and initiatives to support our community. Through coordinated efforts with corporate partners, health professionals, community organizations and NSBE leadership, we made tremendous strides increasing the value and engagement amongst the membership.

Professional Programming

As customary, NSBE Boston held professional development meetings, through our corporate partners’ support, to provide programming focused on the career development programming for the Boston community and our members. These topics spanned from user design, innovation tools, and clinical technology. We also presented Reimagining Black Wall Street: STEM Entrepreneurs Leading the Inclusion Movement during a Pandemic Economy at the Mass Black Expo.

While the decision to move our programs to virtual platforms was a tough one, we saw significant increases in engagement and participation from our members and the community overall. We continued to hold our monthly Professional Development Meetings (PDM) presented in collaboration with our corporate partners and were focused on career development for the Boston community and our members. In addition to our PDMs, NSBE Boston members participated in the NSBE Region I and National conventions, PTC’s Liveworx, and MassTLC’s Board Ready Bootcamp.

See below for playback of some of our past programs:

NSBE Boston x MITRE PDM: Leveraging Innovation to Increase Diversity
Diversity by Design: Exploring UX as A Career with NSBE & UXPA Boston

In support of continuous learning, we provided our members with a significant discount on Project Management Professional (PMP) training, complimentary conference tickets and provided Bentley MBA scholarships upwards of 100% of program costs.

Lastly, this fall, we launched our job board to support diverse hiring in tech. We worked with our corporate partners to create highlight positions of interest for our members and provided our members with an opportunity to speak to recruiters for positions of interest. Interested in posting a position? Please email jobboard@nsbeboston.org for more information.

Community Programs

As the world underwent profound changes, we amended our programming topics and forums to meet the Boston community’s needs. We added virtual home workout sessions and a virtual happy hour so our members could casually convene and have check ins. We also hosted mental health programming to provide a safe space for Black Professionals to speak about ways to navigate mental health through the pandemic and the racial reckoning. This event featured various mental health professionals sharing tips and resources on managing the stress associated with the current times and led to a great discussion on how we could support our community well into the future.
Cracking The Code

The pandemic’s financial implications highlighted the need for financial planning and assistance throughout and beyond the pandemic. We provided programming featuring various professionals focused on budgeting, navigating stock market volatility, and building your LinkedIn brand. Based on this series’s resounding success, we will continue to provide finance-centric programming into the new year.

In addition to virtual programming, NSBE Boston provided our members with free resume reviews and 1:1 financial planning sessions. We would like to send a special thank you to Jen Paxton, VP of Talent at Privy, for supporting our members through her blog posts and resume reviews.

You can read Jen’s blog posts here:

10 Tips for Navigating a Virtual Career Fair
Nine Tips For Acing Your Interview
Five Resume Writing Tips To Land A Job

COVID Programming

The COVID-19 virus presented a plethora of challenges including misinformation and drastic shifts in education. We partnered with Dr. Sara Sulliman, Immunbiologist, to create blog posts and an informational video documenting COVID-19 FAQ and a first hand perspective on the clinical trial process. Lastly, the impact of COVID-19 highlighted the disparities in clean water resources throughout the World. We were proud to partner with Engineers Without Borders to support the construction of a water supply pipeline in Mkutani, Tanzania.

You can see our COVID resources here:

Insights on Participating in COVID-19 Clinical Trials
NSBE Boston COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

NSBE Boston Partners With Engineers Without Borders To Fund Community Development Projects In Rural Tanzania

Finding New Ways to Network
Lastly, the quarantine transition left a void when it came to member fellowship and communication. We increased our email cadence to stay informed of our members and community of our offerings during this time but realized that we needed to shift our communication strategy to ensure that our members could connect with us when they needed us the most. As such, we made the decision to transition our member-centric communications from GroupMe to Slack. This forum will allow us to have both 1:1 communication as well as group conversions in the absence of physical programming. We invite our members and corporate sponsors to join us on our new platform!

Inspire STEM Gala

This year we hosted our second annual ‘Inspire STEM Gala’, presented by EverQuote. This yearly event is focused on celebrating Black Excellence in the Greater Boston area. It is an opportunity for our corporate partners to network with our members and community while raising funds for our scholarship initiatives. This event featured a night of keynote speakers for industry leaders and scholarship recognition, followed by a night of dancing. We were able to provide over $30,000 in scholarships to local high school and collegiate students and we recognized the following individuals for their impact on the Boston STEM landscape:

Trailblazer Award

Corey Thomas, Chairman & CEO, Rapid7

Zeita Merchant, Commander, US Coast Guard, National Security Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

STEM Advocate Award

Professor Leon Cort, Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Sciences and Humanities, Wentworth Institute of Technology

Community Impact Award

Bridgette Wallace, Founder G|Code House

Emerging Leader in Tech Award

Olukunle Akinbosede, VP, Global Technology Strategy; Global Retail Market at Liberty Mutual Insurance

Kevin Foster, Vice President of IoT Marketing, PTC

Diversity Champion

Gary Evee , Founder & CEO, Evee Security Consulting Group

President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership

Darryl Auguste , EVP of Strategic Projects and Board Member, Everquote

We would like thank the following sponsors for their generosity:

Presenting Sponsor


Circle of Innovation



Circle of Inspiration


Cambridge College

STEM Scholarship Supporter



Foundation Medicine

Dedham Savings

Pre-Collegiate (PCI) and Collegiate (CI) Initiatives

Our students dealt with a significant shift from school to remote learning. This year we made Chromebook donations to students in Brockton Public Schools and Jeremiah E. Burke High School (Boston, MA) to help them finish out the school year. We also created a STEM resource page for parents seeking online STEM resources as their children shifted to remote learning. In addition to this, we shifted to entirely virtual programming with our Bite-Sized lunchtime learning series covering topics such as river restoration, imposter syndrome, and college readiness.

In the fall we kicked off our STEM Through the Year series. This series focuses on providing career panels for high school and college students, which features individuals from college students to experienced professionals discussing their career trajectory, lessons learned, and challenges. We would like to thank Massachusetts Secretary of Education, James Peyser for his opening remarks at our inaugural event. A playback of our event can be found here.

This winter we will be kicking off our Homework Helpers, which will allow local community members to help students with their math, science and english homework remotely.

Lastly, we closed out this year with a toy drive and donation of STEM toys and robots to Brockton and Boston Public Schools students. We would like to send a special thank you to iRobot for their generous donation of Root coding robots for our students.

Corporate Partner Updates

While 2020 presented unique challenges, it also presents its fair share of successes. We not only have one of our largest executive boards to date but we also have a myriad of partners that we are excited to work with. Our partnerships allow us to not only serve our members but also allow us to serve our community by increasing the number of black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact our community. As of the date of this blog post, our current partners include:

Visionary Partners

Amgen, A Worldwide Pioneer in Biotechnology

Liberty Mutual, There for all your insurance needs

Repare Therapeutics,  a leading precision oncology company enabled by its proprietary synthetic lethality approach to the discovery and development of novel therapeutics

Diamond Partners

Everquote, The fast, free, and easy way to shop for insurance

Whoop, The World’s Most Powerful Fitness Membership.

Silver Partners

AbioMed, a pioneer and global leader in healthcare technology and innovation

iRobot, the leading global consumer robot company, designs and builds robots that empower people to do more both inside and outside of the home

Energetiq, A developer and manufacturer of advanced light sources that enable the manufacture and analysis of nano-scale structures and products.

Olympus, a leading manufacturer of optical and digital precision technology

Toast, a restaurant point of sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.

Waters, Corp the leading provider of lab equipment, supplies and software for scientists across the world. Easily research and order everything your lab needs!

Community Partners

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act

PTC, Digital Transformation Solutions to Unlock the Value of IIoT

Looking Ahead

We launched our 2021 scholarship opportunities  and students can apply for the available scholarships here.  

There is no shortage of volunteer opportunities for Boston Professionals. Are you interested in providing your services to our members and the Boston community? Please reach out to membership@nsbeboston.org. Learn more about becoming a Boston member here

Want to learn more about becoming a NSBE Boston Corporate Partner? Please reach out to Alexis Smith partnerships@nsbeboston.org.

Thank You

As we look ahead to a great year in 2021, I/We would like to thank everyone that has supported our programs and initiatives by making financial donations, volunteered their time, attended our events and provided access to resources throughout the year. Special thanks to our executive board and for their dedication, leadership and steadfast support.


Your gift helps fulfill our mission to graduate 10,000 black engineers by 2025. Learn more about the Inspire STEM Gala on our website!