The students at the KCPS African Center College Preparatory Academy (ACCPA) under the leadership of principal, Claire Thornton-Polk, were big winners at the National Society of Black Engineers Convention sponsored by the Jackson County, (MO) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated in Detroit, Michigan on March 30, 2019. Twenty-two of the forty three students who are in the NSBE Jr. program at ACCPA traveled to Detroit to build their awareness of STEM/STEAM careers and to enter competitions in the NSBE First Lego League, and the NSBE Math Video Challenge. The NSBE program at ACCPA is an umbrella program led by Links advisors Phyllis Ragsdale, Dr. Janice M. Cade, Helen Casey and Gerri McQueen. The ACCPA Advisor is Helen Tellis.
Although it was their first time going to the National NSBE convention with about 15,000 other students, the ACCPA video students called the Pharaoh Engineers were able to win 1st place with their math video called the Pharaoh Engineers Save the Planet for the Math Video Challenge NSBE competition. An Oscar-like trophy was presented to the team and each of the team leaders received a $15.00 cash award. The Pharaoh Engineers video had already been selected in the Top 100 of all Math Counts, Math Video Challenge videos across the country. They wait, now, to see if their video goes to an even higher level in the entire nation for the Math Counts, Math Video Challenge.
The name for the entire twenty-two ACCPA NSBE group who traveled to the convention is the Wakanda Engineers. The Wakanda Engineers won the First Lego League Teamwork Award at NSBE for exhibiting effective and efficient group action while involved in their competitions of Robotics and the Core Value Poster Contest. The team also received a Lego Trophy and individual medallions for their excellence.
The Links, Incorporated is actively promoting STEM/STEAM awareness and careers because most of the jobs of the future will require a strong grasp of mathematics, science and engineering skills. This means that students must emphasize study in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics in their educational program. There has also been an identified need to fill the “engineering pipeline” because many of the jobs in the future will require those “problem solving” and teamwork skills.
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) have pledged to stimulate interest in STEM/STEAM through their Pre-College Initiative Program (PCI) by developing interest, awareness and leadership skills that promote student interest in going to and graduating from college in STEM careers and programming. NSBE has also pledged to graduate 50,000 Black engineers by the year 2025. The Links, Incorporated have joined with NSBE to make this a dream come true. For their efforts, the Links, Incorporated has chartered 75 NSBE Jr. Chapters in less than three years, well ahead of their pledged goal of completion by 2021. To their credit, during the convention, the Links, Incorporated received the 2019 Torch Award for their STEM and NSBE, Jr. PCI programs and NSBE Jr. chapters over the past 4 years.
The Links, Incorporated is an international not for profit service corporation that consists of 15, 000 professional women of color in 288 chapters located in 42 states and the District of Columbia. The Jackson County (MO) Chapter of the Links, here in metropolitan Kansas City, has been providing service to the community for over 38 years. The President of the chapter is Dr. Marion Pierson. There are 41 active members of the Jackson County (MO) Links who do their community work through 5 facets. All members and all of the facets contribute to the success of ACCPA.
The NSBE, Jr. Wakanda Engineers enjoy a great deal of partner support from individuals and companies and organizations such as the Jackson County (MO) Links, Kansas City Public Schools, General Motors, Northrop Grumman, Burns and McDonnell, Honeywell, Inc., LINC, Sigma Pi Phi Theta Boule’, Truman Medical Center, The Links, Incorporated, IBM, Henderson Engineering, DuBoise Consulting, NSBE, Region V, Lauren Honesty Photography, Channel 41, Metropolitan Community College, and many other individual givers. Thanks to all supporters!