UT’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers was recognized as the National Medium Chapter of the Year and senior Tiffany Sithiphone became the first female from UT to be elected regional chairperson, capping a highly successful national convention for members from the College of Engineering last week in Nashville.
“This is truly a tremendous recognition for our group to receive, and it highlights the successes being made here at UT toward a more diverse campus,” said College of Engineering Dean Wayne Davis. “To be recognized for those efforts is nice enough, but to be singled out in front of peer institutions makes it all the more special.”
Sithiphone, from Nashville, is only the second UT student overall to be elected regional chairperson, after Trevor Williams—her mentor—in 2007.
“It was just such an incredible feeling when they called my name,” said Sithiphone. “As I stood there taking the oath I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I hope I never lose this feeling.”
Sithiphone, an industrial engineering major, said that as nice as the award is for her personally, the real happiness in winning the award is what it says about the opportunity for underrepresented students at UT.
“For the national society to take notice of us, to single us out as a chapter is really special, and it makes you proud to be a Vol,” said Sithiphone. “You see the opportunities that have been created here at Tennessee, you see the progress we’ve made, and hopefully that can serve as an example to other universities and inspire them to do some of the great things we’ve done here at UT.”
UT chapter president Diamond Wallace, from Memphis, was equally enthused about the chapter’s success. In addition to winning the national award this year, UT was honored as a top regional chapter for the second consecutive year.
“We can proudly say that this year we had three national scholarship recipients, an educator of the year, and our first female region chair,” said Wallace, a biomedical engineering major. “We’re producing leaders, and more specifically leaders in STEM fields, and I am excited that our national society has taken notice. ”
Isaac Atuahene, a graduate student from Ghana in industrial and systems engineering at UT, received a Golden Torch as winner of the Dr. Janice A. Lumpkin Educator of the Year Award for contributions related to research and education, while undergraduates Sierra Ellis, from Memphis, Markyth Smith, from Nashville, and DeAnna Walker, from Chattanooga, were chosen as a Board of Corporate Affiliates Fellow Scholar, a Lockheed Martin Scholar, and a Major Fellow Scholar, respectively.
Ellis and Smith are mechanical engineering majors, while Walker is in civil engineering.
“Our chapter continues to excel and take on new challenges,” said UT Engineering Diversity Programs Director Travis Griffin. “They have a keen vision to fulfill the NSBE’s mission and increase the success rate of our engineering students, and I think that was on display for all to see in Nashville.”
For more on the College of Engineering, click here.
For more on the National Society of Black Engineers, click here.
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