April 05, 2024

Engineering my own future

Jordan Branch ’24
President, National Society of Black Engineers

Jordan Branch at Millersville University's Career CarnivalAs a college student, I never thought I’d intern at a United States Air Force base.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking only about what’s in front of you—classes, tests, sports, friends—and not what’s ahead of you—that being your career.

One day I’d like to own an engineering company that empowers the underrepresented community, but I know to get there, I need to start preparing for my future now.

So, how does that even begin? For me it all started at Millersville University with an engineering professor who just so happened to also have spent some time in North Dakota. That connection helped to grow my sense of belonging and sparked my interest in leading others with similar career interests.

What came next was a lot of hard work and determination.

I became involved in several engineering clubs, including the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the Construction Club, and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Last year I wanted to make a bigger impact, so I served as vice president of all three.

In my first year as an ASSP member, our team achieved the prestigious title of "Most Outstanding Student Section of the Year." During my time as vice president, our club not only secured third place for “Outstanding Student Section of the Year,” but I also witnessed a remarkable increase in membership participation. As the founding vice president for the Construction Club, I helped coordinate the building of tiny libraries for the local community, promoting literacy and access to books.

Additionally, I undertook the task of revitalizing NSBE, which had become inactive during the pandemic. Its membership grew to the highest level in school history, and our annual clothing drive collected more than 250 pounds of coats.

Jordan Branch with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)

Last year, I was elected NSBE president and created a Career Carnival event to generate interest in STEM-related fields in our local community. It also served as a valuable networking opportunity for Millersville students interested in exploring STEM careers, enabling them to connect with potential employers and gain insights into career prospects within the field.

As a manufacturing engineering technology major, my real-world learning experiences off campus were equally as important to my success. My most recent internship experience was at M.C. Dean, where I served as a Facility Infrastructure Control Systems (FICS) Engineering Intern. Working at the Buckley Space Force Base in Denver, Colorado, provided me with invaluable insights into the intricacies of project management. I observed firsthand how my supervisor orchestrated stakeholder meetings, negotiated contract changes, and coordinated with various departments and subcontractors. This experience equipped me with the necessary skills to pursue a professional engineering license.

Jordan Branch on-site at Buckley Space Force Base in Denver, CO.

So, what else have all these experiences done for me? I’ve learned to work effectively under pressure and improved my communication and coordination skills. I know when to ask for help and appreciate the value of small victories, and I can make tough decisions while also understanding the importance of giving back to others. 

It’s very important to take advantage of opportunities in major-related clubs because of the benefit of networking with peers and personal growth. This is the foundation of your professional network and support system. It’s also important to test that foundation with internships or other real-world learning experiences.

After graduation, I plan to join my family’s autobody business while aspiring to create a company that specializes in the manufacturing of ethnic products. My goal is to combine my passion for entrepreneurship with my engineering expertise to contribute to domestic manufacturing while also celebrating and promoting ethnic diversity.

With hard work, determination, and preparation, anything is possible.

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