The Auburn University chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), recently hosted their first annual Black Girls Rock event Saturday, March 25th. Inspired by the awards ceremony created by the television network, BET, it was put on to recognize and honor some of Auburn’s African American female student body and faculty. Their leadership roles in various organizations on campus, along with their involvement within the local community and academic achievements made them fit for honor.
Sponsored by the Cross-Cultural Center for Excellence and the Office of the Vice President for University Outreach, planning for the Black Girls Rock event started six months in advance and took about that same amount of time to plan, completely. Though the success of the event was evident, head of the planning committee, Carmen Stowe, expressed that the planning process wasn’t without its obstacles.
“One of the toughest challenges was getting people to apply for the award[s]. It is a new event so naturally, I expected some reluctance from students and faculty. However, the College of Engineering was critical in helping us advertise for the event,” she said.
Many nominees were nominated either by professors, colleagues, peers, or members of their organizations. After nominations closed, Carmen composed two different selection committees -- one for student awards and one for faculty awards-- to score the applications. The nominee receiving the highest score in their category would be the award recipient.
Most of the awards were taken straight from the original awards show that airs on BET, but one award, in particular, the Tiger Stripes Award, was an original. “It is a commemorative award, so I wanted to think of something that signified strength, longevity, and the Auburn spirit. There was no better name for it,” Carmen said.
Among those honored were students Bria Butler; a junior in social work and recipient of the Shot Caller Award, and Daphney Portis; a senior in Political Science with a concentration in American Politics, and recipient of the Change Agent Award.
“I was literally speechless when they called my name to receive the Change Agent Award. I know in my heart and actions that I am a change agent, but I don't expect others to see it,” Daphney expressed.
“Being recognized for this award made me feel extremely accomplished,” Bria said.
“This ceremony was perfect because it really served as recognition and representation of the black women on this campus that often times get overlooked,” she added.
Both Bria and Daphney expressed how pleasantly surprised they were at the achievements and representation of black faculty. Both students agreed that such representation was vital in terms of resources, allies, and encouragement to other African American women on Auburn’s campus.
Among other recipients were:
Along with awards portion of the ceremony, there were various performances by several members of Auburn’s student body.
“We want to show students that black women can be role models for excellence and that we too are a force to be reckoned with,” Carmen said. I was literally speechless when they called my name to receive the Change Agent Award. I know in my heart and actions that I am a change agent, but I don't expect others to see it,” Daphney expressed.
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