Welcome to S2E02 – Black Lives Matter & Pratt! We spend today’s episode exploring the effect that the Black Lives Matter movement’s recent increase in awareness has had on Engineering Students at Duke, as well as the impact Pratt students have had on the BLM movement as a whole. We need to have candid conversations, built stronger foundations, and push to set positive examples. Black Lives Matter. This is undeniable and non-negotiable. We can and need to do better. Thank you for joining us.


View Additional Resources

Duke Engineering Student Government (ESG): https://sites.duke.edu/prattesg/
Duke National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE): https://sites.duke.edu/dukensbe/
Duke Society of Women Engineers (SWE): https://sites.duke.edu/dukeswe/
Duke Society of Hispanic Engineers (SHPE): https://www.shpe.org/

Spirit House: https://www.spirithouse-nc.org/
The Durham Colored Library for Tomorrow: https://www.durhamcl.org/
Durham for All: https://durhamforall.org/

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Episode Contributors

This weeks episode of This Engineering Life features seven incredible Duke students who care about making an impact on the Black Community at Duke and beyond:

Sydney Hunt – Sophomore ECE/CS Major

Sydney is a Sophomore ECE/CS Major who, in addition to being a CoHost for This Engineering Life, proudly spoke to us about her identity as a black and Hispanic female engineer. She shares her experiences as a woman in STEM, speaking on her transition to Duke from High School, as well as some of her experiences with discrimination at Duke. Finally, she explains her hopes that others listen, learn, and take action.

Alexa Tannebaum – Senior ME Major & ESG’s Chief Marketing Officer

Alexa Tannebaum is a Duke Senior studying Mechanical Engineering and the Chief Marketing Officer of ESG. She helped lead Pratt’s Engineering While Black programming, preferring that (and fundraising/supporting local groups) over simply making a blanket statement as an organization. She’s proud of what they have accomplished but admits there is and always will be more work to do.

Matt Jaynes – Senior ME Major & ESG’s Director of Industry Relations

Matt Jaynes is a Duke Senior studying Mechanical Engineering and serves as the Director of Industry Relations for ESG. He worked with Alexa over the summer and the past few months to create and promote Pratt’s Engineering While Black programming. He wanted to give students an avenue to make a difference on Duke’s campus, within the administration, and throughout Pratt specifically.

Jackson Kennedy – Junior Mechanical Engineering Major

Jackson Kennedy, a Junior Mechanical Engineer, speaks on his experience attending Duke’s Black Lives Matter Demonstration hosted by Nolan Smith and Duke Athletics. He shares his thoughts on the speakers, the COVID-safe nature of the event, and how he chose to participate in the movement over the summer as well.

Bennett David – Junior Mechanical Engineering Major

Bennett David, also a Junior Mechanical Engineer, shares his perspective on the experience of  Duke’s Black Lives Matter Demonstration. He mentions struggles over the summer in participating in demonstrations due to COVID, and how he was pleased with the event. He mentions that he wishes there would have been more of a call to action

Jamiee Williams – Senior Civil Engineering Major & NSBE Vice President

Jamiee Williams is a Senior studying Civil Engineering with a focus on Structures. She has held a number of roles within NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) and is currently serving as their Vice President. She speaks on the idea that BLM hasn’t really changed the dynamic of NSBE, as they’ve been working towards progress since the beginning, but she appreciates the fact that other organizations and people are now more open to having conversations towards progress.

Shami Chideya – Junior ME Major with I&E Certificate & NSBE Finance Chair

Shami is a Junior studying Mechanical Engineering, anfd is also pursuing an I&E Certificate. She was introduced to NSBE through BSAI as a highschooler who had been accepted to Duke. She speaks on many aspects of her experience, including the NSBE mission statement to “increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who Excel academically succeed professionally and positively impact the community”.