I Am A...
Dr. Karl W. Reid was named executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) on June 2, 2014, marking his return to the organization that gave him his first major leadership experience, 32 years earlier. For the past 20 years, he’s been a leading advocate for increasing college access, opportunity and success for low-income and minority youth.
Dr. Reid came to NSBE from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), where he oversaw new program development, research and capacity building for the organization’s 37 historically black colleges and universities and held the title of senior vice president for research, innovation and member college engagement. Before his service at UNCF, he worked in positions of progressive responsibility to increase diversity at his alma mater, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which he left as associate dean of undergraduate education and director of the Office of Minority Education. While working at MIT as Director of Engineering Outreach Programs, Dr. Reid earned his Doctor of Education degree at Harvard University. His dissertation explored the interrelationship of race, identity and academic achievement. He is the author of Working Smarter, Not Just Harder: Three Sensible Strategies for Succeeding in College…and Life.
Dr. Reid earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in materials science and engineering at MIT and was a Tau Beta Pi Scholar. He credits his membership in the NSBE chapter at MIT with giving a vital boost to his self-confidence and leadership skills. He joined the Society during his freshman year, was elected chapter vice president his junior year and subsequently served as NSBE national chairperson.
After graduating from MIT, Dr. Reid worked in the computer industry for 12 years, in product management, marketing, sales and consulting. In 1991, five years into a successful career in sales and marketing with the IBM Corporation, Dr. Reid read Jonathan Kozol’s “Savage Inequalities,” a seminal book about educational disparities in the U.S., which sparked his passion for bringing about positive change through education of African Americans and other underserved populations.
Dr. Reid sits on the DC STEM Council, and holds memberships in the American Association of Engineering Societies, the American Society of Engineering Education, and the American Society of Association Executives. He is a founding member of the 50K Coalition, a national collaborative to graduate 50,000 diverse engineers annually by 2025. He was recently named a Top 100 Executive in America by Uptown Professional magazine.
Dr. Reid is now supporting NSBE’s National Executive Board and the Society’s 20,000 active members in reaching the main goal of NSBE’s 10-year Strategic Plan: to end the underrepresentation of blacks in engineering in the U.S. by annually producing 10,000 black engineers in the country, by 2025.
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