Matthew Nelson

National Chair, National Society of Black Engineers

Matthew Nelson is the 2016-2017 National Chairperson of the National Society of Black Engineers. In this position, he leads the efforts to increase the number of undergraduate engineering degrees earned by black students annually from roughly 3,500 to 10,000 by the year 2025. During his tenure, Matthew has managed an organization with over 16,000 domestic members, a number of international affiliate chapters and an annual budget of over $12 million. His former leadership roles include Region IV Finance Chair, National Finance Chair and National Assistant Treasurer – Special Projects. He has personally raised over $250,000 of support from both corporate and academic partners, and led a team who raised $3.3 million.

A graduate of Frank Cody High School, Matthew's collegiate journey began at Michigan in 2002, where he struggled just to maintain a below-average GPA. After falling out of the engineering pipeline, Matthew spent several years working to return to higher academia. Matthew returned to Lansing Community College in 2011, where he made the President's List with a 3.91 GPA and received induction to Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. At that point, Matthew decided to return to Michigan to finish his journey and to share his testimony. Since his return, Matthew earned University Honors, made the Dean’s List, earned the College of Engineering Distinguished Leadership Award, and was awarded the first-ever Center for Engineering and Outreach (CEDO) Legacy Award for his work in Engineering Diversity.

Matthew earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Operations Engineering with a minor in Multidisciplinary Design in 2015, and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Design Science. As a Bridge to the Doctorate Fellow, Matthew plans on continuing into a PhD program, where his intended area of research is integrating human-centered design principles into diversity programmatic development and evaluation.

Matthew continues to advocate for increased resources for non-traditional and minority students, as well as inspire those considering returning to college. Matthew frequently engages in public speaking, encouraging both young and old to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math professions. Matthew also works with a number of Fortune 500 organizations to improve their diversity recruitment and retention outcomes.

Matthew is a proud native Detroiter, and credits his success to early exposure to science and technology he received through Detroit Public Schools, as well as programs such as DAPCEP (Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program) and Focus:HOPE. Matthew is a member of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers and the International Association of Innovation Professionals. Matthew attends Northwest Unity Missionary Baptist Church, where he also serves as Trustee. Matthew and his beautiful wife Breanna, also a native Detroiter, have been married for six years.