Young people talk about heritage, using skills for good | Nebraska today

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Editor’s note – This is part of a series of weekly student conversations highlighted as part of Black History Month on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Medium page. The series will feature students making an impact on campus and hoping to maintain that momentum in their future careers.

Courtney Young is a computer engineering student on the university’s Scott campus who hopes to make an impact in the community around her.

What first got you interested in engineering?

I don’t know exactly what got me interested in engineering. I’ve always been a bit curious about how electronics work and I’ve always loved building LEGOs.

What is your role at the College of Engineering – and what do you like about what you do?

Recently I became the NSBE President. Through this, I hope to get more Black Omaha students interested in our program, and I want to focus on getting the support club members need to graduate. I want to be a leader, a mentor and a friend for all of them. I am also trying to participate in research this summer at a university.

Why is it important to celebrate your heritage? Why is this significant for you and your family? Is there a specific example or tradition that illustrates how you showcase or celebrate your heritage?

For me, heritage is very important because it all depends on where you come from. For black people in the United States, it can be difficult to reflect on our heritage, as so much has been erased. And the culture we’ve built isn’t always accepted. That’s why it’s important to me to celebrate my African-American heritage and go back to my African roots.

I celebrate my heritage every day through the way I do my hair. It may seem like such an unimportant thing. And of course, it’s college – no one is dressed up or trying to look good. But that’s not the point for me. I style my hair how I feel and want my hair to reflect my heritage. I want to stand out with this.

How do you bring your own unique experience to your role and responsibilities within the College of Engineering?

I’ve always been someone who doesn’t give up. I will always find a way to do something, especially when others tell me I can’t. It’s what got me through some of my toughest semesters. I do not give up.

What do you hope to accomplish in your life?

I hope to be someone who uses his engineering “powers” for good. I want to help push innovation that will help the majority of people, especially for people living below the poverty line. I don’t see the point of researching and creating new things that will only be accessible to the rich, widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

What or who inspires you?

There are many things that inspire me, but what inspires me the most is my family. My family is connected with all kinds of different businesses and projects in the community, and I want to follow in their footsteps. Young & Young Law, Noire, Stable Grey, Green Lexi, World Speaks, J.D.iane Creations, Scooters, MoeBlackDesigns, Omaha NAACP, Culxr House and many more are all organizations and businesses that my family is connected to. I’m very proud of it.

What advice or words of wisdom could you share with others?

This is Okay fail, but when you do, find what works for you and what will help you succeed. Also, your dreams aren’t waiting for you, so if there’s something you really want to do, do it now. No one should be more driven than you when it comes to your dreams and what you want for your future.

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