Updated: Apr 12

BESAC President's Message
BESSA Banquet in the 1990s

Our first event of 2021, the BESAC COVID-19 Vaccines: Science and Facts panel featuring Candia Brown, Dr. Mysheika Roberts and Terrence Satterfield, Ph.D., was excellent and informative!

Miller Allen, Ph.D., led us through a moment of silence to remind us of our loved ones and the thousands lost to COVID-19. Terry Satterfield, Ph.D., provided a very informative explanation of SARS-CoV-2 biology, vaccines, and immunity. Candia Brown both shared her insights and asked Dr. Mysheika Roberts and Dr. Satterfield to provide the answers that I and the audience wanted to hear about COVID-19 vaccines. I left that event relieved and encouraged to take the vaccine as soon as I could.

March 2021 marks BESAC’s two-year anniversary and the end of my term as President. It has been my pleasure to serve. Miller Allen, will be our new BESAC President and I am confident that he will lead our organization to higher heights! Miller has a bold vision for BESAC’s future and I am confident that he will drive us toward lasting success. Elections will be held soon for BESAC leadership roles, if you are interested in participating, look for subsequent communications on the nomination and election process.

Finally, BESAC was birthed after the 2018 celebration of the 50th and 30th anniversaries of BESSA and BGESS. It was a remarkable event. My hope is that it becomes a recurring event and that we come together again for another celebration in 2023!

Kirk Tramble

President, Black Engineering and Science Alumni Club

CAA Updates
2020 AAI Scholarship Winners

Cal Alumni Association

Sign up to participate in the 2021 African American Initiative Scholarship selections process! Please fill out the volunteer registration form preferably by April 1 to ensure you receive the information in a timely manner.

Download Cal Zoom backgrounds HERE

BESAC Events

On February 28th 2021, in honor of Black History Month, BESAC proudly presented a virtual panel of experts to discuss the science and facts about COVID-19 vaccines.

(Go here to see this event featured on the Cal Alumni Association website)

In a recent Kaiser Health News poll, 35% of Black adult respondents said that they were "highly unlikely" to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Our panel of experts discussed the science behind the COVID-19 vaccines and their clinical efficacy in an effort to dispel myths, raise awareness, and ultimately reduce disparities in the vaccination rate in the Black community. Distinguished panelists included Dr. Mysheika W. Roberts, Health Commissioner, Columbus Public Health; Candia Brown, Sr. Director for Global Market Development at Thermo-Fisher Scientific; and Terrence Satterfield, Ph.D., Cell Biologist and Senior Scientist at Maze Therapeutics. We express our deep gratitude to our panelists for volunteering their time and expertise!

Miller Allen, Ph.D.

BESAC Vice President

BESAC Update
30/50 Year BGESS/BESSA Reunion (Peg Skorpinski)

Your BESAC Board 2018-2021

President - Kirk Tramble

Vice President - Dr. Miller Allen

Secretary - Dr. Nerayo Teclemariam and Dr. Josephine Agbowo

Treasurer - Kevin Jones

Membership Officer - Rori Abernethy

Historian - Dr. Sheila Humphreys

MESA Committee - Dr. Leon Daniels

Scholarship Committee - Kelvin Vivian

BESAC Nominations and Elections.

Get Involved in BESAC Leadership!

Nominations are happening from March 15, 2021 - April 1, 2021.

BESAC Leadership Positions

BESAC 2021 - 2023 Nominations Form

Treasurer Update

Scholarship/Endowment Progress

We were making great progress on the establishment of our BESAC scholarship / endowment last year right before COVID-19 disrupted our entire world. 2021 is a new year, so we are looking to revisit our effort and would very much appreciate your support - financial and time.

In order to better align our collective scholarship goals, we put together a very brief 10 question survey (5 minutes) that we hope that you will fill out. There is also a box you can check to sign up to be a part of our scholarship / endowment committee.

We have lots of energy and $22,000 in funding already in our account, so we're looking to make big things happen in 2021. Please join us!


Dr. Nerayo Teclemariam

BESAC Secretary

BESAC Membership Update
BESAC Fall 2019 Homecoming Panel Event

Become a BESAC member!

Dues are $0 annually for current students and $25 annually for Alumni, Staff, Professors and/or Friends.

BESAC Alumni Highlights

Groundbreaking EECS alumnae honored during Black History Month

Three amazing EECS alumnae are featured on the Berkeley 150W website in celebration of Black History Month: Arlene Cole-Rhodes (Ph.D. '89, advisor: Shankar Sastry), the first Black woman to earn a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Berkeley; Melody Ivory (M.S. '96/Ph.D. '01, advisor: Marti Hearst), the first Black woman to earn a doctorate in Computer Science from Berkeley; and Valerie Taylor (Ph.D. '92, advisor: David Messerschmitt), the first Black Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University.

BGESS Update
NBA Hoops Science Fair with BGESS

Go to the Berkeley Black Graduate Engineering and Science Students Facebook page for highlights and updates.

BESSA Update

Go to the Black Engineering and Science Student Association website for highlights and updates.

BESF Highlights

Meet professor Boubacar Kante'

BESAC would like to congratulate:

Dr. Boubacar Kanté for being selected among 2020 cohort of Moore Inventor Fellows

Boubacar Kante is the inaugural Chenming Hu endowed Chaired Associate Professor at UC Berkeley. His multidisciplinary research interests are in the areas of wave-matter interaction from microwave to optics and related fields such as antennas, nanophotonics, novel materials, and quantum optics.

Boubacar Kanté proposed and demonstrated the world first topological laser based on the quantum Hall effect for light, a demonstration selected as one of the top 10 discoveries by Physics World in 2017. He demonstrated the world first bound state in continuum (BIC) laser, where he highlighted the unique scaling of these cavities. He also demonstrated the first single mode valley-Hall topological laser. His group hold the world record for plasmonic nanosensing (immuno-assay nanosensing) using a scheme he proposed for the implementation of singularities of open systems known as exceptional points. He also holds the world record for the bandwidth and efficiency of planar structured lenses, a structure he named “the Fishnet-Achromatic-Metalens (FAM)”. Prof. Kanté demonstrated the first non-magnetic metamaterial invisibility cloak. He introduced the notion of symmetry/parity of ring resonators, an idea used to prove that closed rings, previously believed incapable of producing artificial magnetism, can make ultra-broadband negative index in metamaterials.

Boubacar Kanté is a 2020 Moore Inventor Fellow. He received the 2017 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Award, the 2016 National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award, The best undergraduate teacher award from UC San Diego Jacob School of Engineering in 2017, the 2015 Hellman Fellowship, the Richelieu Prize in Sciences from the Chancellery of Paris Universities for the best Ph.D in France in Engineering, Material Science, Physics, Chemistry, Technology in 2010, the Young Scientist Award from the International Union of Radio Science (URSI) in Chicago in 2007, the Fellowship for excellence from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2003 for his undergraduate studies, a Research Fellowship from the French Research Ministry for his Ph.D studies.

Black Engineering and Science Faculty (BSEF)

There is currently a historic number of Black Engineering and Science Faculty at Cal. Learn more about Black STEM faculty by checking out the Black Engineering and Science Faculty slides

CAL Black Engineering & Science History
Kirk Tramble & Miller Allen. The 30-50 Anniversary Event

BESAC History Highlights

On February 10th, 2018, Kirk Tramble and Miller Allen with the help and support of the Black Alumni Association, BGESS, the College of Engineering, and the CAA organized a Celebration of Diversity to commemorate the 50th anniversary of BESSA and the 30th anniversary of BGESS. The day began with an amazing Symposium organized by Dr. Carlos Biaou which was open to the public, including NSBE Jr. attendees, and featured alumni speakers, Dr. Melody Ivory, Dr. Omoju Miller, Dr. Fatima Alleyne, Dr. Nerayo Teclemariam, and Elmer Whitehead. Smoothly hosted by guest emcee, Cheryl (Hurd) Perry of NBC's Bay Area affiliate, KNTV, the evening started with a welcome from Cal Mechanical Engineering professor, Dr. Grace O'Connell. The evening's opening speaker was Dr. Kamau Bobb, founder of the Constellations Center at Georgia Tech, and the keynote speaker was Dr. Gary May, BGESS co-founder and Chancellor of the University of Davis. The event brought close to 200 students, alumni, faculty, staff, family, and friends together at the Alumni House to celebrate these notable milestones. During the Reflections portion of the program speakers including Dr. Lorraine Fleming, Dr. John Harkless, Dr. Michele de Coteau, Dr. Reggie DesRoches, Dr. Diane Gates-Anderson, Dr. William Lester, Carl Homes, Dr. Wade Sisk, and Deena Mangrum shared their experiences at Cal and with BESSA and BGESS.

Inspired by the turnout and energy at the event, Kirk and Miller, joined by Rori Abernethy, Dr. Josephine Agbowo, Dr. Leon Daniels, Kelvin Vivian, Kevin Jones, Dr. Nerayo Teclemariam, and Dr. Sheila Humphreys formed an executive team to create a new chartered alumni club of the California Alumni Association in 2019.

BESAC was officially chartered on March 29, 2019, approximately one year after the 2018 Celebration.

Since 2019, BESAC has hosted several events including two Summer Welcome Weekend Events for incoming students, two homecoming events, and one Cal Day event. BESAC members have also been especially excited to connect with BESSA and BGESS members and participate in several of their meetings and events.

See the BESAC Timeline below!


  • 30 - 50 year Anniversary Celebration & Symposium organized by Carlos Biaou, Kirk Tramble, and Miller Allen 2/10/18

  • Dr. Miller Allen & Kirk Tramble are on the AAI Scholarship Selection Committee 4/18

  • BESAC Picnic at Lake Merritt 9/18

  • BESAC Homecoming Alumni Gathering 10/18

  • Kirk Tramble spoke on the CAA Panel How To Plan For Professional Success While in College 2018

  • Rori Abernethy is a CalTeach Mentor for 2017-2018 academic year

  • BESAC Scholarship/ Endowment Exploration 2018


  • BESAC/BEGESS/BESSA Study Group Program kick-off event 2/27/19

  • Chartered 3/28/19

  • BESAC Website Launch 3/19

  • Cal Day with BGESS/ BESSA 4/19

  • Dr. Miller Allen & Kirk Tramble are on the AAI Scholarship Selection Committee 4/19

  • First General BESAC Meeting 4/20/19

  • Rori Abernethy coordinates the NBA Hoops Science Fair with BGESS 5/19

  • BGESS End of Year Event 5/19

  • BESAC Summer Welcome Party for new students 8/4/19

  • BESAC mentors Cal students 9/3/2019

  • Sather Gate Young Volunteer Award Ceremony. Winner - BGESS President Carlos Biaou (Nominated by BESAC ) 10/18/19

  • BESAC Homecoming Listening Session 10/19

  • BESAC Homecoming Engineering Panel 10/2019

  • Rori Abernethy is a CalTeach Mentor for 2018-2019 academic year

  • Scholarship/ Endowment Exploration with CAA 2019


  • Dr. Miller Allen & Kirk Tramble are on the AAI Scholarship Selection Committee 4/20

  • Cal day with BGESS/ BESSA 4/20

  • Kirk Tramble spoke on the CAA CAL Week Diversity Panel 4/20

  • Summer Welcome 8/20

  • BESAC Membership Meeting 9/20

  • BESAC/ BGESS/ BESSA Leadership Summit 9/20

  • Kirk Tramble spoke at the 2020 Berkeley Charter Gala 10/20

  • Rori Abernethy is on the CAA Town Hall Panel 10/20

  • Dr. Miller Allen is on the CAA Homecoming Panel for students 10/20

  • BESAC Homecoming Engineering Panel (Black in the face of two Pandemics) 10/20

  • Scholarship/ Endowment Exploration with CAA


  • BESAC Black History Panel COVID Vaccines: Science and Facts 2/28/21

  • Dr. Miller Allen and Kirk Tramble are on the BESSA's 2021 All About STEM -Data Science Day Panel 3/21

  • First BESAC Digest sent to members 3/21

  • Rori Abernethy is a CalTeach Mentor for the 2020-2021 academic year.

  • Scholarship/ Endowment Exploration with CAA 2021

CAL Black History Highlights
CAL Alpha Kappa Alpha, Rho Chapter

As I Walk these Paths:

Honoring the Unheralded Courage of the African American Women Pioneers of

the University of California, Berkeley

Essay by Gia White

CAL Alumni and Administrative Director, Global, International and Area Studies

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