Kevin B. Banks Jr., a biomedical engineering major from Chicago, came to MSOE because he wanted to be challenged. Banks has found all that and more, as he takes on a national role in the collegiate branch of the National Society of Black Engineers. Banks, who has been a member of the MSOE NSBE Chapter since he was a freshman, successfully ran and won the Region IV chairperson election for the national organization. His tenure started May 1, 2018.

“To be honest, it was a bit surreal to be elected,” said Banks, who served as vice president of the MSOE chapter most recently and started campaigning for the national post a year earlier. “It was really a blessing and I was speechless when it finally happened.”

Banks’ interest in biomedical engineering is personal—after losing his paternal grandparents during his senior year of high school, he knew he wanted to bring the engineering mindset to the medical field. “I felt there was more that could have been done to help them live full lives,” he said.

Family means a lot to Banks, who has an older sister, Christina, and parents who’ve been married for 25 years. “I am who I am because of those who have come before me,” he said. “I am keenly aware of the sacrifices that so many have made in order for me to be where I am today.”

As chair of Region IV, Banks will be responsible for representing members in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Central Canada and Central and East Africa. “My impact in this position is global,” he said. “It is really a cool and mind-blowing opportunity, to say the least.”

Passionate about medical care access, financial literacy and STEM opportunities, the sky is the limit for Banks in terms of his career aspirations. While at MSOE, he has had two internships—the first was as a research intern at the Medical College of Wisconsin in the Pathology Department; the second was at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) in Chicago.

“In both of these internship experiences I learned to be a strategic thinker, to go beyond the surface level understanding of a problem or process and to remain inquisitive no matter what,” Banks said. “All of these things have directly translated to how I approach my studies.”

Balancing the demands of school, work and extracurricular activities has been a skill Banks picked up along the way. “The biggest thing that has kept me balanced is managing my time and my expectations,” he said. “Also, my spiritual journey with God. Couldn’t do it without God.”

Banks is a graduate of Lindblom Math & Science Academy, located in the Englewood community of Chicago.