Brown University School of Engineering

Engineering Student Organizations

General Interest

Brown Building Society (BBS) is an organization dedicated to facilitating and promoting undergraduate extracurricular building projects. BBS organizes a variety of group building projects of varying complexity and duration. These projects involve a broad range of disciplines and interests. 

Brown CubeSat Project (CubeSat) is dedicated to changing the public perception of the space industry by demonstrating that space technology can be made accessible to non-professionals. Their goal is to foster entrepreneurship outside of university programs and government agencies by designing and building low-cost micro-satellites with simple, reproducible missions. 

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is an organization committed to working on socially-responsible engineering projects and educating students and professionals about such opportunities. The Brown Chapter has worked on local projects both on campus and in Providence, and international projects, including designing a health clinic in Peru. 

  The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is a student-run organization that works to raise awareness of careers in engineering among minority students and to increase the number of minority engineers. NSBE has 270 college chapters as well as alumni and pre-college chaptersacross the country. Brown's chapter of NSBE works closely with other science-related student societies and programs at Brown to promote engineering among under-represented groups and to engage in engineering outreach in the local schools. Brown student members of NSBE attend the organization's regional and national conferences and have been elected to leadership positions.

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is a non-profit organization aimed at supporting and empowering female engineers while making the field of engineering more desirable to women. The Brown University Chapter serves to increase community between female engineers at Brown and help prepare students for their future. The chapter holds school-wide social events, study breaks, as well as professional development and networking events. One of the most popular events is the annual extreme gingerbread competition.

Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) provides students, particularly women and under-represented minorities, with the information and encouragement they may need to stay in the sciences, succeed, and go on to science- and engineering-related work and graduate study. Their events offer a wide variety of resources and support, including individual and group academic support, formal and informal advising and mentoring, career exploration and planning information, access to conferences and professional meetings, and collegial opportunities.

Competitive Teams

Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE), is simply a class of formula car governed by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The cars are open-wheeled, with a maximum displacement of 610 cc, a minimum wheelbase of 60 in, and a mandatory 20-mm intake restrictor. Brown competes annually in the international competition held in Michigan.

International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) is a team of science and engineering concentrators who participate each year in the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mentored by graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty across the science disciplines, iGEM focuses on synthetic biology - the science of creating machines from biological parts.

Concentration Specific, Pre-Professional Societies

Brown Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) is dedicated to serve students and promote biomedical engineering on campus.  Through activities such as social functions, laboratory tours, and presentation by industry speakers, BMES informs students concerning their academic and post-graduation careers, facilitates faculty-students interactions, and builds a sense of community among BMEs.  In previous years, BMES has sponsored trips to local companies, an intercollegiate social in partnership with the BMES of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, as well as a trip to the national Biomedical Engineering Conference at Chicago.

American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) is the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with over 40,000 members from over 90 countries. AIChE has the breadth of resources and expertise in core process industries and emerging areas, including nanobiotechnology. The Brown AIChE chapter sponsors our students to attend the annual AIChE national conference. The Brown chapter also organizes a popular annual liquid nitrogen ice cream event.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), founded in 1884, is the world’s largest technical professional society. It is designed to serve professionals involved in all aspects of the electrical, electronic and computing fields and related areas of science and technology that underlie modern civilization. IEEE has more than 400,000 members in more than 160 countries, including more than more than 107,000 student members and 2,173 student branches at colleges and universities in 80 countries. 

Materials Research Society (MRS), was founded in 1973 as a new interdisciplinary organization for scientists who did not want to be defined by an existing single discipline society. MRS includes over 16,000 materials researchers from over 80 countries. Members come from engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics backgrounds. The Brown chapter is focused on building a dynamic, interactive, global community of materials students and researchers and frequently sponsors talks from people both in industry and academia.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), was founded in 1880 and has grown to include more than 120,000 members in over 150 countries. The Society’s founders were some of the more prominent machine builders and technical innovators of the late nineteenth century, led by prominent steel engineer Alexander Lyman Holley (Brown 1853). Holley chaired the first meeting, which was held in the New York editorial offices of the American Machinist with thirty people in attendance. Robert Henry Thurston (Brown 1859) served as ASME’s first president with Holley serving as vice president.

Honor Societies

Sigma Xi (Sigma Xi) is the honor society of research scientists and engineers. It was founded in 1886 at Cornell University by a group of eight engineering students and a young professor of mechanical engineering--Dr. Frank Van Vleck. Sigma Xi offers opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to share their research internationally with professional scientists and engineers. Membership in Sigma Xi is by invitation. Those who have shown potential as researchers are invited to join as associate members. Full membership is conferred upon those who have demonstrated noteworthy achievements in research.

Tau Beta Pi (TBP) is the only engineering honor society representing the entire engineering profession. It is the nation's second-oldest honor society, founded at Lehigh University in 1885. The mission of Tau Beta Pi is to mark in a fitting manner those who have conferred honor upon their Alma Mater by distinguished scholarship and exemplary character as students in engineering, or by their attainments as alumni in the field of engineering, and to foster a spirit of liberal culture in engineering colleges.