Brown University School of Engineering

Engineering Student Organizations

Project-Based Groups and Teams

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.

The Brown Space Engineering Team (BSE) is dedicated to changing the
public perception of the space industry by demonstrating that space technology can be made accessible to non-professionals. They strive to inspire the next generation of rocket scientists and are on track to becoming Rhode Island's first space program by using low-cost micro-satellites with simple, reproducible missions.

The Rube Goldberg Society is a group dedicated to encouraging critical thinking and problem solving in a non-traditional learning environment, and having fun in the process. Each year, the Society participates in a national competition that involves a comically complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation.

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.

Professional Organizations and Societies

American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) at Brown is a student group focused on creating a community for students concentrating in Environmental Engineering or related Engineering fields. The group’s aim is to spread awareness about Environmental Engineering, discuss the breadth of opportunity in the field, and build upon existing knowledge and skill sets from the classroom through interacting with professionals and fellow students at local Environmental Engineering companies and other universities.

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 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.

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.

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 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 Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) is the leading national organization aimed at motivating Hispanics to pursue careers in STEM. The concept of Networking was the key basis for the organization. The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers quickly established two student chapters to begin the network that would grow to encompass the nation as well as reach countries outside the United States. Forty years since, SHPE enjoys a strong but independent network of over 400 professional and student chapters and over 10,000 members across the nation. SHPE's mission is to change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development. We invite all engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and programmers who support this mission to join our community.

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.

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.

Teaching and Mentoring Groups and Organizations

Brown Alumni Mentoring Program (BAMP) The purpose of the Brown-Engineering Alumni Mentoring Program (BAMP) is to match engineering undergraduates with recent engineering alumni from Brown. The program intends to help students foster long term relationships with mentors in the engineering field, who advise students on topics ranging from course selection to graduate school to working in industry. Ultimately the program helps students gain perspective on life and career after Brown.

Brown Engineering After School Team (BEAST) Members of the Brown Engineering After School Team provide after-school instruction for Providence High School students. They work closely with the Providence After School Alliance to provide an enriching environment outside of the classroom where students take a more active role in their learning. Through hands-on projects such as building trebuchets or solar panel bikes, students gain valuable experience in the STEM fields and earn class credit toward graduation.

ENGN DUG is a group of Engineering concentrators who seek to create a sense of community and promote the diversity of the undergraduate community at Brown. DUGs help students make and strengthen connections with other concentrators, and professors; provide a means for first- and second-year students to explore various concentrations; and enable concentrators to explore potential career opportunities related to their disciplines.

SPIRA Engineering Camp (Spira) is a four week summer engineering camp held at Brown University for rising tenth grade girls. The camp brings together approximately 15 young women from a range of high schools in Rhode Island and helps them explore and understand the interdisciplinary nature of engineering. Spira is taught by 3-4 coordinators, all of whom are undergraduate women studying engineering at Brown University.

STEAM is a student group aiming to explore the interdisciplinary intersections of disparate fields, using the starting point of uniting the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields with creative arts, design and the humanities. The group works in close partnership with RISD STEAM.