US Black Engineer & IT Volume 44 Number 3

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Dr. Darryll Pines takes the helm as the University of Maryland’s 34th President


100k+ workers needed: Everything you need to know about contact tracer jobs Darryll J. Pines, Ph.D. President, University of Maryland

USBE&IT Internship Issue 2020

JobMatch to the rescue! CCG program helps place over 50 students and counting Top students share their intern experiences

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Intelligence Analysis Intelligence Collection Foreign Language Analysis Computer Science Cyber Engineering and Physical Sciences Mathematical Sciences Business, Accounting and Budget Inspection, Investigation and Compliance Law and Legal Services Medical and Occupational Health Security and Law Enforcement Human Resources Education and Training General Administrative Support Communication and Public Affairs Infrastructure and Logistics Paid Internships, Scholarships and Co-Op




Dr. Darryll J. Pines shares his story from assistant professor to the president of the University of Maryland

Darryll J. Pines, Ph.D. 34th President of the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD)

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These Black educators are helping to shape and develop the minds of our future leaders at major universities.

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DEPARTMENTS People and Events.............. 6

Highlights of recent promotions, breaking news on HBCU campuses, and major events happening in the STEM community.

One on One ........................ 8 The coronavirus pandemic impacted the world at historic levels. Many students had their summer internships canceled. CCG’s Ashley Turner lets you know how JobMatch can help.

Education ...........................11

COVID-19 lockdowns forced people across the globe to adapt to a new normal. Here are 5 tips to help you make the most of the disruption.

First Steps ......................... 12 5 scholars share their thoughts and outlook on managing uncertainty.

Corporate Life.................... 16 Elevate your status in the workplace by following these 5 rules of business etiquette.

Career Voices .................... 19

Want to train your brain to solve problems and create solutions? We’ll show you how.

THE CONTINUING NEED FOR HBCUs A generation ago, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights published a pamphlet on historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and higher education desegregation. The March 1991 document was developed in coordination with the education department’s Office of Postsecondary Education. The paper talked about how HBCUs were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to serve the educational needs of Black Americans because Blacks were generally denied admission to traditionally white institutions. As a result, HBCUs became the principal means for providing postsecondary education to Black Americans. The document also quoted President George Bush, who described the unique mission of Black colleges as follows: “At a time when many schools barred their doors to Black Americans, these colleges offered the best, and often the only, opportunity for a higher education.” Today, while HBCUs lead in awarding baccalaureate degrees to Black students in the life sciences, physical science, mathematics, and engineering, many HBCUs have a racially diverse student enrollment at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Also, the majority of HBCUs have a racially diverse faculty and administration, the document said. Under plans accepted by the Office of Civil Rights, HBCUs aim for desegregated student enrollments, programs, and facilities while retaining their historic stature. As the Office of Civil Rights monitors plans to make sure they have been implemented, HBCUs continue to play a major role in enhancing equal educational opportunity for all students regardless of race, including three-fourths of all Black persons holding a doctorate degree, and three-fourths of all Black officers in the armed forces. HBCUs continue to rank high in terms of the proportion of graduates who pursue and complete graduate and professional training. Fifty percent of Black faculty in traditionally white research universities received their bachelor’s degrees at an HBCU.

Leading Voices...................36

• Dr. John Harkless: Quantum: Concepts to Chemistry to Computing • Jamese Sims: Overview of NOAA’s Use of Artificial Intelligence

Tyrone D. Taborn Publisher and Chief Content Officer

Career Outlook..................39

Here’s everything you need to know about one of today’s most in-demand jobs: contact tracing.

Follow us online


Andre Thornton, CEO, Whitman Consulting


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FEBRUARY 11-13, 2021 Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel • Washington, DC

EXECUTIVE OFFICE Tyrone D. Taborn, CEO and Chief Content Officer Jean Hamilton, President and CFO Alex Venetta, Associate Publisher, Manager of Partner Services Eric Price, Vice President, Recruitment and Professional Training EDITORIAL AND CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Rayondon Kennedy, Managing Editor Lango Deen, Technology Editor Michael Fletcher, Contributing Editor Gale Horton Gay, Contributing Editor Garland L. Thompson, Contributing Editor Roger Witherspoon, Contributing Editor GRAPHIC DESIGN Beverly Wladkowski, Art Director Bryan Davis, Digital Director Rachael DeVore, Digital Channel Manager Joe Weaver, Global Design Interactive CORPORATE AND ALUMNI RELATIONS Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, CCG Alumni Committee Chair and President Dr. Eugene DeLoatch, Chairman, BEYA Alumni Group Vice Admiral Walter J. Davis, USN (Ret.) National Chair, BEYA Military Alumni Oliver “Bo” Leslie, Retired Program Manager, Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions, Boeing Monica E. Emerson, Women of Color STEM Conference National Chair Matt Bowman, CCG Military Program Manager, Stars & Stripes Committee; Executive Director/Chief of Staff for VADM Walt Davis, USN (Ret.) Ty Taborn, Esq., Corporate Development SALES AND MARKETING Gwendolyn Bethea, Vice President, Corporate Development Kameron Nelson, Account Executive Jay Albritton, Social Media Specialist JOBMATCH AND STUDENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS Ashley Turner, University & Professional Relations Development Manager Courtney Taborn, Talent Management Specialist Rod Carter, Recruitment Specialist, College Relations Shelia Richburg, College Coordinator

CONFERENCE AND EVENTS Ana Bertrand, Conference Coordinator Jennifer Roberts, Customer Success Manager Brandon Newby, Administrative Assistant Toni Robinson, 360 MMG Rutherford & Associates 17304 Preston Rd Suite 1020 Dallas, TX 75252 ADVERTISING SALES OFFICE

Career Communications Group, Inc. 729 E. Pratt Street, Suite 504, Baltimore, MD 21202 Phone: (410) 244-7101 / Fax: (410) 752-1837



For more information, call us at 410-244-7101 Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: @BlackEngineer

US Black Engineer & Information Technology (ISSN 1088-3444) is a publication devoted to engineering, science, and technology and to promoting opportunities in those fields. US Black Engineer & Information Technology cannot be responsible for unsolicited art or editorial material. This publication is bulk-mailed to colleges and universities nationwide. Subscriptions are $26/year. Please write to US Black Engineer & Information Technology, Subscriptions, 729 E. Pratt St., Suite 504, Baltimore, MD 21202. Copyright © 2020 by Career Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. Like us on Facebook:

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PEOPLE & EVENTS Compiled by Lango Deen


Morgan State graduate Matthew Reed

27,000 HBCU Students Celebrate Graduation with Help from Chase Bank


hase Bank, the consumer and commercial banking subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase, partnered with 78 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to help 27,000 students celebrate their graduation. Hosted by comedian Kevin Hart, the virtual event included a special message from former President Barack Obama, as well as commencement speeches, well wishes, and performances from actors, entertainers, and sports stars. The graduation also featured National Urban League president Marc Morial, Chase Consumer Banking CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett, and academic leaders. Show Me Your Walk HBCU Edition was live streamed on Chase’s YouTube and Twitter channels, JPMorgan Chase’s LinkedIn channel, and HBCU Connect’s Facebook page. “Every student graduating in the class of 2020 deserves to celebrate this moment—they earned it, even more so during a challenging year for our country and the world,” said Duckett. “We are showing up for them because we recognize they are our now and our future, and the way forward is full of opportunity.” S


Graduating students from the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T University won the Most Innovative Design award at this year’s Sandia National Laboratories Senior Design Bonanza. According to N.C. A&T, the team, which was made up of all mechanical engineering students, was outside of its comfort zone but still delivered a working prototype. “We hope this capstone project becomes the tip of the iceberg for increasing Sandia’s investment in higher research at A&T,” Mookesh Dhanasar said in a statement. Dhanasar, a mechanical engineering lecturer and senior design project coordinator, asked for more companies to visit N.C. A&T and discover faculty research project opportunities at the university. This year, Sandia National Laboratories challenged Senior Design Bonanza teams to design a flight accelerometer switch integrated with data acquisition, processing, and communication systems, and able to fit within an egg. The switch, reportedly no bigger than a quarter of the size of a penny, had to detect flight information such as acceleration, velocity, and temperature and relay that data in real time to a ground control station. The competition also required a collection of skill sets, including electrical engineering and computer science, in order to succeed. N.C. A&T participated alongside University of Georgia, The University of Texas at Austin, Rochester Institute of Technology, Howard University, and The University of Colorado Boulder. S

Solve the Problems of Our Generation with Engineering, says CCG Alumni Chair

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Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd is the chair of the Career Communications Group Alumni Association, which brings together winners of Black Engineer of the Year and Women of Color STEM awards. Recently, Boyd spoke to CCG Media about the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) at this time. “Those of us who work in the areas of STEM are also solving the problems of our generation. When we look at things that are part of our lives today, we know there were many who were asking the question ‘what if?’” She was the first Black woman to earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Yale University. S

CCG Launches Becoming an Engineer Publication Career Communications Group’s new publication features stories that teach students how to build a career plan step by step. Becoming an Engineer: A Practical and Creative Guide to Planning a Career in Engineering is designed to introduce young readers to the exciting world of engineering. “Any STEM conversation with young people should start with one question: What is engineering? This practical career guide has real-life stories to inspire young people as they plan their engineering future. That is what Becoming an Engineer is all about,” said CCG publisher and CEO Tyrone Taborn. “We created this publication to help mentors have a meaningful conversation with young people on how to become a scientist or engineer, and encourage our professionals, mentors, and organizations to use this guide as they reach out to our youth throughout the year,” Taborn said.

Danielle Geathers

After 159 Years, Mechanical Engineering Major Makes History at MIT Recently, The Tech, published by the students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), announced that Danielle Geathers and her running mate, Yu Jing Chen, will serve as president and vice president for the Undergraduate Association in the upcoming year. A sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering with a concentration in product design, and a minor in African and African diaspora studies, Geathers is the first Black woman elected to head MIT’s student government. MIT was founded on April 10, 1861. Speaking to The Tech, Geathers said she has always been big on Black female recruitment at MIT, and representation. “It didn’t surprise me that no Black women had been president,” she said. “Someone asked if the UA (Undergraduate Association) president was a figurehead role. I think no, but minimally, a Black female in that role will squash every perception that MIT is still mostly white and male. Minimally, the immediate image of that will make MIT a more welcoming and inclusive place,” she said. As president, Geathers will lead over 150 volunteers in their work to represent students, advocate for their interests at MIT, as well as leverage financial resources to sponsor programs, projects, and events for students. S

‘Crucial Cornerstone of an Institution’s Success Is Measured Through Its Research,’ says TSU President Tennessee State University announced recently that it has exceeded its research awards goal with more than $54 million from funding agencies. With a month still to go in the fiscal year, TSU was on pace to go beyond the most the university has received, which was $54.5 million in 2016. “This is a true testament to the hard work and tenacity of our faculty and staff, particularly as we navigate the financially rough waters caused by COVID-19,” President Glenda Glover said in the statement. “A crucial cornerstone of an institution’s success is measured through its research,” Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president for research and sponsored programs at TSU, agrees. Faculty members say the awards not only further place TSU—a Carnegie R2 designee—in the national spotlight but help to create a pipeline of outstanding workers for a competitive workforce. S




Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center Detroit, MI BEYA STEM GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS CONFERENCE February 11-13, 2021

Washington Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, D.C.

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ONE ON ONE by Lango Deen

GETTING THINGS DONE: JobMatch with CCG’s Ashley Turner Once news of the public health emergency had sunk in, and the country began to close shop state by state, many employers started revoking job offers. For Ashley Turner, who’s worked as a university and professional relations development manager at Career Communications Group (CCG) for four years, it was one of the biggest human resource (HR) crises she’d ever faced.


he fall internship season, which traditionally starts in September, is usually the beginning of a busy year for the self-starter at CCG’s Detroit Metro office. Turner’s job includes matching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) talent like Brenden Dominick, a mechanical engineering major at Oklahoma State University, with internships. During the summer of 2019, Dominick worked as a process


Ashley Turner

University and Professional Relations Development Manager Career Communications Group, Inc.

engineering intern at Boston Scientific, a medical device manufacturer. Other students who did an internship at Boston Scientific include Samantha Schwab, a New American University Scholar majoring in chemical engineering at Arizona State University, and Kendra Currier, who did a process development engineering co-op from August through December of 2019. Currier is majoring in chemical engineering at the University of Toledo in Ohio. Coming off the success of CCG’s BEYA STEM Conference Job Fair in February, Turner was sure she had students like Dominick, Schwab, and Currier ready to launch their careers in the spring of 2020. But COVID-19 lockdowns upended the best-laid plans for more than 300 students and new college graduates.

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Turner used the time at home to max out Jobscience solutions. This time, it wasn’t just teleworking to attract, engage, and recruit candidates; she needed a whole new strategy for keeping employers connected. “I’m literally on Zoom every hour of the day, or I’m texting,” Turner said on Microsoft Teams. “I have two MacBooks going, my iPad, and iPhone.” Turner’s multitasking efforts have been productive. To date, she has placed about 40 STEM college graduates with Ernst & Young, one of the largest professional services firms in the world. “Kohler picked up 11,” added Turner. Like Ernst & Young, Kohler, which manufactures plumbing products, tiles, engines, and generators, takes part regularly in job fairs held at CCG events such as the BEYA STEM Conference in

CCG’s JobMatch specializes in the recruitment and placement of STEM professionals and interns. Its large and growing roster of internship and jobready candidates are actively involved in CCG conferences, college career fairs, community programs, professional development, and career networking events. the nation’s capital and the Women of Color in STEM Conference held every October in Detroit, MI. “I want to try to help as many students (and new graduates) as possible,” Turner said. “I know for a lot of them, they’re not feeling the love from employers, so I have meetings to try and keep their spirits up and figure out strategic ways in which JobMatch can help.”

CCG’s JobMatch specializes in the recruitment and placement of STEM professionals and interns. Its large and growing roster of internship and job-ready candidates are actively involved in CCG conferences, college career fairs, community programs, professional development, and career networking events. CCG focuses exclusively on the promotion of STEM opportunities to historically underrepresented groups.

every way possible to link with a great talent pool. But to be successful at this time, they need to transition as well.”

On campus and in the community, Dominick has served as a Native American student advocate, vice president of the Native American Student Association, and treasurer of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) chapter at Oklahoma State University. At Boston Scientific, he worked on innovative cancer treatments and analyzed experiments submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dominick expects to graduate in May 2021. Turner is confident that she will help everyone find a job. Her day starts at about 8:30 a.m. combing through Salesforce applications and her candidate pool in Jobscience. After reading through tons of emails, she begins video conferencing. She deftly manages Zoom links, video, and audio online meetings with consummate ease.

Although employers like American Express, BAE Systems, and IBM Research have announced a hiring freeze (some suspended with a chance of reinstatement if circumstances change), other companies like 3M, AT&T, Boeing, and Capital One are offering remote internships. “I know HR teams at Boston Scientific Corporation are trying to figure out what’s going to work for them strategically,” Turner said. “But a lot of companies were blindsided by COVID-19. They weren’t ready for virtual. They’re so used to interviewing face-to-face and people coming in to work. People at T-Mobile and Abbott Laboratories (medical devices and healthcare company) were quick to transition to virtual,” she said. S

Turner keeps the door of her makeshift office closed. But when her pit bull, named Doctor, appears on the screen, he knows not to derail the streamlined hiring process. “My message to students is to keep that ambition going,” Turner said. “Take this downtime to better yourself for the workforce. Because work is coming, and it’s going to come full throttle. So, we need them to be ready. For employers, JobMatch is here to assist in

Want to view this story online? Visit our page here:

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GETTING THE MOST OUT OF ONLINE LEARNING COVID-19 has forced people across the globe to adapt to working from home (WFH) For students, the most significant change has been the transition from in-person school to online learning.


chool districts and colleges are preparing to potentially begin the upcoming academic year the same way it left off—virtually. There is no doubt that online learning makes the jobs of teachers and students more tedious, so follow these tips to get the most out of virtual class.

Designate a space

Don’t attend an online class in the same spot that you watch TV, play video games, read, or relax in. Try to sit at a desk away from distractions to best emulate being in a classroom. Designate that space for class only—it will help you focus and make the transition from being in class to having free time even more satisfying.

Create and follow a schedule

During a typical in-person school day, do you devote a set amount of time to certain things—meals, homework, relaxation—in between classes? Do the same from home. The goal is to make the situation feel as much like regular school as possible, and creating and following a schedule is an easy way to separate work and play instead of letting them blend.

Stay connected

The most critical asset to succeed in online classes is, unfortunately, a stable Internet connection. Without one, video and audio feeds will be glitchy, you won’t be able to ask questions or adequately interact with classmates, and it will make the virtual experience incredibly frustrating. When picking your spot in the house, make sure you’ve got three bars of Wi-Fi!

Ax distractions

Online classes make submitting to distractions as easy as ever. You have unlimited access to your computer and phone, one or both of which you’re not allowed to use in an in-person class, and little to no chance of being reprimanded by the teacher. Don’t let your eyes wander. Keep your phone in another room during course time, and only use your computer to hear/see your teacher and take notes. You never know when you’ll get cold called on.

No slacking

Don’t let virtual class be a reason to slack off. Attend class at its scheduled time, even if your teacher records and posts class for students to watch again. Teachers still allot times for extra help or office hours. Use them. Most importantly, DON’T CHEAT, no matter how easy it is. Many schools and teachers require video and audio to remain on and may give less time to complete a test to keep students from cheating. Stay within your morals and prepare and take tests as if they were in-person. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic withers away over the coming months and years, its effects will still linger. Conducting school and business remotely and virtually may become the new normal, and students and workers will have to adapt and develop new habits. There is no doubt the transition to online learning is a challenge, but everybody is capable of making the most of it. S

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FIRST STEPS by Gale Horton Gay

A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER COVID-19 pandemic affects internships, employment, and return to school The summer of 2020 was unlike any other with the world still struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic and developing strategies for reopening businesses and communities. For engineering students, the health crisis has had a myriad of effects— impacting internships, employment, and concerns for the future of education and career.


S Black Engineer & Information Technology Magazine contacted several BEYA award-winning students for their take on how the pandemic affected their summer plans as well as their views on its impact for their future academic lives and professional careers.


Working as a mechanical engineering intern at Microsoft during summer


Melissa Douglas

2019 resulted in Melissa Douglas being offered a full-time role as a mechanical engineer working on laptops and hardware devices at the technology giant in 2020. “Due to COVID-19, I will be working online until possibly November,” said Douglas via email. “That’s especially challenging for non-software students, since not everything can be done online.” Douglas, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Howard University, recalled that securing her internship last year “involved tons of research on the company, networking with past interns and full-time employees, and attending literally every recruiting event on my

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campus—for computer scientists, hardware engineers, business students, you name it.” She added that networking and career experience were tops among what she gained from her internship. “Knowing more about the company you hope to work at is also another major advantage of interning,” explained Douglas, who received a 2020 BEYA Student Leadership Award. “I really liked Microsoft. so, joining…full-time was an easy decision.” She offers the following advice for those interested in securing an internship: “Shoot your shot with a wide variety of companies. It never hurts to network with people (make sure to build relationships instead of just using them

“Every STEM major should make it a goal to have an internship before graduating. It gives you a taste of what things are like in the industry, and the opportunity to demonstrate why a company should give you a fulltime offer after graduation.”

- Chad Jones

to get a job). Use your free time to build skills that you can add to your resume. Interning is very important for everyone, even if you want to build your own business. It’s the fastest way to learn professional, technical, and soft skills with a cohort of driven and successful interns.” Leaving Washington, D.C. and moving to Bellevue, WA, to work at Microsoft presents unique challenges for Douglas as the United States continues to fight the virus while also juggling reopening cities. “Moving out to Washington and beginning the next stage of my life will be a lot more difficult seeing that everything is closed,” she said. “I’m also concerned I won’t be able to have as big an impact at work seeing that I won’t be in the office for the first few months of my career. I’m still optimistic, however, and am looking forward to how I can adapt to this especially new demand.”


Chad Jones’s internship with ExxonMobil this summer as a manufacturing

Chad Jones

engineer was delayed multiple times due to the pandemic.

if he would like to work for the company after graduating in spring 2021.

“It was originally scheduled for the beginning of May and was pushed to the beginning of June,” said Jones via email in May. “It is now scheduled for mid-June.”

“Thus far, my experience with the company has been nothing but positive, and I cannot wait to start the internship,” Jones said. “I am eager to learn as much as possible.”

Jones, a senior at Southern University pursuing an electrical engineering degree who previously interned at GE Aviation, explained the process he went through to get the internship.

Asked for advice to students about acquiring an internship, Jones, a 2020 BEYA Student Academic Awardee, offered three tips:

“I was contacted by ExxonMobil during the fall 2019 semester and invited to attend their Future Leaders Academy (FLA). They flew me out to Houston, TX for three days along with other students from around the country. There were about 40 elite students from HBCUs like Southern University and Prairie View A&M University, along with [predominantly white institutions] like Ohio State University and MIT. Within the three days at FLA, I met my fellow attendees, received a tour of the ExxonMobil Houston Campus, and met with presidents/vice presidents from every company within ExxonMobil. The academy was capped off with a set of interviews that resulted in an internship offer.” Jones said he expected to gain a comprehension of the supply chain process for ExxonMobil and determine

Take a leadership position within a student organization

Attend conferences such as BEYA, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)

Practice interviewing

“Student organizations help your resume and build your character,” said Jones. “The conferences provide a venue for you to be noticed by recruiters. The interview practice teaches you to be comfortable when speaking to recruiters, making you more likely to receive an internship offer. Every STEM major should make it a goal to have an internship before graduating. It gives you a taste of what things are like in the industry, and the opportunity to demonstrate why a company should give you a full-time offer after graduation.” USBE & Information Technology | INTERNSHIP ISSUE 2020


FIRST STEPS Jones added he’s concerned about the impact the pandemic will have on his academic life. “I am hoping the fall 2020 semester will not have to be done online because I gain a greater comprehension of the material introduced in my classes when conversing with instructors face to face,” he said.


Autumn Walters, who has completed three internships during her college career, intended to intern during summer 2020, but her plans were derailed by the pandemic. “I was in the final interview phase for one company and had my applications reviewed by others before quarantine hit,” said Walters, a fifth-year student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “Unfortunately, I have received little to no response since then, which is likely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” She said interning is a “fantastic” way to get work experience and get a feel of what a career is like and for which industry an individual is best suited. “It also allows you to apply the technical and communication skills you learned in school in a real-world setting,” said Walters. “Another benefit is the

Autumn Walters

networking opportunities it presents. Your relationship with your co-workers and the company heads can have a significant influence on potential jobs in the future. You should definitely try to get an internship as early as possible because it’s better to find out you don’t like the work before you get too far in

your major.” Walters, recipient of a 2020 BEYA Student Research Award, is pursuing dual degrees in computer and systems engineering. “While it is unfortunate that I was unable to secure an internship due to the pandemic, I also consider it a blessing in disguise,” Walters said. “Last semester was incredibly mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing, and not having an internship this summer has allowed me some time for self-care…It’s important to treat yourself every so often and to prioritize your health above everything else. No amount of hard work will help if you are tired, sick, and starving, so take care of yourself.”


Clarke Miley, a rising third-year industrial engineering student at Florida A&M University/Florida State University, was offered an internship with Lockheed Martin but declined due to her “extremely rigorous” classes. She said she secured the internship by networking with Lockheed’s representatives at the BEYA conference. “They were extremely friendly and eager to work with aspiring interns,” said the Clarke Miley


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For Autumn Walters the networking opportunities were also a benefit. “Your relationship with your coworkers and the company heads can have a significant influence on potential jobs in the future.”

worried about first-year students who are learning the basics of engineering (calculus, physics, etc.) and how they will be affected later in their academic journey because their foundation wasn’t strong enough.”

well as networking opportunities.”


Michael Lawrence spent his summer participating in a summer internship program with NASA Jet Propulsion Labs doing research on UV and infrared detectors and their failure mechanisms.

He advises students seeking internships to be active at their schools as well as in extra-curricular programs “to build a solid resume for securing internships. Look for internship opportunities as early as possible and participate in organizations such as NSBE and events like BEYA. They present the opportunity to network, gain experience, and help you gain a better idea of potential career paths and continuing education.”

“I was recommended by Demetris Geddis, the assistant dean at my school,

Lawrence added that, “As a student and athlete, this pandemic has taken

2020 BEYA Student Leadership Award winner. “Although I was unable to intern, I was mainly looking forward to gaining experience in the various fields industrial engineering has to offer,” Miley shared via email. “I have always wanted to focus on the health care aspect of industrial engineering, but interning at Lockheed Martin would have allowed me to work closely with professionals who specialize in other fields. This could have potentially sparked interest in their specialties.” She advised looking for internships through conferences such as BEYA and career fairs and suggested practicing an “elevator speech” and doing research. “While in attendance, dress professionally, bring multiple resumes, and network,” said Miley. “Most importantly, stay open-minded!” Miley said she, too, is “extremely” concerned about how the coronavirus will affect her future. “As a STEM student, studying online is not ideal to learn new material,” said Miley. “Our areas of study require visuals, hands-on learning, and lots of one-on-one time with our professors to fully grasp advanced concepts. Not only am I worried for myself and how my knowledge will be affected, but I am

Michael Lawrence

Hampton University, and applied for the program,” he explained. “Because of the pandemic, I was unable to travel to the Jet Propulsion Labs in California but was lucky enough to still have an opportunity to participate, just mostly research-based rather than hands-on and in-person.”

a lot from my college, athletic, and life experience, but I will continue to try to make the most of this time alone to spend with family and focus on personal growth to be prepared for what comes next.” S

Lawrence, a senior studying electrical engineering and a 2020 BEYA Student Athlete Award winner, said in May he hoped to “gain valuable experience both in and out of my area of study/major, as USBE & Information Technology | INTERNSHIP ISSUE 2020


CORPORATE LIFE by Dr. Andrew Lakin


To climb the career ladder, you must gain the respect of your colleagues. Through your actions and your words, you are influencing those around you, and you need to ensure this impression is positive. 16


owever, standing out among a crowd is tricky, and there will always be other people vying for the top spot in the office. To elevate yourself above the others, you have to make the most of every situation.

1. Stand Out at Meetings Through Preparation and Attention

You should look at team meetings as an opportunity for you to shine. The whole group will be there, and your boss will be looking for intelligent input. If you can be the one to provide it, you are sure to leave a good impression. Before every meeting, check the

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agenda and ensure you are up to speed with everything. If you think of any questions, write them down so that when the meeting is underway, you can make a meaningful contribution. Try to arrive early to give you the chance to get settled, and make sure you put your phone on silent. You need to devote all your attention to the meeting, so the last thing you should be doing is checking your phone. If you concentrate and regularly provide useful input, then you will elevate your status within the workforce.

Giving a good impression is what will drive your career forward. If people above you admire and respect your work, your job prospects can only improve.

be wary of. After all, if anyone in the world can see your posts, you can bet that your bosses and colleagues will be checking in. This is not to say you should avoid social media. You should embrace the possibilities it brings. There is a fantastic opportunity to interact with others in your field and expand your knowledge to further your career. You just need to use it properly to give the right impression.

5. Put Thought into All of Your Emails

Nowadays, emails are the main form of communication in the workplace. Before you shoot out any messages, take a moment to check that you are saying what you want to say, and saying it in the right way. It is a challenge to get the right tone in an email, so taking a few moments to check what you’ve written can make a big difference.

colleagues about the work, ask for advice, and share your opinions when asked. All these things will boost your stature.

3. Handshakes Say a Lot in the Business World

2. Embrace the Positives of an Open Office Environment

If you can’t stand an open office environment, then you are not alone. Research has suggested up to 80 percent of people feel uncomfortable working in this way. However, if you work in an open arrangement, then your company has done it for a reason. An open office encourages collaboration and teamwork. If you want to excel in the workplace, then making the most of the benefits is much better than complaining about the disadvantages. Try to talk to your

You will have heard that a firm handshake and direct eye contact are the best ways to give an immediate impression when you meet new people. However, how many people do it? It’s all well and good knowing that is what’s required, but adrenaline can take over, and it’s easy to forget. You will probably feel a bit silly, but practice shaking your own hand in front of the mirror. Look yourself in the eye and give a firm handshake, and it will become second nature when you next get introduced to someone in the office.

4. Consider How You Use Social Media

Nowadays, almost everybody in the workplace uses social media. Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, or you like to post pictures on Instagram, they are all public forums that you should

You should be wary of the “reply all” button. Do you really need to reply to everyone on the list, or should you take a moment to keep the conversation between those it involves? You will have experienced how distracting it can be when an alert pops up, and it can be infuriating if you lose your flow because of an irrelevant email. Save your colleagues from this problem by filtering out anyone who doesn’t need to be involved. Giving a good impression is what will drive your career forward. If people above you admire and respect your work, your job prospects can only improve. If you take a little bit of extra time to consider your actions and prepare for meetings, you will see your stature within the workplace rising. It just takes time. S

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Defining tomorrow with today’s leaders.

Ad At Lockheed Martin, inclusion drives success. We are proud to be named the lead #1 Corporate Supporter of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Engineering Programs for the sixth year in a row. Diverse backgrounds, experiences and points of view help us create incredible work, solve customers’ toughest challenges and engineer solutions around the world. We don’t know what’s going to change the world next, but we’re probably already working on it. Learn more at


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CAREER VOICES by Christopher Zacher


[technical] skills, people skills…” she says, prompting interviewees to reflect on each component of the interview. “Ask yourself how each of these parts impacted the outcome.” More importantly, she implores professionals to go through this exercise even when they’re successful. That way, they’ll know what they’re doing right, and what they should continue to do in the future. “If you get the job, you want to examine which parts of [your] experience impacted you getting the job,” she says.


ngineers think in systems. They understand how one thing works by looking at all its parts, and the relationships between those parts. To Talia Fox, CEO of KUSI Global Inc., however, the value of systems thinking extends beyond traditional engineering. As an executive coach and career consultant, she uses systems thinking to help people re-engineer their thought patterns. “It’s easy to think [about systems] with an airplane because if there are screws missing or a broken wing, that airplane is going to crash,” says Fox, who has consulted some of the world’s top leaders in government, industry, and education. “We have to think about our thoughts in this way, as well.” This is particularly important for people of color working in STEM, she points out, as many scientists and engineers find themselves burdened by adversity, discrimination, and feelings of insecurity. “There’s an issue with diversity in STEM,” she says, “but there’s also an unspoken issue of people asking themselves, ‘Can I do this? Am I good enough? Will I make the cut?’ Those thoughts don’t serve

you well.” Instead of dwelling on insecurity, Fox encourages professionals to engage in meta-cognition, the practice of thinking about one’s own thoughts. She advises people to ask themselves where their negative thoughts come from and how they relate to past experiences. The goal of this exercise, she explains, is to understand each thought so that it can be overcome and rebuilt as a positive one. “You have to take an inventory of your mind,” she says. “The goal is to spend more of your time thinking in the direction where you want to go—your life, success, and goals are going to move in the direction of the things you think about most.” Borrowing from systems theory, she also encourages professionals to think about every problem as a series of interrelated parts. If someone is turned down for a job after an interview, for example, she advises them to look at each part of the interview—and themselves—as a potential problem. “You have who you are as a person, your outfit, how you present yourself, your

Fox emphasizes that professionals should also think about every problem from other peoples’ perspectives, too. After all, every person in each situation has their own motives, goals, and ways of thinking. “You may think that you’re qualified for a position,” she says, “but are you qualified from a manager’s perspective? From a diversity recruiter’s perspective? From the perspective of a CEO or director?” Each of these perspectives, she points out, is a unique part of the problem at hand. Examining every perspective can help professionals to understand why situations didn’t work out in their favor, and to prepare for similar situations in the future. Fox reminds us that thinking about these questions is a productive way to work through problems. And unlike self-doubt, it can lead to positive results. “If you spend your time thinking about these problems, you won’t have time to focus on insecurity,” she says. “You’re strategizing; you’re investing in thoughts that put you in a position to maximize opportunity, and you’re hyping yourself up to get excited and ready for those opportunities.” S

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March 11, the World Health Organization announced that a pandemic had been sparked by the coronavirus. On March 13, a national emergency was declared in the United States. The threat of COVID-19 put a stop on travel and “normal” everyday life. To slow the spread of the virus, the world was forced to quarantine itself and accept a new way of living. Businesses shut down, forcing employees to work from home or worse, be laid off. Schools closed their doors and most students finished the year through virtual and online classes. Perhaps one of the most significant adjustments we’ve had to make was canceling graduation ceremonies. The final chapter for many students, the opportunity to celebrate all their hard work and effort, in front of their family and friends, was not possible. Although students still earned their degrees and many virtual events and celebrity shoutouts to the class of 2020 tried to make up for the lack of ceremony, for many, it just won’t be the same. Here at Career Communications Group, Inc., we know we can’t give you a graduation, but we can celebrate your accomplishments in other ways. Here is a special tribute to the class of 2020. Here are a few of our scholars’ thoughts on what this experience has meant to them:


Mechanical Engineering, Summa Cum Laude Alabama A&M University “My collegiate experience at AAMU has resulted in immense self-identification and productivity. My involvement 20

with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering, and the AAMU Honors Program has instilled in me the necessary foresight to bring about change.”


Computer Science University of Maryland, Baltimore County “This graduation was to commemorate and conclude all the hard work and sleepless nights I endured in the past four years of my academic journey. This was meant to usher me into the working force and be celebrated for all my accomplishments as an undergraduate.”


Electrical and Computer Engineering Lafayette College “Graduating to me means setting the precedent for my loved ones and those that follow. As a first-generation Jamaican immigrant student and a first-generation college graduate, this milestone in my life means that I have honored everyone that has guided me and walked with me through this journey.”


Computer Science University of Maryland, Baltimore County “College graduation means celebrating the hard work not only that I put in, but also the work my parents have put in to get here. It means proving the statistics that say my success is impossible wrong. It means the beginning of a new journey to even greater heights.”

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Computer Science, Minor: Economics Towson University “College, beyond the education, of course, has helped me meet amazing people and allowed me to grow in ways I never thought I would. College has made me more open and accepting and has gifted me lifelong friendships. College has helped mold me into a truly better version of myself.”


Mechanical Engineering Florida International University “Graduation is just the start to accomplishing my ambitions. There is a whole world that I have yet to fully experience, so to consider graduation as the finish line would be wrong. Everything up until now was just a warmup.”


Mechanical Engineering George Mason University “My college experience at George Mason University was full of wonders. Going in as a freshman, I had no idea what to expect. But once I was settled, GMU became home. I joined a few organizations such as National Society of Black Engineers, Women of Color in Stem, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. that greatly impacted my life. I met lifelong friends and gained sisters. As I enter the real world, I am now a Black female mechanical engineer, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me.” S


Check out some of our inspiring student stories on our YouTube page:

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Leading Black


In May, as many universities planned their return to campus for the fall 2020 semester after the COVID-19 disease spread and its public health impact, the University System of Maryland announced that its institutions will welcome students back to campus in a hybrid fashion, combining at least some on-campus, in-person instruction with remote learning. by Lango Deen


in the year, at University of Maryland, College Park, the state of Maryland’s flagship university and one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents appointed Darryll J. Pines, Ph.D., as the 34th president of the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). Pines has spent 25 years on the College Park campus and served as dean of the university’s A. James Clark School of Engineering. His appointment was effective July 1. Also starting a new job on July 1 was Gregory Washington, chosen to lead the largest and most diverse public research university in Virginia. Speaking as George Mason University president-designate in February, Washington said the institution started off as a two-year commuter program, and in less than 50 years, it has advanced to a full-fledged comprehensive Research 1 institution. Later, he added, “You guys have really propelled this rocket ship into orbit. I’m that little capsule that’s sitting on the top just hoping to take it to the next space,” he said. Washington was also the first African American to be made dean of an engineering school in the University of California system.


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On March 26, the Olin College Board of Trustees announced the selection of Dr. Gilda A. Barabino to become the second president of Olin College of Engineering, effective July 1. Throughout her career, Barabino has been driven by a desire to prepare future engineers to use their training toward societal impact. The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (or Olin College) is a private undergraduate engineering college in Needham, MA. Olin College is reportedly noted in the engineering community for its small size, project-based curriculum, and for covering half of each admitted student’s tuition through the Olin Scholarship. As the road to college presidency continues to extend beyond the academic posts that typically lead to the presidency, the American Council on Education (ACE) found that in 2016 more than 40 percent of minority college presidents had served as chief academic officers, provosts, deans, or in other senior executive roles in academic affairs. At least 25 percent had served as president or interim president in 2016, rising incrementally from 2001. Our list of top minority leaders in higher education features some of the longest-serving college presidents, as well as new presidents, and provosts since 2020.


Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) since 1992, is a consultant on science and math education to national agencies, universities, and school systems. He leads a university that has been recognized as a model for inclusive excellence by such publications as U.S. News & World Report, which for the past 10 years has recognized UMBC as a national leader in academic innovation and undergraduate teaching. Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time magazine (2012) and one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News (2008), he is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Council on Education’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2018) and the University of California, Berkeley’s Clark Kerr Award (2019). Hrabowski’s 2013 TED talk highlights the “Four Pillars of College Success in Science.” His most recent book, The Empowered University, written with two UMBC colleagues, examines how university communities support academic success by cultivating an empowering institutional culture.

Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski

President of UMBC (The University of Maryland, Baltimore County)


Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D. The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., has served as the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute since 1999. A theoretical physicist described by Time magazine as “perhaps the ultimate role model for women in science,” Jackson has held senior leadership positions in academia, government, industry, and research. She is the recipient of many national and international awards, including the National Medal of Science, the United States’ highest honor for achievement in science and engineering. Jackson served as co-chair of the United States President’s Intelligence Advisory Board from 2014 to 2017 and as a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology from 2009 to 2014. Before taking the helm at Rensselaer, she was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1995 to 1999. She serves on the boards of major corporations that include FedEx, IBM, and PSEG, where she is lead director. Jackson holds an S.B. in physics and a Ph.D. in theoretical elementary particle physics, both from MIT.

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D. President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Dr. M. Roy Wilson Dr. M. Roy Wilson became the 12th president of Wayne State University on Aug. 1, 2013. During his inauguration in April 2014, Wilson, a leading physician focused on the themes of academic excellence, biomedical knowledge and research, innovation, creativity, diversity, and what public universities must do to respond to market forces, said he felt “truly fortunate to have experienced the challenges of the urban core culture, to have been immersed in diversity at both the local and global level, to have experienced the thrill of discovery of new knowledge and educational excellence where the highest of achievements for

Dr. M. Roy Wilson President of Wayne State University

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the public good was an expectation.” In the fall of 2018, Wayne State announced that it admitted its largest incoming class ever, a 15 percent increase over the prior year. The university’s six-year graduation rate earned the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ 2018 Degree Completion Award, which recognizes innovative and successful approaches to improve degree completion and ensure educational quality. Wayne State’s graduation rate gains were especially pronounced among first-generation, low-income, and minority students, according to the university.


Sean Decatur

Sean Decatur

President of Kenyon College

Sean Decatur became the 19th president of Kenyon College in 2013. Under his leadership, Kenyon has attracted its most diverse and academically talented incoming classes in history. Prior to assuming the Kenyon presidency, Decatur served as a professor of chemistry and biochemistry and as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Oberlin College from 2008 to 2013. From 1995 to 2008, he was an assistant and associate professor of chemistry at Mount Holyoke College, where he helped establish a top research program in biophysical chemistry. He was a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2004 to 2005. Born and raised in Cleveland, OH, Decatur earned his bachelor’s degree at Swarthmore College and his doctorate in biophysical chemistry at Stanford University. Decatur was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2017 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019. He currently serves on the Science Education Advisory Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


Kurt L. Schmoke

President of the University of Baltimore (UB)

Joanne Berger-Sweeney

President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience 24

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Kurt L. Schmoke Kurt L. Schmoke was appointed as the University of Baltimore’s eighth president on July 7, 2014. Prior to joining UB, he was dean of the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C., from 2003­–2012. Following that, he was appointed general counsel for Howard and served as the institution’s interim provost. Schmoke served as the mayor of Baltimore from 1987-1999 and was the Baltimore City State’s Attorney from 1982-1987. After completing three terms as mayor, Schmoke returned to the practice of law. He became actively involved in the National Bar Association and the American Bar Association, serving a term as chair of the Council on Racial and Ethnic Justice of the latter. He has provided countless hours of pro bono legal services to charitable organizations such as the Children’s Health Forum. Later, Schmoke’s commitment to public service led him to focus on increasing Howard University’s bar passage rate when he was the law school’s dean and to expand its clinical law program to emphasize environmental justice, fair housing, and civil rights. Schmoke earned his undergraduate degree in history from Yale University. While at Yale, he co-founded a childcare center that has been in continuous operation as the Calvin Hill Day Care Center and

Kindergarten since 1970. He pursued graduate studies on a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University and earned his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney Joanne Berger-Sweeney was inaugurated as the 22nd president of Trinity College on Oct. 26, 2014. Since becoming president, she has overseen major accomplishments, including the development of the college’s strategic plan, Summit, which will guide Trinity toward its bicentennial in 2023 and beyond, and the creation of the Bantam Network mentoring program for first-year students. Additional achievements under BergerSweeney’s leadership include the college’s thriving partnership with edX, one of the world’s premier online course platforms. Under Berger-Sweeney’s leadership, Trinity College is a key partner in the Hartford/East Hartford Innovation Places Planning Team selected in June 2017 to receive a share of $30 million in state funding to spark economic development and investment in innovation. Before coming to Trinity, BergerSweeney served as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University (2010–14). Before Tufts, Berger-Sweeney was a member of the Wellesley College faculty, which she joined in 1991 as an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and rose through the ranks to become the Allene Lummis Russell Professor in neuroscience. She also served as director of Wellesley’s Neuroscience Program. BergerSweeney received her undergraduate degree in psychobiology from Wellesley College and her M.P.H. in environmental health sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. While working on her Ph.D. in neurotoxicology from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Berger-Sweeney did the proof of concept work on Razadyne, which went on to be the secondmost-used Alzheimer’s drug in the world.

Dr. Chris Howard President of Robert Morris University

Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. President of Radford University


Dr. Chris Howard Dr. Chris Howard became the eighth president of Robert Morris University (RMU) on Feb. 1, 2016. Before coming to RMU, Howard was president of HampdenSydney College, a Virginia liberal arts school and one of the oldest colleges in the country. Before that, he was vice president of the University of Oklahoma and director of its Honors College Leadership Center. A distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, and a Rhodes Scholar, he earned a doctorate in politics (D.Phil.) from the University of Oxford. He also has an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School. Howard earned a Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan and served with the elite Joint Special Operations Command and as the Reserve Air Attaché to Liberia. One of 13 members of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, Howard was an Academic All-American as a running back at Air Force and winner of the Campbell Trophy as the nation’s top football scholar-athlete.

Gilda A. Barabino

President of Olin College of Engineering

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Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.

Daryll J. Pines, Ph.D.

President of the University of Maryland at College Park

Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., became Radford University’s seventh president on July 1, 2016. President Hemphill faithfully represents Radford University on the national scale with active involvement in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, including the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association Presidential Forum. His road to Radford University has taken him from the University of Arkansas–Fayetteville, where he served as associate vice chancellor and dean of students, to Northern Illinois University, where he served as vice president for student affairs and enrollment management and associate professor for eight years; to West Virginia State University, where he served as the 10th president and professor for four years. Hemphill earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration and policy studies from the University of Iowa, a Master of Science degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University of Science and Technology, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in organizational communication from Saint Augustine’s University. He is a published author with a multitude of writings covering topics related to gun violence and threat preparedness on college campuses; emerging financial concerns affecting the collegiate sphere; STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics); and economic-related issues pertaining to education.


Gilda A. Barabino

Dr. Gregory Washington President at George Mason University

Gilda A. Barabino became the second president of Olin College of Engineering, and professor of biomedical and chemical engineering, on July 1. Prior, she was dean of The Grove School of Engineering at the City College of New York (CCNY). Before joining CCNY, she served as associate chair for graduate studies and professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. She also served as Georgia Tech’s inaugural vice provost for academic diversity. Prior to that, she spent 18 years at Northeastern University, rising to the rank of full professor of chemical engineering and serving as vice provost for undergraduate education. Barabino serves as a member of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Engineering; the congressionally mandated Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering; and the American Association for the Advancement of Science Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy. She is currently the chair of the American Society of Engineering Education Engineering Deans Council. She sits on the board of trustees for VentureWell, Associated Universities, Inc., and the Xavier University of Louisiana. Barabino earned her B.S. degree in chemistry from the Xavier University of Louisiana and her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Rice University.

Reginald DesRoches, Ph.D. Provost, Rice University 26

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Darryll J. Pines, Ph.D. Darryll J. Pines, Ph.D. is the new president of the University of Maryland. Pines’s tenure at the public research university in College Park, MD began on July 1. In an announcement from the Office of the Chancellor, Dr. Jay A. Perman praised Pines’s long and distinguished service to UMD. “This is the first major appointment since I became chancellor, and it’s something that I felt we had to get absolutely right—so I couldn’t be more pleased to see Darryll Pines appointed as the next president of the University of Maryland, College Park,” Perman said. In 2019, Pines was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his “inspirational leadership and contributions to engineering education.” Board of Regents Chair Linda Gooden said in a statement that “Dr. Pines brings to the position a wealth of experience. I know I speak for the entire board when I say we’ve found precisely the right person for this important job— College Park will indeed be in good hands.” Pines has served as both dean and the Nariman Farvardin Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Clark School since January 2009.


Dr. Gregory Washington Dr. Gregory Washington, a three-time graduate of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, was appointed the eighth president of George Mason University this spring. He joined George Mason on July 1. Most recently, he served as the dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at University of California, Irvine. He earned bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from NC State and is currently a member of the NC State Engineering Foundation’s board of directors. “I am honored to accept this position and thrilled to lead Mason at this exciting time,” Washington said. “What attracted me to Mason was its reputation for having real impact, providing access, and for its commitment to inclusive excellence. Those values are in direct alignment with how I operate as an academic leader. I look forward to helping continue to accelerate the trajectory of the institution.”


Reginald DesRoches Reginald DesRoches became provost of Rice University on July 1. Together with the deans and vice provosts, the provost’s office supports excellence in all the university’s academic, research, scholarly, and creative activities. DesRoches previously served as the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering starting 2017. As dean, DesRoches led a strategic planning process for the School of Engineering, expanded the engineering faculty by nearly 20 percent, and strengthened collaborations with the Texas Medical Center. Under his leadership, the school launched a new minor in data science as well as the Center for Transforming Data to Knowledge, which provides students with immersive learning opportunities working with companies and community organizations. DesRoches also established a

John O. Aje, D.Sc.

Dean of the School of Applied Science and Technology Thomas Edison State University

Master of Computer Science online program and led several international initiatives in China and India to bolster research and recruiting efforts. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in the New York City borough of Queens, DesRoches credits his love of science and math and his interest in “tinkering with things” with leading him to pursue engineering. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2020.


John O. Aje, D.Sc. Dean, Heavin School of Arts, Science and Technology Dr. John O. Aje joined Thomas Edison State University as dean of the School of Applied Science and Technology in August 2013. Prior to joining the college, Aje was the associate dean for Academic Affairs of the University of Maryland University College, the Graduate School, in Adelphi, MD. Additionally, Aje was the chair and collegiate professor for the Technology and Engineering Systems Department as well as acting chair of the Technology and Engineering Systems Department for the University of Maryland University College, the Graduate School. Aje earned a DSc in engineering management, an M.S. in engineering management from George Washington University, an M.S. in textile science/engineering from the North Carolina State University, and a B.S. in textile science/technology from Clemson University. He brings an impressive leadership record to Thomas Edison State University, having held toplevel administrative positions as well as developing effective academic programs for applied technology students. S

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PINES DA R RY L L J . P I N E S A P P O I N T E D 3 4 T H P R E S I D E N T OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND Former dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering has long legacy of academic achievements

by Lango Deen

DR. DARRYLL J. PINES has risen to the dizzy heights of University of Maryland president. But when he joined the public research university in 1994, dreams of becoming an engineering dean or college president were the furthest thing from his mind.


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“I WAS LUCKY TO EVEN GET A JOB,” Pines said in a telephone interview with Black Engineer magazine. “The only thing that was on my mind then was ‘Do I belong here? Will I get tenure?’” Since joining the faculty as an assistant professor in 1994, Pines has spent his entire career at the University of Maryland. He said he sees the job of college president as a position where he can give back to the university that has been so good to him. In 2019, Pines was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the second dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland to be elected to the NAE. The association, which has more than 2,000 peer-elected members who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers, cited Pines for “inspirational leadership and contributions to engineering education excellence in the United States.” As dean of the engineering school with over 6,000 students, Pines led the improvement of teaching in undergraduate courses and raised student retention, achieved success in student competitions, placed new emphasis on service learning and societal challenges, promoted science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education among high school students, increased the impact of research programs, and expanded philanthropic contributions to the school. Pines was also instrumental in securing a $219.5 million investment— among the largest gifts ever to a public university—from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation. “Building Together: An Investment for Maryland” is funding scholarships campuswide, as well as graduate fellowships, faculty positions, infrastructure, and other initiatives.

Family, colleagues, community, and leadership

Pines has served as director of the Alfred P. Sloan Doctoral Scholars Program and secretary of the Board of Directors for the National GEM Consortium Fellowship


Program. During his time as dean (2009–2020), the percentage of women and underrepresented minorities in the UMD engineering undergraduate student body has grown to 25 and 16 percent, respectively. “To be recognized among engineers who I’ve long considered role models is a deeply humbling honor,” Pines said when he was formally inducted at the NAE’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 6, 2019. “I would not be here without the support of my family, colleagues, and leadership team.” Pines is married to Sylvia, who majored in public health administration and played lacrosse at West Chester University, and they’re proud parents of Donovan, a biology major at the University of Maryland, and Kalala (Ka-lay-la), who majored in biology at UMD and is now a doctoral candidate in physical therapy at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Donovan, who plays as a central defender for D.C. United in Major League Soccer, previously played three years of college soccer for the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2018, his team won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men’s soccer championship. In a Feb. 12 statement, Chancellor Jay A. Perman, MD, said the selection of Pines as the 34th president of the University of Maryland, College Park should be well received across the system, which includes Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; University of Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and the University of Maryland Global Campus. “I’ve known Dr. Pines and his work for quite some time, and I believe he’s exactly the right kind of leader at exactly the right time for an institution of College Park’s prominent stature and incredible growth potential,” Perman

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said. “I’m especially grateful that Darryll and I share a passion for ensuring that any Marylander who desires a higher education has the opportunity to receive one.” During the celebration of Pines’ appointment on Feb. 19, Gary Attman, regent and chair of the search committee, said he looks forward to working with the new president. “We are lucky at UMD to have attracted him as our 34th president,” said Gregory Ball, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and vice-chair of the search committee. Pines said he will work to inspire Maryland pride across the campus, the state, the nation, and the world. On the phone with Black Engineer magazine, Pines said his appointment reflects the work of his parents and mentors who assisted him from college to graduate school to multiple employment opportunities. “It’s also reflection of the University of Maryland’s trust, one of their native sons, who understands their values and missions, and can best represent it going forward,” he said. Born in Oakland, CA, Pines’s parents worked blue-collar jobs. His mother, he said, married his father in Liverpool, England while his father served in the USAF overseas. They returned to the U.S. from England and decided to relocate from the racially segregated South to job opportunities on the West Coast. “They allowed us to be the next generation and have advancement in education and our careers,” he said of the opportunity afforded him and his two siblings. Starting March 30, and continuing through the end of this academic year, all classroom instruction at UMD is being conducted virtually. How will a public, land-grant research university adjust to a post-pandemic world in the third decade of the 21st century? Pines said he hopes that he will leverage the watershed moment that hasn’t been seen since the 1918 influenza pandemic, one of the most severe pandemics in recent history. “What the University of Maryland does

going forward matters even more as it relates to humanity,” he said. “As we turn to this new chapter, these uncertain times also require we take risks and be bold in moving forward. “

“To be recognized among engineers who I’ve long considered role models is a deeply humbling honor,” Pines said. “I would not be here without the support of my family, colleagues, and leadership team.”

Serving the public good will be his focus, he said. “It will be one of the five pillars of my presidency, as well as the policies, strategies, and incentives to move the entire campus. As Robert Kennedy once said, ‘one can only achieve greatness if one is willing to rake risks,’” he said. According to the Baltimore Sun, Pines will oversee a campus of more than 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and a $2.1 billion operating budget. S

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Walmart InfoSec team talks about leveraging STEM to build a world class team According to Walmart’s website, you can use technology, data and design to power the future of retail and enable new ways for customers to shop, associates to work and the enterprise to operate.

What does the Technology and Information Security unit do in one of the world's largest organizations? How is Walmart demonstrating innovation? Walmart’s Global Technology division is made up of thousands of technologists across Bentonville, AR, Silicon Valley, Bangalore, India and beyond. At Walmart we like to say we are people-led, tech empowered – and our Global Tech team is all about building capabilities to power our associates and save our customers time and money. We are made up of Segments that span across our three major business units – Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club, and Walmart International – and Horizontals like Data, Platforms, Core Services, Global Business Services, and Information Security. Within Infosec we look for high performing talent with Critical knowledge in the areas of Cryptography, Cloud Security, Identity & Access Management, Digital Forensics, Advanced Malware Prevention, Incident Response, Networking and Systems Engineering, and Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC). Through pursuit of this talent we build high functioning diverse teams capable of taking on any situation. It is critical that Walmart execute against a robust information security

technology strategy that meets the needs of technology and business partners while ensuring security is in place to maintain our status as the most trusted retailer. To aid in this effort, we must hire the best and brightest talent we can find and recruit from diverse pools of resources. If you not yet heard of ViperMonkey, it is a VBA Emulation engine written in Python, designed to analyze and de-obfuscate malicious VBA Macros contained in Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher). Kirk Sayre, one of our Incident Management associates, is the primary developer and maintainer of this Open Source tool. We use it as part of an automated process to quickly identify when new maldocs are created and used to attack our environment. We were recently notified that the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center is leveraging this tool extensively in their mission to protect critical infrastructure and perform counterterrorism work. It is amazing that the work Kirk is doing is not only being used to protect Walmart but is used to protect our country. We are humbled and honored to work alongside such bright and capable associates. Well-done, Kirk! Kierra Smith, a Senior Software Engineer and graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a historically black college and university, developed the Walmart initial MFA credential provider for the company. Brenda Pacheco became the first one in her family to obtain an undergraduate

Gary Simms Sr., Distinguished Architect, Information Security Strategist, Walmart 32

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Career Areas • Cybersecurity • Data Science and Analytics • Information Technology • Product Management Technology • Project and Program Management Technology • Software Development and Engineering • UX Design degree when she graduated from George Mason University in 2018. As cyber threats increasingly emerged, her interest grew and led her to obtain her Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity Strategy and Information Management from The George Washington University in May 2020. During her short time with the company, she has learned on-prem Identity Access Management skills while managing identity for a 2.2. millionmember ecosystem. Brenda now splits her time managing on-prem identity and access management as well as learning Microsoft Azure Cloud Identity. This technical knowledge allows her to better serve her customers while maintaining a security focus. Vanessa King joined Walmart with vast experiences from Telecommunications, Banking, and Major League Baseball which helped mold her into the dynamic Cybersecurity resource she is today. She graduated from Rutgers University in 2010 with a degree in Information Technology. Her immense levels of experience and education allowed her to add value to the team immediately. Vanessa is currently

focused on efficiently optimizing reporting in the Identity Access Management environment to allow faster analytics to better manage Identity across the Walmart digital ecosystem.

Why is it important to recruit people of color and veterans at events like BEYA? It is critically important that we create an inclusive culture that drives creativity of thought through partnership and collaboration with a diverse set of resources and capabilities. Events like WOC, BEYA, and other such diverse platforms provide us the opportunity to recruit innovative and creative humans capable to help evolve our IT and Cyber Security organizations.

How will a virtual internship contribute to this strategy? Virtual internships allow extended support mechanisms to address capacity and demand management challenges that have strategic impact on business

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Walmart employees Vanessa King, Kierra Smith, Brenda Pacheco, and Kirk Sayre.

imperatives. These virtual internships provide talent utilization and resources required to execute on strategic priorities and aspirational goals regardless of their geographical location. Walmart’s internship program has been a differentiator in Walmart’s talent pipeline for years. Looking at InfoSec alone, many interns over the years have converted to full-time hires and remain at Walmart today.

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Walmart’s internship program has been a differentiator in Walmart’s talent pipeline for years. Looking at InfoSec alone, many interns over the years have converted to fulltime hires and remain at Walmart today. What will virtual internships do to contribute to the different functional areas? Virtual internships will provide alignment with various functional areas within Walmart to diversity of thought to the organizational operations and allow for new and emerging insights as the interns participate in design thinking sessions and innovative projects. Virtual internships are a contributing component of functional area delivery. Interns will work on real-world projects and deliver solutions that are directly related to functional area goals and objectives.

What sort of skills, qualifications, and certification should applicants have for internships with Walmart Information Security? Interns should be self-starters (proactively engage with others and initiate work activity, at some level, on their own). A good number of students today have their security+ and are involved with Infosec specific student groups. Interns should be studying Information and Cybersecurity and have some background in information systems and engineering.


Interns should be comfortable connecting with others in a virtual format to include virtual collaboration and communication.

Why are virtual internships popular currently? Virtual internships are popular at this current time in corporate America due to the constraints of the global pandemic of Covid19 and the need to accommodate a remote workforce. Additionally, it aligns with the way the millennials and gen x students are accustomed to working via social media and digital platforms. Virtual internships can provide employers with a larger pool of candidates (i.e., employers are not restricted to specific locations). Virtual internships likely align well with today’s interns – they are accustomed to online/virtual communications and typically excel in that way of working.

eDiscovery and Forensic Services Laboratory The eDiscovery and Forensic Services Laboratory (eD&FSL) is accredited under the internationally recognized standards defined by ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) National Accreditation Board (ANAB). The Accreditation is an independent confirmation that the laboratory meets or exceeds the standards for technical competence and effective laboratory administration. The eDiscovery Team focusses on assisting in identifying, collecting and processing ESI (Electronically Stored Information) both structured and unstructured data sources in support of Walmart’s Worldwide Legal portfolio. The Forensic Services Team assists Global Investigations with technical expertise as they collect and obtain evidence ranging from the various WM systems, laptops and mobile devices. The FS Team also consists of an internal team dedicated to Hard Drive repair and recovery of data from the most technical devices in their environment. Most recently they have added a Forensic Video Unit which supports the collection, enhancement and analysis of all Walmart Video obtained in major incidents and/or investigative support. All of these associates within the Laboratory are certified in their area of expertise and come to Walmart with various

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backgrounds and technical knowledge.

Tell us about Walmart’s Live Better U Program? Live Better U launched a year ago, and associates have been jumping at the opportunity to earn a college degree for just $1 a day. Since its launch, more than 7,500 Walmart associates from all 50 states have been accepted into at least one of the programs.  To help prepare even more associates for the future, we are expanding our Live Better U education benefits to include 14 new technology degrees and certificates for – also for $1 a day. These developing options include cyber security, computer science, computer and network security, and computing technology —on top of the business and supply chain degrees currently offered. We won’t stop there because in the coming months, we plan to add even more educational opportunities in additional fields, so if you do not see a degree that matches what you’re interested in, stay tuned. We are also offering high school students a bridge to the future by extending access to the full menus of Live Better U’s learning programs to our younger associate base.

2020 BEYA participants Jerry Geisler, Chief Information Security Officer: We must double down on BEYA to recruit people of color, women, and military talent present at the event. Nick Givens, Senior Director II, Security Engineering and BEYA Award Winner: We saw an amazing amount of diverse talent at BEYA. It a great talent pipeline that we need to have a greater stake in going forward to grow the organization. Melissa Yandell, Senior Director, Identify and Access Management: The diversity and caliber of talent at BEYA was extremely impressive. BEYA provides a forum for connecting with future leaders in the STEM fields, it draws the type of motivated, skilled, individuals we are always looking to recruit into our company. To Learn more information about the many opportunities at Walmart, please visit

SAVE THE DATE FEBRUARY 11-13, 2021 Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel • Washington, DC




For more information, call us at 410-244-7101 Like us on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter: @BlackEngineer

Dr. John Harkless, Associate Professor, Chemistry, Howard University

Quantum: Concepts to Chemistry to Computing US Black Engineer & Information Technology (USBE&IT) magazine launched the maiden issue of Leading Voices (LV) in the fall of 2017. Broken up into three or four columns written by inventors, entrepreneurs, and STEM policymakers, the section spotlights the 14 challenges outlined by the National Academy of Engineering, and disruptors such as artificial intelligence (AI) and bioengineering. During its three plus years, LV has provided perspectives on smart cities, building a weather-ready nation, and where AI is in your future. An auspicious start for one of USBE Magazine’s newest sections. Leading Voices is available in print and online at

Leading Voices Contributing Editors ......................... Dr. John Harkless

Associate Professor, Chemistry Howard University

Dr. Jamese Sims

Senior Physical Scientist NOAA AI Demo - Weather Forecasting

Quantum mechanics explains the behavior of atomic and subatomic matter, and it has foundational roots in physics. Chemists, however, took quantum mechanics from physics and used it to elevate themselves to higher understandings in their science. They are now teaming up with other physicists and experts across the discipline to bring computing into development. In order to connect these dots, our next phase involves advancing chemistry to bring some context to the central science. “Chemistry” as a science is defined as the organization, characterization, and manipulation of matter. In other words, we turn “stuff” into other stuff. We can tell you what that stuff is, what it used to be, and how all of those things are actually put together. In the early days of chemistry, before we had access to all the tools and insights from quantum mechanics, we had people like Percy Julian. Julian was a faculty member at Howard University who eventually moved on to Glidden and established Julian Laboratories. Julian was the first to synthesize physostigmine, one of the oldest medications, and one of the first to treat glaucoma in the 1800s. It doesn’t really matter what exactly the compound is, though. What’s important is Julian’s genius-level insight and intuition, which allowed him to synthesize this molecule and establish the basis for synthetic hormone chemistry. The entire industry that exists today is indebted to his insights. What is even more remarkable is he did not have quantum chemistry to assist him. He simply had his own imagination and understanding of that science and transformation. In this modern age of science, and unlike Julian, we can aid our chemical intuition by using quantum mechanics and computational chemistry. This allows us to better understand and articulate the rules of organization. We can also understand structure and function, and we can use that to predict behavior when it’s time to


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do those manipulations (in other words, when we turn stuff into other stuff). By having that tool in our toolkit, we are able to do better chemistry, and more of it. Let’s suppose there is a candidate molecule that is going to do wonderful things for us regarding a problem, such as sickle cell disease. In the absence of this aid to chemical intuition, we would literally have to churn through thousands of candidate molecules. Because we can use quantum mechanics to improve our

The promise of this work includes one of the main things you’ve most likely heard about: the ability to make and break encryption.

understanding of what it is we’re looking at, we can now narrow our solutions down to five promising options. Synthesizing five potential solutions is much easier than attempting the same with thousands, as is running tests and trials on five versus thousands. Plus, we won’t have human collateral damage in the process of doing so. This is a really important factor, and it’s an idea that Julian helped usher into how we do chemistry to this day. Quantum mechanics is interesting because it enables us to improve our chemical intuition. It is very different from classical mechanics and the everyday physics we know. If I were to take a ball, for example, lift it, and let it go, it is going

Leading Voices to drop, hit the floor, and stop. Likewise, if I took that same ball and threw it, it would likely hit the wall and stop. These examples are rudiments for classical mechanics. Quantum mechanics are the rules for very tiny things like molecules. Because these laws apply to microscopic components, things can get “weird,” so to speak. If I dropped or threw a molecule, I would not expect it to hit the floor or wall as the ball did. It’s the same when we consider quantum computing. However, we take advantage of some of those weird things that happen when we do quantum mechanics. I say “advantage” intentionally because I had my training in graduate school as a theoretical chemist. That basically means I perform chemistry without the benefit of chemicals. It’s a field that did not exist back in the earlier days of chemistry, but we have been able to grow it into something that really works well for us. I used more classical computing in my work that used a very black-and-white system of 1’s and 0’s from the computing world. Computational chemistry took advantage of the fact that we got increasingly faster computers over the years. We got increasingly parallel computational schemes to be able to capture thousands of computers at one time and use them for some of our most complicated chemical problems. By understanding the quantum mechanics behind that, we gained the ability to do several key things: develop new paths for manipulation, expand our ability to do characterization, and prove certain things about what we thought were limits of what we could detect and determine from our molecules. Because we had that refined sense of how to do manipulation and characterization, we were able to do a much better job of articulating how organization works. Those three pieces of chemistry were all enhanced by our ability to do chemistry without chemicals. The last bit of technology that we need in order to step it up another notch is the ability to move beyond the black-andwhite 1’s and 0’s of classical computing. Every possible outcome in quantum mechanics has a probability, and those probabilities have amplitudes associated

with them. This is where the “weirdness” from quantum mechanics comes into play. Until we try to see what happens, and until we peek behind that curtain to see what’s going on, everything has the potential to happen. All probabilities and amplitudes are waiting for us to investigate them to understand how they work. The idea behind quantum mechanics is that we use those probabilities and amplitudes to investigate the “everything” that could happen. Once we make an intelligent choice regarding how we will look behind the curtain to see what actually happens, then we get that single, final result from our quantum computer. We are experts at designing molecules, which are very tiny quantum mechanical objects. We can use those molecules, intelligently designed, to serve as the thing that acts as a quantum bit, or qbit. Remember that classical computing has its 1’s and 0’s. It is very black and white because those are the only values they can have. However, because the molecule would be that quantum mechanical object with probabilities that allow for “everything” to happen until we look to see what actually happens, then we are able to effectively teach a computer shades of gray, in a manner of speaking. This will allow it to have that diversity of views regarding the world around us that can’t always be captured with a strict 1 or 0. So, we chemists make the molecules, but physicists are the people who write and are able to determine all of the rules for quantum mechanics. They are the ones who can set up the qbits to mimic whatever system the classical 1’s and 0’s cannot. That becomes a starting point of quantum computing. That’s the premise. The promise of this work includes one of the main things you’ve most likely heard about: the ability to make and break encryption. Currently, if we have classical computing, it’s possible to create encryption that cannot be broken by other classical computers. A quantum computer, though, would be able to break that. Similarly, if we have quantum computers developing encryption, then we can have unbreakable encryption based on quantum computing. We have to build a better toolkit in order to reach that promise.

There are two people in our industry working to do exactly that. Alan AspuruGuzik is currently a faculty member at the University of Toronto. He and I were labmates in graduate school, and we stayed in communication over the years. He started Zapata Computing, which focuses on delivering algorithms and solutions around quantum computing. He is also the science adviser for Kebotix, a lab that offers innovation in new, disruptive chemistries and materials. Closer to home, Thomas Searles is a physicist in the Physics department at Howard University. He and I are a part of a team that is working to bring back the Roaring 20s in a brand-new fashion with the Harlem Quantum Renaissance. It is this vein of cross-cutting approaches and ideation that we need. We need extremely diverse teams, diverse disciplines, and diverse ways of thinking about these applications in order to truly build that better toolkit and make these things happen. What does all of this mean for us? Quantum mechanics made us think, see, and create in new ways. It is important that we continue to join forces across disciplines and work together to develop this new toolkit. If we can team up with different people who bring a host of diverse perspectives, then we will be able to invent, visualize, and solve in ways we have never seen before. That is the promise of what we do. S

Check out Dr. Harkless full presentation at BEYA’s “An evening with BEYA’s Leading Voices”

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Dr. Jamese Sims, Senior Physical Scientist, NOAA AI Demo - Weather Forecasting

Predicting the Future: How Artificial Intelligence Can Improve the Way We Understand Our Environments and Weather Patterns I t is not surprising that many of us get a little nervous when we think about the use of artificial intelligence. We become even more uneasy when we consider using it in weather forecasting. Much of this anxiety is due to the misunderstandings and misconceptions about the use of AI in predicting outcomes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is responsible for providing forecast, monitoring, and guidance on conditions from the ocean to the sun. We do this through the use of satellite data, numerical weather prediction and super computers, radar, and unmanned systems, just to name a few of the technologies that we use. In 2019, weather and climate disasters caused $14 billion in damage. It is our responsibility to prepare a weatherready nation in order to support disaster preparedness, response, and restoration. NOAA has been using AI methods for over 25 years, by providing transformative advancements in the quality and timeliness of NOAA science, products, and services. From ocean robotics and environmental mapping to model parameterization and automated WX warnings, implementing AI algorithms has helped the administration provide faster and more reliable results. These NOAA AI projects support big data initiatives by reducing compute time and operating costs, as well as providing data to partnering agencies that are ready for usage in AI methods for disaster response and risk management. An example of the use of AI includes the National Ocean Service and National Weather Service researchers partnering to use AI to detect rip currents from coastal imagery. This is important because rip currents are a cause of death for many surfers. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) help


initialize our forecast models, allowing NOAA to take the data we receive from the satellite and input that into forecast models for numerical weather predictions, which is how broadcasters are able to announce the weather predictions.

An example of the use of AI includes the National Ocean Service and National Weather Service researchers partnering to use AI to detect rip currents from coastal imagery

However, it is in our failures where we learn the lessons that propel us toward technological advancements. We experienced this type of failure with our GOES-17 satellite. The main instrument, the advanced space line imagery, had experienced what we call a loop heat pipe anomaly, meaning that the instrument does not cool properly at night. This is unfortunate, because if a natural disaster such as a tornado happened at night, the impact and fatalities could be significantly greater without proper predicting. The GOES-17 were expected to provide us with leading data, however the imagery was degraded and unusable. One of the current mitigation proposals for this is to use AI, the same algorithm that detects facial imagery from our cell phones, in order to overcome the missing images that we have from the satellite. This is not operational just yet, but this is

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one potential direction for us to go in to give us the data we need to provide even more accurate forecasts. Another example of how NOAA uses AI is through neural networks with an AI-based ensemble model. Ensemble models use data from several different forecasting models in order to reduce the sharpness and minimize the false alarms that we see in some of our outputs. It is extremely important for us to properly warn the public when to and when not to take action, which is why it is critical for us to process data in a way that ensures we are giving the public accurate information. AI has brought transformational improvement in performance, skill, computing, and cost. As we look to the future, we hope to implement AI by providing better organization and coordination, resource opportunities, and research into applications by partnering with cooperative institutes and science centers, which includes HBCUs and minority-serving institutions. Our mission is to continue promoting a current and future workforce that is trained in AI. Together with NOAA’s unmanned systems, omics, and cloud strategies, the NOAA AI strategy will not only significantly improve performance in our life-saving and economically impactful missions; it will accelerate our renowned environmental science and technology leadership through the 21st century. S

Check out Jamese Sims full presentation at BEYA’s “An evening with BEYA’s Leading Voices”


CAREER OUTLOOK NOW HIRING: 300,000 CONTACT TRACERS When Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), spoke with NPR in early April, he said his agency is working on a plan to safely reopen the United States. According to Redfield, the initiative will involve ramped-up testing and “very aggressive” contact tracing to “block and tackle.” A


Contact Tracing: Fighting the Novel Coronavirus


Contact Tracing: America Needs ‘An Army of 300,000 People’


People to Know

Washington, D.C.-based group, which aims to help agencies expand contact tracing teams, has called contact tracing the largest civilian mobilization since World War II. In this edition of Career Outlook, we look at why the CDC is asking America to train a large contact tracer workforce, and why one former CDC director said state and local public health departments need to hire 300,000 people from the ranks of “college graduates, people working at social service agencies, social workers, child health workers, and people doing Meals on Wheels.”



According to the CDC, contact tracing has been used for decades. It is a core disease control measure employed by local and state health department personnel and will be a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19. The CDC recommended that communities across America scale up and train a large contact tracer workforce that will work together across public and private agencies to stop the transmission of COVID-19. Various job advertisements for contact tracers have called for candidates with a least a four-year high school diploma or its educational equivalent approved by a state’s Department of Education. What Contact Tracers do in Public Health • Contact tracers trace and monitor contacts of infected people.

• Many make calls from call centers to conduct phone interviews with people diagnosed with COVID-19.

• Contact tracers gather information about a case, elicit the case’s contacts, notify and educate any household/close contacts who are present during the interview, and assess case and household contact needs for services to support isolation/quarantine, including medical care.


The CDC notes that contact tracing is a specialized skill. It requires people with training, supervision, and access to social and medical support for patients and contacts. The CDC says that requisite knowledge and skills for contact tracers include: • Understanding the medical terms and principles of exposure, infection, infectious period, potentially infectious interactions, symptoms of disease, pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic infection, and • Most importantly, understanding patient confidentiality. According to the CDC, six skills that contact tracers need are: 1. Ability to conduct interviews without violating confidentiality (e.g., to those who might overhear their conversations) 2. Excellent interpersonal, cultural sensitivity, and interviewing skills such that they can build and maintain trust with patients and contacts 3. Basic skills of crisis counseling, and the ability to confidently refer patients and contacts for further care, if needed 4. Resourcefulness in locating patients and contacts who may be difficult to reach or reluctant to engage in conversation 5. Understanding of when to refer individuals or situations to medical, social, or supervisory resources 6. Cultural competency appropriate to the local community

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Candidates for supervisory contact tracer positions were required to have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, and two years of full-time satisfactory experience in a public health program, or an associate degree from an accredited college or university, including or supplemented by 12 semester credits in health education or health, social, or biological sciences; and four years of experience. The salary for this position was $65,000. In New York, job advertisements required: • Public health experience and training • Experience supervising diverse teams • Experience working with different communication styles • Ability to be respectful, sensitive to, and understanding of the diverse perspectives of staff and work with them to resolve differences • Ability to understand the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to interact professionally with people from diverse cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds during a time of crisis and distress. In addition, candidates were required to show a commitment to supporting communities who have experienced systemic oppression and bias (e.g. people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and immigrants).




The United States declares a public health emergency.

Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the plan to reopen the United States will involve ramped-up testing, and, “very aggressive” contact tracing to “block and tackle.” By mid-April, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced an initiative aimed at speeding innovation, development, and commercialization of COVID-19 testing technologies. During the last week of April, the New York City mayor’s office, in partnership with a nonprofit organization announced 1,000 contact tracer positions. At the end of April, the CDC published a document highlighting the basic principles of contact tracing.



March 16 — The first participant received the investigational vaccine designed to protect against COVID-19 at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle.

APRIL May 18 — Moderna, Inc. announced positive interim clinical data of mRNA1273.



JULY Aug 16 — Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced the launch of a program that will provide regular COVID-19 testing and contact tracing to school staff, students and their families.

First person in the United States with a confirmed case of the 2019 novel coronavirus.


May 21 — The Trump administration and AstraZeneca announce a collaboration to speed development of a COVID-19 vaccine called AZD1222.

June 16 — HHS Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Will Be Free for Some.

July 22 — Dr. Robert R. Redfield statement on SARSCoV-2 infections says CDC estimates that there were 10 times more cases than reported from the period where they have been examining antibody data: March through May.

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Contact Tracing:

America Needs ‘an Army of 300,000 People’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Robert Redfield has called for “substantial expansion of public health fieldworkers” to undertake aggressive contact tracing. He called the campaign “block and tackle.” Other experts have said state and local governments will have to train people and have a system that works. In this section, we look at where contact tracing jobs will be, what employment options will look like for people entering this field, skills/focus areas/majors/trades people will need to have/acquire in order to obtain these jobs, and starting salaries.


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ormer CDC director Tom Frieden told STAT that America needs “an army of 300,000 people.”

STAT is a magazine focused on health, medicine, life sciences, and the business of making medicines. It provides insights on changes in the life science industry. During the last week of April, the New York City mayor’s office, in partnership with a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of the health and well-being of all New Yorkers, announced new contact tracer positions. The City was looking to hire 1,000 people by the end of May with an immediate start date. On May 1, Ventris Gibson, director of the Washington, D.C. Department of Human Resources, said that its 900 Contact Trace Force jobs involve speaking remotely with those who have had the virus and others who have come into close contact with those who have had it. Various job advertisements for contact tracers have called for candidates with a least a four-year high school diploma or its educational equivalent approved by a state’s Department of Education. Across the country, contact tracer job advertisements called for people with public health backgrounds to investigate and trace COVID-19 cases and contacts. According to the scope of work, job requirements, salary, benefits, and application guidelines for New York, candidates with health-related professional experience or public health training were preferred. By April 28, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, which was hiring, training, and supervising a contact tracing team across St. Louis County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, had stopped accepting applications. With a projected 300,000 contact tracer jobs available, we took a look at what contact tracers do in public health systems around the country. Contact tracers trace and monitor contacts of infected people. Many make calls from call centers to conduct phone interviews with people diagnosed with COVID-19. Contact tracers gather information about a case, elicit the

case’s contacts, notify and educate any household/close contacts who are present during the interview, and assess case and household contact needs for services to support isolation/quarantine, including medical care. The CDC notes that contact tracing is a specialized skill. It requires people with training, supervision, and access to social and medical support for patients and contacts. The CDC says that requisite knowledge and skills for contact tracers include understanding the medical terms and principles of exposure, infection, infectious period, potentially infectious interactions, symptoms of disease, pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic infection, and most importantly, understanding patient confidentiality.

With a projected 300,000 contact tracer jobs available, we took a look at what contact tracers do in public health systems around the country. According to the CDC, six skills that contact tracers need are:

• Ability to conduct interviews without violating confidentiality (e.g., to those who might overhear their conversations) • Excellent interpersonal, cultural sensitivity, and interviewing skills such that they can build and maintain trust with patients and contacts • Basic skills of crisis counseling, and the ability to confidently refer patients and contacts for further care, if needed • Resourcefulness in locating patients and contacts who may be difficult to reach or reluctant to engage in conversation

• Understanding of when to refer

individuals or situations to medical, social, or supervisory resources • Cultural competency appropriate to the local community Candidates for supervisory contact tracer positions were required to have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, and two years of full-time satisfactory experience in a public health program, or an associate degree from an accredited college or university, including or supplemented by 12 semester credits in health education or health, social, or biological sciences; and four years of experience. The salary for this position was $65,000. In New York, job advertisements required:

• Public health experience and training • Experience supervising diverse teams

• Experience working with different communication styles

• Ability to be respectful, sensitive to,

and understanding of the diverse perspectives of staff and work with them to resolve differences • Ability to understand the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to interact professionally with people from diverse cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds during a time of crisis and distress In addition, candidates were required to show a commitment to supporting communities who have experienced systemic oppression and bias (e.g. people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and immigrants). The World Health Organization says people who closely watch contacts after exposure to an infected person, help the contacts to get care and treatment, and prevent further transmission of the virus perform a monitoring process called contact tracing, which can be broken down into three basic steps:

1. Contact identification 2. Contact listing 3. Contact follow-up S

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Now Hiring

Contact Tracers

with Public Health Experience

A paper

published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information called “Contact tracing to control infectious disease: when enough is enough” said contact tracing (also known as partner notification) has been the primary means of controlling infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Beyond the primary means


of controlling infection, you have the second and third line of defense in public health. That’s where people like William Carter Jenkins come in. He passed away in 2019, but Jenkins spent much of his career working to expand the ranks of minorities in a field that works to control infectious disease and reduce environmental hazards. Jenkins and the other professionals

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you will read about in People to Know work in a variety of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields in epidemiology. Epidemiologists monitor the spread of diseases and work to understand their causes and develop solutions. The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), a membership organization located in Washington, D.C., has listed about 10 common areas of study in epidemiology.

PEOPLE TO KNOW by Lango Deen

They include biostatisticians and informatics professionals who collect and analyze hard data, and community health specialists whose work involves the many social, political, and biological issues that influence the overall health of a community or region. William C. Jenkins, commonly known as Bill Jenkins, received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Morehouse College in 1967 and became one of the first Black Americans recruited

to the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. After earning a master’s degree in biostatistics from Georgetown University in 1974, he went on to receive a master’s in public health in 1977 and a doctorate in epidemiology in 1983, both from the University of North Carolina. While working as a professor at Morehouse, he established a Master of Public Health program and partnered with the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to form a summer internship designed to boost the public health skills of minority students. It’s said he once estimated that more than half of the African Americans with a doctorate in epidemiology had been trained through the program and related activities. In his obituary, his wife, a former epidemiologist at the CDC and public health professor at the University of North Carolina, said, “He was always

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CAREER OUTLOOK a stalwart in making sure the research he was involved in was highly ethical.” She added that “he got involved several times at CDC in objecting to planned studies, trying to make sure a study was not started, or was revised to the point where it would have a better, ethical approach.” Jenkins was also part of a group of historians, bioethicists, and health professionals. He taught epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, helping found an annual minority health conference at the school, and established the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues, an affiliate of the American Public Health Association. According to American Job Centers, funded by the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, and CareerOneStop, sponsored by the Department of Labor, new job opportunities are likely for epidemiologists. MPH Online says the epidemiologist job outlook on a national level is positive. Quoting the Bureau of Labor Statistics, MPH Online said that roughly 34 percent of all jobs in the field are in state government. There are also opportunities working for a city or town. Many epidemiologists work for the federal government, in agencies like the CDC or the Department of Health and Human Services.

What do epidemiologists do?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics describes epidemiologists as medical detectives—searching for clues to determine how and why people get sick. According to the CareerOneStop blog, they look for patterns of disease in human populations and develop ways to prevent and control outbreaks. They collect data in many forms and present their findings to government groups and the public. Like any detective, an epidemiologist must sometimes go on location to find out more about the cause and effect of a disease in a community. They may conduct interviews to identify who is at most risk and develop explanations for how a disease is spread. They often publish important findings in medical journals, which may lead to beneficial new public health 46


Where do epidemiologists work?

Most work for government agencies such as the CDC, or state health departments. Epidemiologists also work at universities, hospitals, research facilities, and pharmaceutical companies. They may specialize in areas such as environmental epidemiology, emergency preparedness, or chronic diseases. Public Health Online, which began in early 2014 to provide students, parents, and readers with information about health topics and careers, says the job duties of an epidemiologist revolve around gathering medical and health information from the field, research or historical data, analyzing the data collected, and presenting the findings. Those findings can then be used to discover how diseases originate, spread, and can be treated. Public Health Online said even though many diseases are no longer harming humanity the way they used to, epidemiologists are still important today. However, the specific day-to-day job duties of an epidemiologist differ depending on the organization they work for and whether they primarily focus on research or the application of research to public health issues. People who investigate and describe the distribution of disease and develop the means for prevention and control have different job titles, CareerOneStop says on its website. These include nurse epidemiologist, public health epidemiologist, research epidemiologist, state epidemiologist, communicable disease specialist, infection control practitioner (ICP), chronic disease epidemiologist, epidemiology investigator, epidemiologist, and environmental epidemiologist. CareerOneStop found that 50 percent of workers in this field have a Ph.D. or doctoral or professional degree, 24 percent have master’s degrees, and another 24 percent hold a bachelor’s degree. Only 1 percent of the workforce have associate degrees. MPH Online, an online resource for public health students, says when it comes to a career

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in epidemiology, you do not need to obtain a Ph.D. to start. You can start in your career with a master’s degree or master’s degree in public health to work in a lab, government agency, or a similar role. Some states require an occupational license to work in this field.

People to Know

Rao Uppu is the James and Ruth Endowed Professor of Environmental Toxicology in the College of Sciences and Engineering at Southern University Baton Rouge (SUBR). Uppu attributes his success to his more than 20 years of research in chemical/ molecular toxicology and over five years of field research experience in molecular epidemiology. Uppu has been adjudicator for several Ph.D./DSc theses. In 2007, Uppu was honored as the university-wide researcher and professor of the year. He also received SUBR’s Business and Industry Cluster Quality Award (2011), Telugu Association of North America Excellence in Science Award (2011), SUBR Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2013), and the Becoming Everything You Are (BEYA) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Innovators Award. Crystal M. James is head of the Department of Graduate Public Health at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, AL. She is also director of the public health program and associate professor of graduate public health. James is a 1994 biology graduate from Clark Atlanta University. She earned a JD from the University of Houston Law in 1998 and a Master of Public Health from Emory University Environmental & Occupational Health in 1996. Her research interests are public health law and legal intervention. Dr. Wayne H. Giles became the dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in 2017. UIC is the only fully accredited school of public health in the state of Illinois. Prior to joining UIC, he spent 25 years at the CDC. His portfolio at the CDC included running activities in community health promotion, aging, school health, and racial and ethnic



Pharmacy Chains

CVS Pharmacy Walgreens Walmart Stores Inc. Rite Aid Corporation Cardinal Health Inc.

Average Salaries for Epidemiologists

(Source: 15 BEST JOBS IN EPIDEMIOLOGY MPH Online, epidemiology-careers)

» Average salary for a research epidemiologist is around $90,500 per year. » Average salary for an epidemiologist working in a government position is around $69,600 per year.

» A climate health epidemiologist earns an average salary of roughly $50,000 per year. » The salary for an epidemiologist in clinical trial research is around $70,000 per year. » A disaster epidemiologist, who investigates the effects of a disaster on a population’s health, can expect a salary of roughly $70,000 per year.

» A salary for an epidemiology investigator, who identifies the cause of a disease or

addresses the risk factors associated with a condition, averages around $75,000 per year, though starting salaries are slightly lower than average at roughly $40,000 per year.

disparities in health. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the CDC’s Charles C. Shepard Award in Assessment and Epidemiology. Giles earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Washington University, a master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of Maryland, and an M.D. from Washington University. Kim Dobson Sydnor, Ph.D. is currently dean of the School of Community Health and Policy at Morgan State University and serves as associate professor for the Department of Behavioral Health Sciences. In addition, Sydnor is the site director for the W.K. Kellogg Community Health Scholars program—the communitybased participatory research track. Sydnor’s research is broadly interested in the social determinants of health, which are those conditions and circumstances that shape both the behavior and health status of individuals and communities. In addition to her teaching, research, and administrative roles, Sydnor helps to build the next generation of public health leaders as a mentor and an active member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. In April 2014, Sally S. Cherry celebrated her 40th year in laboratory science and was featured in the American Society for Clinical Pathology ONE Lab News for 2014 Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Week. Cherry’s professional training and experience includes service as a city health laboratory coordinator, international GTI consultant, national training laboratory instructor, and

» An epidemiology manager or administrator takes on a leadership role within a

medical facility or an institution and may need a higher level of education than the average epidemiologist.

» An epidemiology professor can expect to make an average of $64,000 per year. » A field epidemiologist can expect to earn around $68,000 per year. » A hospital epidemiologist makes an average income of around $69,600 per year. » The average salary for an infection preventionist or infection control epidemiologist is around $98,000 per year.

» A molecular epidemiologist can expect a median salary of roughly $69,600 per year. » The role of a pharmaceutical epidemiologist is to work with pharmaceutical

companies to make decisions about the drugs developed for the population. A pharmaceutical epidemiologist makes an average salary of roughly $69,000 per year.

STD/STI lab consultant. After several years as a medical technologist at Union Memorial Hospital, Cherry worked at the Baltimore City Health Department—Bureau of Disease Control as the laboratory coordinator. This position led to a career opportunity related to medical laboratory training. As a laboratory consultant, STI laboratory instructor, American Society for Clinical Pathology member, and ASCP-certified medical technologist, Cherry is passionate about the integration of 3D virtual worlds technology into real-life laboratory and health programs to enhance training and awareness. Dr. Allen Bennett is president and CEO of Park West Health Systems (PWHS) located in Northwest Baltimore. Bennett has been with PWHS for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of Howard University

College of Pharmacy and the University of Illinois, School of Public Health. For nearly 50 years, the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health has strengthened public health outcomes and interrupted social and economic disparities in communities. The school has prepared public health practitioners, researchers, academic faculty, policymakers, and activists whose work focuses on positively shaping health outcomes. Dr. Patricia Bennett has over 24 years of experience in health care. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Morgan State University, followed by a master’s degree in biology from Atlanta University. Bennett received her doctorate of podiatric medicine from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. Her background includes clinical research and public health. Bennett is a long-term member of

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CAREER OUTLOOK CDC’s National Diabetes Education Program with experience as a national lecturer on the medical and surgical complications of the diabetic foot. Dr. Charles Brown is assistant professor at Tennessee State University. His areas of expertise are communitybased behavioral health programs and services. A 2001 biology graduate from Tennessee State University, he earned his Ph.D. in 2005 at Middle Tennessee State University after earning a M.Ed. from Belmont University in 2002. He teaches principles of public health education at the graduate level and undergraduate courses in healthcare research methods, trends and issues in health care, introduction of healthcare organization, health promotion and disease prevention, consumer health, and ethics and professionalism for health professionals. Brown’s primary research interests include conducting formative and summative evaluations in the area of behavioral health, specifically focusing on substance abuse, mental health, and HIV/AIDS prevention among individuals residing in urban and rural communities. Dr. Mathilde (Matty) Knight, currently an associate professor of biology in the Division of Sciences and Mathematics within the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the District of Columbia, was recognized at the 2019 Women of Color STEM Conference for her contributions to science with the Outstanding

In 2019, MPH Online, which focuses on public health programs across the country, put together its top programs for 2019. Its rankings are based on programs it found provided quality, affordability, and opportunity. Professional Leadership Award. Knight has worked on schistosomiasis-related research since 1982. She established a molecular biology laboratory at a nonprofit research institute dedicated to researching neglected tropical diseases, particularly schistosomiasis. Her laboratory initiated studies that successfully described genetic variations between parasite-resistant and susceptible snails. Her more recent research interest is enabling researchers to dissect mechanisms that can be disrupted to block the parasite’s development in the snail host. Dr. Jemal Gishe is an assistant professor at Tennessee State University. His areas of expertise are biostatistics, epidemiology, research methods, and mathematics. Courses he has taught at the graduate level include principles of epidemiology, biostatistics, and real analysis. His undergraduate courses include health promotion and disease prevention and advanced engineering mathematics. Gishe has expertise, experience, and interest in applications of statistical methodologies: categorical, survival, and longitudinal data analysis; exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis; and generalized linear mixed models. He collaborates in the area of public health, agriculture, sports, and nutrition and has an interest in health disparity studies, prostate cancer, obesity, and community-driven interventions. As a biostatistician, he has experience working in the area of clinical trials for Momentum, a contract research organization. S

1. University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health

2. University of Washington School Of Public Health

3. University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health

4. UCLA Fielding School of Public Health 5. University of Minnesota 6. Texas A&M University Health Science Center

7. George Washington University—

Milken Institute School of Public Health

8. Harvard University Chan School of Public Health

9. University of Illinois at Chicago’s

College of Applied Health Sciences at UIC

10. Emory University—Rollins School of Public Health

11. Columbia University—Mailman School of Public Health

12. University of South Florida 13. USF College of Public Health 14. University of Michigan 15. The University of Maryland, College Park

16. The University of Iowa College of Public Health

17. Johns Hopkins University—Bloomberg School of Public Health

18. Yale University 19. Saint Louis University—College of Public Health and Social Justice

20. University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

21. The University at Albany—School of Public Health

22. UT Health Science Center at Houston 23. University of Massachusetts, Amherst 24. Drexel University—Dornsife School of Public Health

25. University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health

26. Boston University Master of public health programs focus on:

• Biostatistics • Epidemiology • Health policy and management • Population or community health


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