US Black Engineer & IT Volume 38 Number 1

Page 1

Role Models in Pursuit of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics


Celebrating 28 Years of Modern STEM Brilliance BEYA Winners, Special Recognition & Emerald Honorees, Science Trailblazers USBE&IT Conference Edition 2014

Stephanie C. Hill

President, Information Systems & Global Solutions Civil product line Lockheed Martin Corporation

The Minds that Drive Science and Technology nd a p U ng: i Com n-Day er Mod Leaders Tech


We all want to be part of an exciting and diverse company with excellent career mobility. At Chrysler, we are in the business of nurturing passionate and talented individuals to help us lead the automotive industry of the future. You have the skills. We have the drive. Let’s get there together.

O u r j o u r n e y b e g i n s a t w w w.c h r y s l e rc a re e r s.c o m

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Bringing Great People & Great Organizations Together Each person is different, and so is each career opportunity. That’s why at Aerotek we find out what’s important to each individual and each company to find the perfect fit. Every time. Aerotek would like to recognize the following contractors for receiving awards at the 28th BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference. We applaud you for your hard work, innovation and commitment to achieving success. Dwayne Armbrister, Science Spectrum Trailblazer Marcus Rugger, Modern-Day Technology Leader David Tran, Modern-Day Technology Leader Rafael Valdez, Science Spectrum Trailblazer

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Special Recognition Honorees...............................36

They stand out for recognition because of their achievements in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and in their communities.

Modern-day Technology Leaders.................................46 Young, rising stars succeeding in their careers, using technology to enhance performance, and opening doors to the underrepresented in STEM

One on One..............................9 USBE&IT magazine recently talked to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Member of U.S. House of Representatives about his work.


People and Events..................7

BEYA honorees who continue to accomplish, even after breaking major barriers and reaching great heights. Stephanie C. Hill President, Information Systems and Global Solutions-Civil Product Line, Lockheed Martin Corporation

Profiles in Innovation

2014 Black Engineer of the Year COVER STORY...............................18 In the career of Lockheed Martin’s Stephanie C. Hill, we can discern the sweep of history. A computer engineer whose technology exploits contributed materially to the strategic power of U.S. military arms. Hill has climbed the corporate mountain to levels that would 2 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

not have been believed possible in her parents’ generation.

Black Engineer of the Year Award Category Winners......22

The best and brightest prepared by way of education, training, and professional and life experience tell of how they have accessed opportunities and rewards.


On Campus............................ 13 DOE funding gives boost to HBCUs

Book Review.........................66 At BEYA we are surrounded by people of rare intellect which is why USBE&IT asked each of the 2014 BEYA STEM winners to share what book they’ve found to be most impactful on their career.

TS Vo l u m e 3 8 N u m b e r 1

Best Practices for Success

The Next Level......................63

Two Maryland engineers are using their knowledge, experiences and passions as the foundation for showing young people the path to STEM careers.

Science Spectrum

Science Spectrum Trailblazers...........................53

Visionaries blazing trails through uncharted areas for those coming up behind them

Titan of Science | 2014 Scientist of the Year............................69

Anthony Ng’oma is a highly accomplished research scientist and an expert in optical fiber and wireless communication. But if you ask the secret to his success, Ng’oma offers two simple answers: daring to dream and a love of reading.

2014 Emerald Honorees........71

Commending minority scientists’ vital work with diverse faces of modern science.

Career Outlook.................79

PUBLISHER’S PAGE The future they say is always beginning now. A new Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) era started in February 2001 when Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, became the first woman to win the BEYA. Two years later, Lydia W. Thomas, then president and CEO of Noblis Inc. (formerly known as Mitretek Systems) and a member of the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, was recipient of the 2003 BEYA. In 2006, BEYA’s 20th anniversary, Linda Gooden, then president of one of Lockheed Martin Corporation’s fastest growing business units, continued BEYA’s tradition of highlighting achievements and recognition. “What an extraordinary 20 years it has been for Career Communications Group and US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine!” wrote John Brooks Slaughter, the very first BEYA recipient, who was then president and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME). “It was a courageous and bold step that the Career Communications Group took in announcing to the world it should take notice of the many gifts to our nation’s research, development, and manufacturing capability that have been made and are continuing to be made by Black engineers,” he observed in a commentary that summed up the true meaning of the BEYA STEM Conference. In 2009, the BEYA mantle passed on to one of America’s foremost leaders in national security Space programs, Wanda M. Austin, president and CEO of Aerospace Corporation. The 28th Black Engineer of the Year Award goes to Stephanie C. Hill. Incidentally, she began her career at Lockheed Martin in 1987―the same year John Slaughter won the first BEYA. Over 27 years, Hill assumed positions of increasing responsibility in systems engineering, quality and mission success and program and site operations. She now uses her experience to help grow business and create an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship for employees. A strong believer in mentoring, Hill is also involved in education. She has served on an advisory board at Morgan State University and the Baltimore County Executive. She is also active in her church, leading the children’s ministry and making a difference. So what can you do at BEYA? Dr. Slaughter offered us some insight when he said, “It could make a difference if each us, as we recognize and celebrate the achievements of those deserving persons who will be honored at this year’s awards ceremony, takes a moment to dedicate ourselves to increasing the number of future engineers who will be in a position to be honored in the future. In this way, the awards ceremony becomes not just a time to celebrate what has been accomplished, but also to rejoice in anticipation for what is to come.”

Job Horizon People You Should Know Recruiting Trends Top Employers

Features – Extra!

BEYA Success…...............................55

Tyrone D. Taborn Publisher and Editorial Director

BEYA STEM Job Board....................56 NACME Celebrates Itself at 40.........58 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 3

Executive Office Tyrone D. Taborn | Publisher and Editorial Director Jean Hamilton | President and CFO Eric Price | Vice President, Recruitment and Training


28 2015

Editorial Lango Deen Rayondon Kennedy Michael Fletcher Gale Horton Gay M.V. Greene Frank McCoy Garland L. Thompson Roger Witherspoon

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Technology Editor Assistant Editor Contributing Editor Contributing Editor Contributing Editor Contributing Editor Contributing Editor Contributing Editor

Graphic Design Sherley Petit-Homme | Art Director Bryan Clapper | Graphic Designer Corporate Development Rod Carter | College Relations Ty Taborn | Corporate Development Imani Carter | Corporate Communications Specialist Brian Irving | Diversity Outread Sales and Marketing Richard Butler | Vice President of Government Relations/Special Projects Gwendolyn Bethea | Senior Account Manager Alex Venetta | Advertising Coordinator Administration Ana Bertrand | Conference Coordinator Conference and Events Rutherford & Associates 17304 Preston Rd Suite 1020 Dallas, Texas 75252 Advertising Sales Office Career Communications Group, Inc. 729 E. Pratt Street, Suite 504, Baltimore, MD 21202 Phone: (410) 244-7101 / Fax: (410) 752-1834

February 5-7, 2015 Washington Marriott Wardman Park Washington, DC

Don’t miss this historic event! For more information, call us at 410-244-7101

US Black Engineer & Information Technology (ISSN 1088-3444) is a publication devoted to engineering, science, and technology and to promoting opportunities in those fields for Black Americans. The editors invite submissions directed toward the goals of US Black Engineer & Information Technology. In particular, we wish to present ideas and current events concerning science and technology, and personality profiles of successful Blacks in these fields and related business pursuits. Fully developed articles may be sent for consideration, but queries are encouraged. US Black Engineer & Information Technology invites letters to the editor about any topics important to our readership. Articles and letters should be sent to: US Black Engineer & Information Technology, Editorial Department, 729 E Pratt St., 5th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202. No manuscript will be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. US Black Engineer & Information Technology cannot be responsible for unsolicited art or editorial material. This publication is bulk-mailed to 150 colleges and universities nationwide. Subscriptions are $26/year. Please write to US Black Engineer & Information Technology, Subscriptions, 729 E. Pratt St., 5th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202. Copyright (c) 2014 by Career Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. Like us on Facebook at: Follow us on Twitter: @BlackEngineer

Diversity Diversity brings vital new ideas to the table and creates dynamic solutions to international issues. We honor the individuals and institutions that strive to create and maintain a diversified workforce.

People and Events

by Imani Carter

PAST BEYA honorees continue to reach new heights As US Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine strives to recognize scholars and those who have reached huge successes in their career, we also enjoy looking back at honorees to discover the new and exciting accomplishments that they’ve made. Below are the names of professionals who’ve continued to make accomplishments in their careers, even after breaking major barriers and reaching great achievements.

Window Snyder

Security and Privacy Product Manager Apple, Inc.

Window Snyder was recognized in US Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine in 2010 for being a cybersecurity visionary. Snyder is now a security and privacy product manager at Apple Inc. Continuing to make achievements in the tech world, she has been in charge of keeping Apple’s products and customers safe from cyber-harm. Recently, Snyder was listed at number 59 on The Root 100 list that honors professionals for leadership and achievement in their field.

Wyllstyne Hill

Former Vice President of IT and Chief Information Officer Raytheon Missile Systems Raytheon Co.

In 2007, Wyllstyne Hill won the Career Achievement in Industry award at the BEYA STEM Conference. Since this major accomplishment, she has made great strides in technology as she has earned two executive management certificates, was a Computerworld Premier 100 honoree and listed as one of the most powerful women in technology. Hill supports 11,000 information systems users and has 500 employers. Wyllstyne D. Hill retired from her position as the vice president of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Raytheon Missile Systems in July of 2013. She has had over 30 years of experience in the defense industry, having held management positions within Manufacturing Operations, System Engineering, Product Effectiveness, Reliability Engineering, Productivity/Quality, Supply Chain Management, Engineering Evaluation & Support, and Product Evaluation and Test Operations.

James A. Bell

Former Corporate President The Boeing Company

US Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine

Career Communications Group (CCG) Timeline: Important Dates to Remember April 30, 2014: Women of Color Category Award nomination deadline May 15th, 2014: Women of Color Rising/All-Star nomination deadline August 30, 2014: BEYA Category Award and Emerald Honors Nomination Deadline October 1, 2014: BEYA Modern Day Technology Leaders and Science Trailblazer October 23-25, 2014: Women of Color STEM Conference February 5-7 2015: BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference, to be held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.

recognized James A. Bell in 2007 as one of the most important Blacks in technology. Since this recognition, Bell served as corporate president of The Boeing Company from June 2008 to February 2012, chief financial officer from 2003 to February 2012 and also its executive vice president from 2003 to April 2012. He oversaw two key Boeing businesses, Boeing Capital Corporation, Boeing’s customer-financing subsidiary, and Boeing Shared Services, an 8,000-person, multi-billion-dollar business unit that provides common internal services across Boeing’s global enterprise. He has been a board of directors member at JPMorgan Chase & Co. since November 8, 2011, as well as a director at Dow Chemical Company, the Chicago Urban League, World Business Chicago, the Chicago Economic Club and New Leaders for New Schools.

Norman L. Fortenberry, Ph.D.

Executive Director American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)

Since winning The Dean’s Award at the 2010 BEYA STEM Conference, Norman L. Fortenberry, Ph.D. has earned several accomplishments. Fortenberry has served as executive director of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science Inc. and as a faculty member in the department of mechanical engineering at the Florida A&M University, Florida State University College of Engineering. Formally the founding director of the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE) at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Fortenberry is now the executive director of the American Society for Engineering Education. This society commits to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology by promoting global excellence in engineering and engineering technology instruction, research, public service, professional practice, and societal awareness. USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 7

Profiles in Innovation We celebrate the men and women who are reinventing and reenergizing STEM, business, and government.

One on One

by Michael Fletcher

Rep. elijah cummings of maryland’s 7th congressional district


.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings was one of the first members of the Congressional Black Caucus to back then-Sen. Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for the presidency. It was a long shot, but the longtime Baltimore congressman though it was worth it. “I saw a man of color who was absolutely brilliant and who I thought had the possibility―not probability―but the possibility of being able to garner enough votes to make a strong run for president of the United States,” Cummings said. “I wasn’t sure that he could win but I thought he could go a little bit further than, say, Jesse Jackson.” Needless to say, his bet was right on the money. And it has paid off for Cummings in a close working relationship with the president. But the road has been rough. Cummings serves as the top Democrat on the U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Member of U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the main investigative committee of ment. For example, once we had 70 Internal Revenue Service the House. Under Republican control, that committee has used lawyers working for months just trying to answer a subpoena. its powers to investigate the Obama administration’s role in a That is just a little sample. I think it has had a tremendous imlong list of events, from the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulpact. To be frank with you, I don’t think that the president knew ate in Benghazi, Libya, to allegations that the Internal Revenue that it would be this hard. I think that he believed that it would Service singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny. be difficult but that with sound logic and principled arguments That has left Cummings as one of Obama’s staunchest and moral arguments, at times, that people would be less likely defenders in the House. Cummings, a lawyer who came to to vote against things that they stood for and less likely to vote Congress in 1996 after a long career in the Maryland House of for things that would not be in the interest of their constituents. Delegates, also serves on the Joint Economic Committee and the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, as USBE&IT: Is the country doing enough to boost Black well as the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous educational achievement? Materials. Rep. Cummings: I think the president has done some The Baltimore native is also on the Morgan State University things for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBBoard of Regents and the U.S. Naval Academy Board of VisiCUs) that are very important. It is often said that if we did tors. US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine not have HBCUs we would have to invent them, because they recently talked to him about his work. An edited version of the are definitely doing more than their share of producing Black conversation follows here: graduates. I think he has pushed very hard on STEM education and I think that is important because you have to have some USBE&IT: How much has the president’s agenda been type of pipeline going into the colleges. I think that this whole hurt by the seemingly implacable opposition from Republithing of increasing Pell grants and revising the student loan can opponents? system have been very significant in that they have provided Rep. Cummings: I think it has been affected tremendously money for kids. But at the same time, the cost of college is gobecause at every single turn, the president has met maximum ing up, up and up. And the president has talked about trying to opposition for every single thing that he has tried to do. And me rein in those costs. A lot of young people are certainly prepared being in the position I am in, I get to see things that the public to go college, but a lot of kids, their parents do not have the never sees. I get a chance to see the subpoenas. I get a chance to money. One of the more recent things that we encountered was see how my committee, through subpoenas, ties up the governthe parent-plus loan issue (where tightened standards caused


Profiles in Innovation

One on One cont’d thousands of Black students to be denied loans, and many of them had to leave school). The Black Caucus was very concerned about that because we felt that the stricter criteria were doing harm to large numbers of African-American parents who wanted to send their kids to college. To his credit, the president worked with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and they did change course a bit and said if people had been rejected for a loan they could then go ahead and appeal. And 95 percent of the appeals are being granted. But the problem is that many people did not get word of the appeals process. Others did not want to be bothered. Now, those are young people who are out of school and may never come back. USBE&IT: What do you think of the critique, perhaps best articulated by commentator Tavis Smiley, that the president has not been aggressive enough in pursuing a “Black agenda?” Rep. Cummings: I have a lot of love and respect for Tavis, and I can understand exactly where he’s coming from. I think there are a number of African-American people who feel the same way to a degree that Tavis feels, but—there is a big but here—and that is that they realize what this president is going against. They know because of their own experiences what they have been through in their lives and how―particularly African-American men―feel in many instances like they have been held back, not treated fairly. Even when they do the best that they can, they have to do 10 times better to get credit. I think what you have is a situation where even if they thought that the president was not strongly pursuing “the Black agenda” there was a good reason for that. As the president says, he does not have to go around with a black flag running around saying “I am doing this for Black people.” His theory is that he does these things trying to create jobs, expanding health care, and all of that would take care of all America and Black people are part of all America. USBE&IT: When did you first meet Stephanie Hill and what impresses you about her? Rep. Cummings: I knew Hill’s father, (Baltimore) Judge Harry Cole. One of the first things I did when I was elected to Congress was name a post office after her father. And he was one of our distinguished judges and me being a lawyer I just have a lot of respect for him, and I think I met her during that time. Then the way I really got to know her was when I became the chairman of the Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. One of the first things I did when I was named to lead the subcommittee was try to figure out whether or not there was a maritime-themed high school in my district. I came to find out there was. And I visited the Maritime Industries Academy in Baltimore and I learned it did not teach one syllable of maritime skills. Then, what I did was set up an advisory board 10 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

and some of the first contributions came from Hill’s corporation. They opened the doors. They created internships and they gave all types of materials to school. Clearly, one of the things I respected about her the most is that she really cares about young people. She cares about making sure they get involved in STEM. She made sure that this small school, which is located in a building that literally used to be a book warehouse, is given all kinds of materials and opportunities. USBE&IT: What does a lawyer who grew up in inner city Baltimore know about the Coast Guard and Maritime subcommittee’s work? Rep. Cummings: When (then-House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi came to me and said “Elijah, I got a wonderful job for you.” I said “what’s that?” She said she wanted me to head this subcommittee. I said, “Nancy, I will not do it under any circumstances. It has nothing to do with my district. I can’t swim and I get seasick in small boats. So why do I want to take this position?” It turned out to be the greatest gift that was ever given to me. It opened my eyes to a world I knew absolutely nothing about. Nothing. The maritime community embraced me. They taught me so much. It is like a new subject that I learned in the middle of my congressional career and I have come to love it. USBE&IT: What opportunities exist for Black STEM professionals in that area? Rep. Cummings: The opportunities are tremendous. We’ve got kids who will be working this summer out of our institute down in Louisiana on large drilling platforms. They’ll be going out working on various types of ships and we have some other kids who will be working on salvage vessels. We will have other young people who will be doing work in the cruise industry. A lot of this stuff goes to engineering. We have some other kids who will be working on addressing problems caused by ballast water (which can transport invasive species to far corners of the globe). You got all kinds of opportunities. You got the Coast Guard dealing with boats, planes, and all kinds of sea vessels. The maritime industry is so wide and big. You have a lot of environmental issues. Part of maritime is fishing safety. When you look at deep-water oil spills, again you are talking about engineering. The sad part about it is that there are very, very, very few African Americans in this industry. When you get beyond longshoreman, it is almost zero. USBE&IT: What’s next for you? Rep. Cummings: I want to do this job until God tells me to do something else, period. My life has been one where opportunities open up to me. I try to do the best job I can where I am. If an opportunity opens up, I’ll know it. And if it doesn’t I’ll know that too.

EDUCATION Information is our most powerful resource, whether we receive it via the printed page, a computer screen, or from a dedicated teacher. In this section, we look at the trends and developments that are expanding STEM education.

On Campus

by M.V. Greene

doe funding gives boost to hbcus: energy projects generate fresh ideas


t may not make for riveting chit-chat at a dinner party, but Southern University and A&M College’s research into highentropy alloys via funding from the U.S. Department of Energy aims to make a mark someday promoting energy efficiency in thermodynamic processes and systems. Southern, in Baton Rouge, La., is one of five Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions to receive funding in 2013 for fossil energy-related projects that seeks to help promote U.S. energy assets while providing educational and research training opportunities for budding student scientists and engineers. The team at Southern received funding of $200,000 over two years for its project, “An Integrated Study on a Novel HighTemperature, High-Entropy Alloy.” According to, entropy is the “tendency for systems to go from a state of higher organization to a state of lowest organization on a molecular level.” To put it in layman’s terms, entropy affects the space into which a substance spreads in its phase change from solid to liquid to gas, such as pouring sugar in a cup of coffee and having it dissolve or melting an ice cube in a glass, says. Research into high-entropy alloys (HEA) is relatively new, according to some other scientific citations. HEAs can enhance the formation of solution-type phases, leading to simpler microstructure for a broad range of applications in structural, electrical, magnetic, high-temperature, wear-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and oxidation-resistant components, according to citations. While research into manipulating high-entropy alloys isn’t for the scientifically squeamish, it is commonplace for Southern’s Dr. Shizhong Yang, an associate professor in the computer science department who is directing the DOE research as principal investigator.

Through the project, Yang and the team at Southern will integrate computational materials simulation and experimental validation in material sciences to improve and design high-entropy alloys for a high-temperature, high-pressure gas turbine application that will address oxidation resistance and low-temperature ductility problems in coal energy conversion. The team’s goal is to determine the most optimal high-entropy alloys and integrate the materials design in a high-performance computing (HPC) simulation. Yang said the research team includes two senior faculties, a professional consultant at Louisiana State University, a postdoctoral fellow and a graduate and undergraduate student. Most of the research will be performed at Southern while some additional work will be conducted at LSU and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), a Department of Energy national laboratory operated by the University of California. At Southern, the project melds research work into the university’s computational coursework and utilizes supercomputers from the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative, a state-ofthe-art, fiber optics network that runs throughout Louisiana, and connects Louisiana and Mississippi research universities to one another, including Louisiana Tech University, Tulane University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of New Orleans in addition to Southern and LSU. What pleases Yang about the funding is it will permit the hands of many students to be involved in the project. “New interdisciplinary research and collaboration will attract more talented faculty, staff and talented students,” Yang said, whose Ph.D. is in computational physics. “Students will search the references, set up simulation models and perform HPC simulation, material synthesis and material characteriza-

Southern University and A&M College’s computer engineering building in Baton Rouge, La.



On Campus cont’d tion. They will have opportunities to perform HPC code design and high temperature experimental testing.” Yang adds that such funding is critical for students and for Southern. “This DOE funding will support HBCU students training and postdoc mentoring by directly involving them in the high temperature HEA alloy research. This funding support will help attract and secure more federal (NASA, National Science Foundation etc.), state, and local company funds to further our HBCU competitiveness and sustainable development. It will also help enhance a substantive collaboration with LSU and LBNL on the basis of our common interests on the energy related novel material research,” he said. Under Yang, Southern also received a three-year, $200,000 award through the program in 2012 to identify new oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) steel alloy compositions that have improved high-temperature mechanical and corrosion resistance properties for advanced fossil energy applications. DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), which directs the funding, wants to enhance scientific and technical understanding of conversion and utilization of fossil fuels—noting that fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) still provide 85 percent of the energy in the United States. The funding comes under a dedicated DOE program called “Support of Advanced Fossil Resource Utilization Research by Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU/OMI),” which was established in 1984 to help develop new technologies that use fossil fuels in an environmentally friendly, low-cost and reliable manner, according to DOE. Additionally, DOE said it wants the fossil energy development projects “to maintain and upgrade education, training, and research capabilities at our minority colleges and universities in science, engineering, and technical management” by generating fresh research ideas and ensuring a future supply of fossil energy scientists and engineers. The four other projects selected for funding that was announced in August 2013 include: • Howard University (Washington, D.C.) “Novel LowCost, Environmentally Friendly Synthetic Approaches Toward Core-Shell Structured Micro-particles for Fossil Energy Applications.” Project Scope: In a collaborative project between Howard University and the Ohio State University, graduate students will develop two inexpensive synthetic methods to prepare core14 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

shell structured particles for chemical looping combustion or gasification and post-combustion CO2 capture in power plants. The proposed methods of preparation — metal organic chemical vapor deposition and ionic diffusion—are both low cost and environmentally friendly, compared to other fabrication methods. Completion of the proposed work will benefit not only the chemical looping combustion/gasification and post-combustion CO2 capture, but also many other related fossil energy conversion processes. (Award amount: $199,892; Duration: 36 months) • Tennessee State University (Nashville, Tenn.) “Searching for Low-Cost Ferritic Steels for Advanced Ultra-supercritical Boilers Using First Principles Methods.” Project Scope: The team at Tennessee State University will develop automated simulation software tools to enable fast, large-scale screening of candidate designs to find a material better suited for the advanced ultra-supercritical environment. The result of this investigation should speed the development of new ferritic steel with reduced creep rupture and corrosion for energy applications. (Award amount: $200,000; Duration: 36 months) • University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso, Texas.) “Investigation on Pyroelectric Ceramic Temperature Sensors for Energy System Applications.” Project Scope: A low-cost, self-powered, wireless temperature sensor for energy system applications will be developed by the team at UTEP. This work includes fabricating and characterizing pyroceramic temperature sensor materials, constructing a wireless sensing system, and demonstrating the wireless temperature sensing capability, data transmission, and durability at high temperatures and environmental conditions similar to a coal-based system. (Award amount: $200,000; Duration: 36 months) • University of Texas at San Antonio (San Antonio, Tex.) “Use of an Accurate DNS Method to Derive, Validate, and Supply Constitutive Equations for the MFIX Code.” Project Scope: By providing equations that model the heat and mass transfer coefficients of non-spherical and irregularly shaped particles and clusters of particles, the team from Texas San Antonio intends to improve the accuracy of the MFIX code’s predictive capabilities. Additionally, the undergraduate and graduate students involved in this project will receive valuable training in computational fluid mechanics and heat transfer, using physically sound and validated software and first-class computing facilities.(Award amount: $189,825; Duration: 36 months)

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Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners


Black Engineer

of the Year

Stephanie C. Hill


President Information Systems and Global Solutions-Civil Product Line Lockheed Martin Corporation

n the career of Lockheed Martin’s Stephanie C. Hill, we can discern the sweep of history. A computer engineer whose technology exploits contributed materially to the strategic power of U.S. military arms—at a time when America’s military reach was being strenuously contested—Hill also was climbing the corporate mountain, to levels that would not have been believed possible in her parents’ generation. Consider: John Slaughter, the first Black Engineer of the Year in 1987, graduated from high school in 1952, two years before the Supreme Court ruled that de jure segregation in his hometown, Topeka, Kan., violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. The young John Slaughter persisted in taking college-prep courses despite his counselors’ attempts to fit him into a trade preparatory curriculum. On the job after earning his engineering degree at Kansas State University, Slaughter met disbelief when he showed up prepared for leadership roles, an experience common for African-American college graduates moving into jobs in American business and industry during the still not-very-open post-Second World War society shaken to its foundations by the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Barriers overcome

Shirley Jackson, the 2001 Black Engineer of the Year, met still greater disbelief when she enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The story of the professor so deeply disturbed at seeing Jackson in a seat he thought reserved for white males only that he told her to “learn a trade” reverberated through the years as young African-American women (and men) pursued their own dreams, making their way into the engineering profession at levels once denied to the children of the Great Migration. Hill’s own father, Army veteran Harry Cole, enrolled at the University of Maryland School of Law following his wartime service, the admissions doors opened by the very first lawsuit Thurgood Marshall ever filed after his own graduation from Howard Law School and admission to the Maryland State Bar. 18 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

As a lawyer, Cole began making history on his own, first becoming Maryland’s first-ever Black state senator in 1954 and, in 1977, the first Black judge appointed to the Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state.

Entering the Fray

Stephanie Hill, Judge Cole’s younger daughter, joined Lockheed Martin in 1987, the same year Dr. Slaughter won honors as Black Engineer of the Year, beginning the climb that would lead to her own high achievements. “My parents always taught me to go for it; do the best you can do in anything and everything you do. I certainly had aspirations, but I really didn’t know I would be in the engineering field, which is one of the reasons I’m passionate about STEM. I thought, early in life, that I wanted to be a psychiatrist because I wanted to help people. It wasn’t until college, after talking to people at the career center and taking a class in COBOL programming, that I knew engineering even existed,” Hill said. “I call myself an accidental engineer because when I started college, I majored in economics to get my accounting degree and I took a class in COBOL programming. For the longest time, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to major in economics or switch to computer science because with every elective, I took more and more of computer science. I fell in love with it. It was so much fun! Then in my junior year I had to declare. So I decided it was going to be both.” Hill, a double-major graduate of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County—computer engineering and economics—showed early on that she was a comer, leading a team that developed the software that directed cruise missiles to targets

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

Stephanie Hill speaks at the 2013 Women of Color STEM Conference at Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas.

with such exactitude that amazed TV news viewers could watch one veer around a hotel full of journalists to reach its intended Baghdad landing place during the first Gulf War. In 1993, Hill won recognition as Most Promising Engineer at the Black Engineer of the Year Awards, and from there, she continued her steady climb, taking on ever-bigger technology challenges, in ever-bigger career postings. In 1994 Hill, then a systems engineer, dug deeply into the Navy’s Sea Sparrow missile program, working to maintain its multiple warfare capabilities while making sure it would not turn and target “friendly” naval units. Among other tasks, Hill also performed trade studies to identify hardware platforms to upgrade missile launch control unit equipment, and developed the software and interface requirements for the vertical launch system extant on Aegis missile cruisers. The next year, Hill moved up again, to assignment as an integrated product team leader, developing a broader grasp of the complexities of missile launch systems. Then, in 1999, Hill became a software engineering manager, responsible for technical excellence for all software products coming out of her Central Maryland facility. “My family didn’t know any engineers, so I didn’t have a concept of what an engineer did and how much you could contribute in that kind of role. It wasn’t a natural option as it is for some young people today, but when I think of the things I’ve had the opportunity to work on, things that have benefited the 20 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

military and the civilian world, it’s amazing! I never dreamed I’d have the kind of opportunities that Lockheed Martin has provided me,” Hill said. “Not knowing what engineering was, I could’ve been hesitant to really try it. But fortunately my parents had always instilled in me, ‘Hey, you can do whatever you put your mind to.’ And I did.”

Standing where few went before

There, at the end of the 20th century, Hill stood where few African Americans, men or women, could have imagined standing during the years her father’s generation was struggling to open the doors of equal opportunity in the American workplace. Stephanie Hill, whose parents watched the Tuskegee Airmen shatter all the stereotypes about Blacks’ ability to master high technology, now was leading teams developing products critical to America’s defense. Elijah McCoy, a Scottish-trained engineer who returned to the United States after the Civil War only to learn the best work he could find was as a stoker on steam engines, would have been astounded. His petroleum-based lubricating system propelled American industry to unprecedented heights as the 19th century ended and the 20th began, but the uncomfortable truth is that McCoy had to license his innovations to other companies because the banks denied him the funding required to market his products on his own.

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

A new-generation leader Now Stephanie Hill was winning promotions on the merits of her accomplishments, her skill at managing the work of others, regardless of race, with profit-and-loss responsibility for a $4 billion product line. By 2008, Hill had reached vice-presidential levels, first leading the corporate internal audit unit, then in 2012 rising to vice president and general manager for information systems and global solutions-civil, reporting to another Black Engineer of the Year, Linda Gooden, who described Hill as “a true leader throughout our corporation, industry and community,” adding that, “Stephanie’s drive for excellence, career achievements and dedicated advocacy for STEM education inspire both employees and the workforce of tomorrow to reach new heights.” Noting that in 2012 Hill won a Career Achievement Award at the Women of Color Technology Awards, Gooden said, “we are proud that she is being recognized for the profound impact that has made for so many.” Today, Hill leads an organization with some 10,000 employees in the United States and eight other countries. Now working in the “civil” side of the world’s biggest defense contractor, Hill oversees teams that work to provide solutions to the FBI, including advanced biometric scanning systems that can identify suspects by their palm prints, and one of her team’s strongest contributions came in their success winning authorization for Lockheed’s SolaS Cloud Solution, a software set that allows government contractors to operate within a secure “cloud computing” environment under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. Hill’s teams also support the Federal Aviation Administration to guarantee air safety for global travelers; support the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s programs to explore space and perform scientific research; help manage claims processing and disability examinations for millions of U.S. military veterans; and address energy challenges by implementing energy efficiency programs.

and dramatically into leadership. That time I spent just doing the work of engineering enabled me to be a leader of engineering.” Hill said as head of an integrated product team (IPT) she was the technical leader of a multidisciplinary engineering team. “We had all kind of engineers—systems, software, test, electrical, mechanical, and reliability—focused on developing a single product. In that role, I learned the importance making sure that your team understands that you value the expertise they bring. It gave me a broader perspective than being an individual contributor—heads down.” In 2001, at the new century’s dawn, Hill was named director of quality and mission success. She soon rose through steps to deputy vice president, then director of technical operations in 2004. John Slaughter, once denied a posting because a hiring officer felt that his white co-workers would be uncomfortable reporting to a Black man in management, might have been heard somewhere chuckling. Hill wasn’t comfortable taking the mission assurance role, she pointed out, “But I had a very good mentor who said, ‘No, you need to do this role, take it.’ So I took it. I later realized that the job I really didn’t think I wanted prepared me the most for the one I have today. It was many years ago, but it set the stage. It was a good role because I got to see a broader part of the entire organization. As the IPT lead, I was still primarily in engineering but in the mission success role I got to see the whole business. “So getting out my comfort zone, broadening my technical expertise and getting my hands dirty were very important in the first 14 years of my career.”

Hill’s teams also support the Federal Aviation Administration to guarantee air safety for global travelers; support the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s programs to explore space and perform scientific research; help manage claims processing and disability examinations for millions of U.S. military veterans; and address energy challenges by implementing energy efficiency programs.

The first 14 Years

“There were some very pivotal things in the first 14 years of my career that kind of me put me on the career path I am on today,” she notes. “I spent years doing hardcore engineering— writing code, testing software, writing requirements for systems. I spent time in the trenches, getting my hands dirty; understanding how to do engineering and how to solve problems with technology. I think that is so important, because I hear sometimes people entering the workforce wanting to move quickly

Opening ways for others

In her spare time, Hill works to inspire young people to pursue their own dreams and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She’s established a program within her business unit to encourage volunteering and mentorship with local K-12 students, and she sits as a board member of the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education. In a letter to the BEYA selection panel, Lockheed Martin’s president and CEO noted that, “The mark of a great leader is the ability to develop other leaders, and this is an area where Stephanie excels. She genuinely invests her time in mentoring high-potential employees, and she is passionate about promoting STEM education. . . . “Stephanie Hill’s contributions to her company, her community and her nation (makes) her a worthy recipient of this honor. It’s a privilege to present her recommendation.” In other words, Stephanie Hill is the total package. ‘Nuff said.


Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

progress at the speed of trust Career Achievement in Government Col. Barry Williams

Chief Engineer, Headquarters, International Security Assistance Force Kabul, Afghanistan

Career Achievement in Industry Gerald Johnson

North America Manufacturing Vice President General Motors

Art Lofton

Vice President, Global Quality Northrop Grumman Corporation

College-level Promotion of Education Stephen Cox

Project Director, Greater Philadelphia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Office of the Provost, Drexel University

Community Service Paige Lewter

Electronics Engineer Naval Air Systems Command

Martin Rodgers

Managing Director, Executive Director Accenture

Corporate Promotion of Education Robyn De Wees Director, Mission Assurance Northrop Grumman Corporation

Dean’s Award Adrian J. Webb

Diversity Leadership in Government Dr. Victoria A. Dixon

Director, Human Relations/Equal Opportunity Programs U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command

Diversity Leadership in Industry Joyce E. Tucker, Esq.

Vice President, Global Diversity & Employee Rights The Boeing Company

K-12 Promotion of Education Dr. Tamara Floyd-Smith

Professor of Chemical Engineering and 3M Scholar Tuskegee University

Lifetime Achievement

Ronald A. Bradley, Jr. Vice President of Gas at PECO

Most Promising Engineer in Government Lieutenant Justin C. Smith U.S. Coast Guard

Most Promising Engineer in Industry Christopher D. Booth Flight Test Engineer Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

Dr. Lester McCoy

Outstanding Technical Contribution in Industry Dr. Marian Rogers Croak

Senior Vice President, Applications & Services Infrastructure, AT&T Labs

Dr. Osamuyimen (Uyi) Stewart

Chief Scientist, IBM Research–Africa

Pioneer Award Dr. Russell Ford

Global Service Leader for Drinking Water Infrastructure CH2M HILL

Professional Achievement in Government Lt. Cmdr. Zeita Merchant U.S. Coast Guard

Technical Sales and Marketing Lai Lau

Lead Product Marketing Manager AT&T

Marsha Malone

Director of Government Relations Lockheed Martin

Visionary Award Kevin Ward

Head of Fastener Engineering and Torque Responsible Chrysler World Headquarters Group, LLC

Systems Engineer Raytheon Company

Jada Parker

New York City office of CH2M HILL

Senior Engineer–Design Caterpillar, Inc. 22 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners


Black Engineer

of the Year awards

career achievement—Government

career achievement—industry

Col. Barry Williams

Gerald Johnson



Chief Engineer, Headquarters, International Security Assistance Force Kabul, Afghanistan

ol. Barry Williams marked a high point in his career when he was named a White House Fellow (July 2002-Sept. 2003) by the president of the United States. Williams served as special assistant to the director of the Office of Personnel Management, worked with Congress, federal agencies, and other stakeholders to implement human capital policies and initiatives designed to meet the Presidential Management Agenda. In 2003, he created and launched the federal government’s first “e-scholar” website, which placed nearly a billion dollars in federal jobs and educational programs (internships, scholarships, fellowships, grants, and apprenticeships) at the fingertips of teenagers through adults for the first time. The same year, he received the President Theodore Roosevelt “Leadership Award for Excellence” and was recipient of the M.W. Stringer Masonic Temple Children’s Angel Award for community youth mentoring. It is also worth noting that Williams served as class president at the National War College (July 2011–July 2012). He was selected over 257 other students by the commandant. Williams was also class spokesperson representing 23 countries and the U.S. Corps of Engineers’ first African-American officer in the position. As part of his duties, he presided over ceremonial events, supervised planning efforts of student-led activities, provided oversight of class budget, fiscal planning, recognition of developing issues pertaining to students, and served as conduit between faculty/staff and the student body. He graduated with a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies. Only the top 17 percent of officers in the Department of the Army are selected to attend this senior-level year-long course in national security strategy each year at the National War College.

North America Manufacturing Vice President General Motors

erald Johnson has responsibility for 56 plants, the annual production of some three million vehicles and powertrains, and 74,000 workers. Johnson is a “wanted” man. In fact, it was Timothy Lee, executive vice president of global engineering and chairman of GM China, who chose Johnson for his latest position. “I cannot think of a better role model who embodies intellectual curiosity and horsepower, discipline and drive. Along with his responsibilities, he mentors nine GM employees of varying levels of experience. In our communities, Gerald is the key executive collaborating with Kettering University on the school’s diversity programs and supporting the FIRST Robotics Program. And, he does this all while maintaining a healthy work-life balance―something he insists his employees do as well,” Lee said. To fill a vacancy in a key business unit, “Gerald took over on July 1 as GM VP North America manufacturing, and the business never missed a beat,” says Mark L. Reuss, president, North America. “That’s because Gerald was as well-prepared as anyone I’ve ever seen to tackle the task at hand. “His immediate previous position was executive director of global program quality and launch, a tribute to his keen attention to detail and his ability to get the best work out of his teams and demand top-notch quality. We knew he would expect nothing but the best work for our customers, and would accept nothing less,” Reuss explained. Johnson brings passion to every activity he engages in outside of work, too. He has been recognized by Boy Scouts of America for his service on the leadership councils in Mansfield, Ohio, and Detroit. He is an ordained elder of the Detroit World Outreach Christian Center in Redford, Mich. He has received a certificate of appreciation from the General Motors African Ancestry Network (GMAAN). USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 23

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

career achievement—industry Art Lofton

Vice President, Global Quality Northrop Grumman Corporation


raise simply reverberates from Art Lofton’s letters of recommendation. Tom Vice, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Corp.’s Aerospace Systems, a colleague who has known Lofton since he joined the company 20-plus years ago, calls him “instrumental in building the diverse, industry-leading company we are today. His exceptional focus on people—fellow employees, customers and our communities—is what truly define Art’s value,” Vice said. “His technical acumen and professional integrity are critical, as he is a trusted agent to our customer’s contracting agencies and suppliers regarding the reliability and performance of our systems. Our nation’s security depends upon Art’s leadership, as does our company’s current performance and future growth,” Vice further commented. Jeffrey Rudolph, president and CEO of the California Science Center, says Lofton “embodies the science center’s core values of accessibility and inclusiveness, demonstrating unwavering commitment to making quality educational experiences available to all—particularly those children and youth from underserved communities who may not otherwise have access to opportunities for science education and enrichment.” Lofton has made strategic connections to supporters and partners that share the center’s commitment to STEM education. “[His] tenure as a trustee coincides with a transformational period in our history during which we welcomed home Space Shuttle Endeavor with an experience shared by millions, including memorable fly-bys and a historic 12-mile, 68-hour journey through the streets of Inglewood and South Los Angeles,” Rudolph says. “Having achieved great heights throughout his career, Art continues to blaze a trail for underserved youth to aspire, model, realize and exceed the successes he has accomplished.” Chet Pipkin, CEO, Belkin International, echoes the praise. “Art Lofton is an accomplished executive, an accomplished leader, and a great contributor to progressive education for all children. He is a wonderful mentor. He is a great human being,” Pipkin said. 24 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

college-level promotion of education Stephen Cox

Project Director, Greater Philadelphia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Office of the Provost Drexel University


y eighth grade, Stephen Cox dreamed of a career in aerospace, so he pursued engineering programs throughout high school. Physics and atmospheric science were his college choices, which led to a co-operative assignment at Boeing Vertol’s Acoustics Engineering Lab, a job at General Electric Reentry Systems and study of ballistics and aerodynamics. Now, as regional director for Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in the office of the provost at Drexel University, he is focused on increasing recruitment and retention of undergraduate and graduate students in STEM disciplines. Cox encourages interest in STEM as he strives to increase diversity through Drexel’s Strategic Plan Committee on Diversity. In his role as director of Philadelphia’s Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP), he leads a consortium of nine institutions across Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The AMP program focuses on undergraduate students, but Cox hopes to change that. As of 2012, Philadelphia AMP is responsible for more than 9,600 Bachelor of Science degrees, more than 2,200 Master of Science degrees and more than 300 Ph.D. degrees in STEM disciplines. Training and professional development is available as well. The Bridge to the Doctorate program aims to encourage STEM students to attend graduate school by providing two years of financial support to eligible students. Philadelphia AMP institutions have received funds from the program to send several students to graduate school. Cox has received many honors, including the Trailblazer Award from the Drexel University Black Alumni Association. His dedication, academic leadership, accomplishments and influence makes him an excellent role model. “Helping others without reward is beneficial and creates a network of associates who are valuable in life.” he concludes.

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

community service Paige Lewter

Electronics Engineer Naval Air Systems Command


aige Lewter has a successful career with NAVAIR and works tirelessly to develop a new generation of STEM leaders. As an alumni member of the NSBE Patuxent River Alumni Extension Chapter, she served as student development chair, and coordinator and advisor for the Southern Maryland NSBE Jr. Chapter. Lewter was pivotal in establishing the Southern Maryland NSBE Jr. Chapter. The chapter encourages middle school and high school students to pursue careers in engineering. She

community service Martin Rodgers

Managing Director, Executive Director Accenture


artin Rodgers wants to make the world a better place. Many people share that sentiment, but it’s more than just a sentiment to Mr. Rodgers. He believes the goal is reachable through community service and professional activities. Rodgers is a managing director for Accenture’s health and public service practice. He also serves as executive director for Accenture’s nonprofit group. His professional endeavors all focus on activities that serve the public in some form. You can see that he’s serious about community service, and serving the world in general. With more than 15 years of federal, commercial, nonprofit and multilateral management experience, he has helped several diverse clients. The U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Labor, Education, Commerce and HUD are a few examples on a long list that have benefited from his expertise. Rodgers specializes in business and IT strategy, change management, program management, business case development, and business and enterprise architectures. He puts these skills to use in a way that benefits everyone involved. As executive director of Accenture’s nonprofit group, Rodgers has worked with more than 50 nonprofit organizations, foundations and multilateral. The list is long, and includes the Pew Charitable Trusts, Habitat for Humanity, the Alzheimer’s


worked hard to get funding for students to attend NSBE’s National Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. Once there, the students participated in workshops and a science fair. She also made it possible for students to attend the BEYA conference in Washington, DC, where they participated in the STEM Carnival and the College and Career Fair. She also dedicates time to The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Village organization, where she mentors students and tutors them in STEM subjects. She provides tutoring for students through The Smart Program. “Working with children is one of my passions,” she said. “I am a 24-year-old and only 2.5 years in my career. I don’t have that many years of experience, but thus far I would have to say the most important choices I’ve made are that I’ve found mentors. I think it’s important to have a mentor at all stages of your career because they can provide great insight on issues that you are not familiar with. “I’ve also made the choice to take on roles and duties that challenge me. Of course it’s easy to take the job that is less stressful but why not challenge yourself? Take on a role that will in the end, help you to grow and prepare you for the next stages in your career. It will prove to be very beneficial in the long run.”

Association, and the World Bank. He also oversees Accenture’s work with the United Nations. He has extensive board, pro-bono and staff experiences working with nonprofit organizations. He’s worked with Youth Service America, Children’s Defense Fund, Friends of the Children, Teach for America and the Phelps Stokes Fund to name a few. Rodgers earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Notre Dame, and his M.B.A. from Harvard University. He plans to continue using his career, education and resources to do what he can to make the world a better place for the next generation.

corporate promotion of education Robyn De Wees

Director, Mission Assurance Northrop Grumman Corporation


obyn De Wees is passionate about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). She wants students to embrace STEM subjects because they can expose them to a world of opportunity. “After taking my first computer class in 10th grade, I wanted to study engineering but wasn’t sure which discipline,” she said. “Once I took the only programming class we had in high school, I began to look into computer science. As soon as I saw computer engineering offered at The Catholic University of America, I knew.” Mentoring is important to De Wees as well. She is a

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

tor at the University Of Maryland Baltimore Campus Center for Women in Technology program. De Wees also serves in Northrop Grumman’s Mentoring Matters program. She currently mentors three women, sharing lessons she’s learned. “I love seeing the results of mentor and protégé relationships,” she said. De Wees leads a team of more than 50 engineers and data specialists. Her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt experience contributes to her success as a mission assurance leader. She is sought after to provide support for risk-opportunity management, measurement analysis and problem resolution. “As an intern,” she recalled, “I was entrusted to work with our most difficult customer [and] accidentally deleted his database. After a few deep breaths, I told him what I had done and that I would stay until the data was re-entered. He smiled and told me I could return to my office. As I took the one-block walk, which seemed like a mile, I knew my bosses would soon learn of my mistake.” The following has stuck with her since: 1.) Sometimes you have to be your own coach. 2.) We’re human and will make mistakes. 3.) When we make a mistake, own up to it and develop a plan to correct the situation. Much later in her career she was reminded of the experience and added a fourth rule: Support people who work for you―most of what they do will be good and a mistake can usually be fixed. De Wees is co-chair of the Northrop Grumman Information Systems sector’s African American Task Group Employee Resource Group. The group’s objective is to create a diverse workplace by attracting and retaining Black professionals.

dean’s award Adrian J. Webb

Senior Engineer–Design Caterpillar, Inc.


eorge Pinther, engineering supervisor in the building products construction division at Caterpillar Inc., has known Adrian J. Webb, senior engineer–design, for most of his entire eight-year career. “In recent experiences, he has delivered results unique among our division, and quite possibly our company’s engineering talent,” Pinther said. “This year he designed, planned, organized and hand-built our division’s prototype structures in our new fabrications shop. I am not aware of another design engineer in our company that has completed such a task, and it illustrates his commitment to mechanical engineering not only from behind the desk but also from the shop floor perspective. He has earned a distinct level of credibility and gained the practical knowledge few engineers achieve at this point in their career,” Pinther said. “I am only on year eight of my career and an openness to assist in whatever is needed has been what has guided me thus

far,” Webb said. “In my field that type of attitude will garner you a large amount of responsibility. That coupled with a strong work ethic is a recipe for success at Caterpillar.” When the chief engineer decided to offer computer-aided design coursework to several factory employees, Pinther challenged Webb to train, develop, and manage this somewhat experimental team. “He took on the responsibility on top of his already-burdensome workload,” Pinther said. “Two years later these designers are performing at very high levels and praise Adrian for all the knowledge he shared with them, for always being willing to take time to help them through a problem, and for being a mentor to them as well.”

Diversity Leadership in Government Dr. Victoria A. Dixon

Director, Human Relations/ Equal Opportunity Programs U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command


hen Dr. Victoria Dixon graduated college; she thought she’d be coaching basketball in the NBA (not WNBA). But after her first experience of employment discrimination, when she was told she was too young for a professor’s job, she decided on a new path. “Working for the United States Army is the most important satisfying career choice I have ever made,” she said. Karen Taylor, chief of staff, Army Test and Evaluation Command, testifies to Dixon’s broad impact on the command and the Army―fostering an environment that is inclusive of all groups, values diversity, and maximizes the potential of all employees regardless of occupation, education level and grade/pay band. “This will be her lasting legacy within the Army Test and Evaluation Command and the United States Army,” Taylor said. Dr. Dixon formulated and implemented Army Test and Evaluation Command’s EEO policy/program on Affirmative Action for “all” employees. This aspect of the EEO Program is used by managers/supervisors for fair and equitable hiring, training, discipline and promotion. She looks for opportunities to be “the first” as in the case of hiring from the Wounded Warrior Program into an EEO intern position. She encouraged subordinate units to participate in Department of Defense minority college relations, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, and minority institutions recruitment programs. Her efforts helped to ensure a diverse pipeline of qualified individuals to support our test and evaluation missions. In the last five years, she has received 17 awards, including the Superior Civilian Service Award, the third highest Department of the Army honorary award. In 2011, Dr. Dixon was also winner of the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists Corazon Award that recognize individuals who commit time and effort, above and beyond the call of duty. USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 27

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

Diversity Leadership in Industry Joyce E. Tucker, Esq.

Vice President, Global Diversity & Employee Rights The Boeing Company


oyce Tucker, vice president, global diversity and employee rights, Boeing, has distinguished herself as a staunch advocate of equality since her earliest days of employment. She recalls the roots of her life-long commitment. “I was working in the child care center at Tinley Park Mental Health Center near Chicago when my manager had to select from four people to fill three higher-level positions,” Tucker said. “I was the only minority. I received better evaluations, had better relationships with parents of the children with which I was working, and recognized as the top performer in the group―even by my manager. When asked why I had not been selected for promotion, my manager said he felt ‘more comfortable’ with the other candidates. When I pressed him for a moredetailed response, he answered, ‘I am a male-chauvinist pig, and I can select whomever I want.’” Not being satisfied with this response, Tucker filed a discrimination report on the basis of race and gender since one of the white males selected was known by all to be a marginal performer. “A hearing was conducted by the department’s labor relations chief who, a year later, ruled in my favor and directed the organization to promote me and give me back pay,” she said. Because of this experience, Tucker decided to focus on equal employment opportunity (EEO) policy in law school. “I wanted to help anyone who had or would be subjected to the same hurtful experience I had encountered.” Our desires and aspirations are often cemented by early experiences, and Tucker embodies a commitment to initiate change. She has been appointed to EEO leadership positions by two U.S. presidents and an Illinois governor, served as president of an EEO management firm in Washington, D.C., and managed a newly created Illinois State Department of Human Rights. She has implemented and strengthened enterprise-wide diversity programs at Boeing for more than 140,000 U.S. employees and enhanced executives’ understanding of diversity and equal employment opportunities. 28 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

K-12 Promotion of Education Dr. Tamara Floyd-Smith Professor of Chemical Engineering and 3M Scholar Tuskegee University


r. Tamara Floyd-Smith has dedicated her life and career to helping students learn more about science, technology, engineering and math. She enjoys sharing knowledge with students, and encouraging them to pursue STEM education. She also strives to increase STEM career opportunities for minorities and women. She achieves this by promoting STEM education programs, excellent teaching and outreach activities. Dr. Floyd-Smith is an instructor for Mentoring in to Engineering. The program targets high school students who have an interest in pursuing engineering. Students associated with the Research Experience for High School Students program benefit from Dr. Floyd-Smith’s mentoring as well. She also conducts outreach activities related to research projects. She has a team that visits schools or brings students to the university campus. One of her outreach activities dealing with nanotechnology resulted in a peer reviewed article in the Journal of Materials Education. Another set of activities about viscosity led to an article in Chemical Engineering Education. At the Math and Science Partnership Conference for middle school teachers, she had students perform an experiment on glucose sensing in diabetes management. Students reported having an increased interest in STEM subjects following the activity. Dr. Floyd-Smith has made many notable contributions in promoting K-12 education. She plans to continue her efforts to reach students and tell them about STEM opportunities. She received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Tuskegee University, a master’s in chemical engineering practice and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “You should work hard and play hard. You should work hard and smart,” she advises.

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

Lifetime Achievement Ronald A. Bradley, Jr. Vice President of Gas at PECO


on Bradley, vice president of Gas at PECO, an Exelon Company, is lauded by his colleagues. PECO President and CEO Craig Adams says Bradley’s current position showcases his “record of technical achievements made possible by his exceptional leadership abilities.” Michael Innocenzo, senior vice president of operations, characterizes Bradley’s contribution in this way: “Our business is complex and Ron has been able to perform in various roles he has held within the organization over the past twenty eight years. This is no easy feat. One of his strengths is his adaptability. When you look at the roles he has held across the business, such as distribution maintenance, plant management, Environmental and Safety and Transmissions Operations, you can see how this strength enabled his performance,” Innocenzo explains. Bradley says the most important choices he made in the first half of his career include “embracing challenging projects, making connections through the company, completing my master’s in business, accepting speaking engagements, managing and leading employee teams, participation in Leadership Inc, and volunteering for 10 years in the Philadelphia Regional Introduction for Minorities to Engineering non-profit organization where I instructed a class at Overbrook High School and shared Engineering Concepts with the students.” Bradley was selected as keynote speaker at the Exelonsponsored reception for the 2013 National Urban League Conference. “Ron has served as the executive sponsor for the company’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day community service volunteer event since 2011,” says Adams. “Ron’s personal touch is evidenced by the significant number of our employees and families who continue to volunteer their time to join Ron in supporting this event, which benefits a different charitable organization each year.” “I did not foresee that I would be an officer and executive in a major company,” Bradley reflects. “My perspective was on being a ‘value adder’ and being industrious in my assignments and career growth.”

Most Promising Engineer in Government Lt. Justin C. Smith U.S. Coast Guard


ieutenant Commander T. C. Sommella, executive officer on the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, calls Lt. Justin Smith “the most promising engineer I know.” “Justin’s unique ability to blend policy and program management with application, technical expertise with cost-effective solutions is extraordinary. He is one of the very best at working with junior personnel while also capable of strengthening partnerships across different agencies and entities,” Sommella said. “Given his current performance, extraordinary talent, and leadership capability, I expect him to rise to one day become a senior executive in the Coast Guard’s engineering and logistics community. As a senior flag officer, Justin could have oversight of all aviation, naval and civil engineering and logistics decisions for more than 1,776 boats, 244 ships, and 198 aircraft in the Coast Guard’s inventory or manage a $1 billion annual acquisitions appropriation from Congress. He possesses this much talent and promise for the future.” Smith decided on his career field when he was a junior in high school. In his senior year he put together 5-, 10-, and 20year plans which, he adds, “I have been fortunate enough to be able to follow down to each milestone.” “Mentorship is a critical part of success,” he advises. “You become what you focus your energy on, and similar to the people you spend time with.... Engage in productive activities and surround yourself with bright, talented people. The goal is not always to know the answer but where and how to find it quickly.”

Most Promising Engineer in Industry Christopher D. Booth Flight Test Engineer Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation


2009 BEYA Modernday Technology Leader, Christopher Booth first knew he wanted to be an engineer when he was in high school. While attending a summer engineering program at St. Louis Parks Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas, he designed a foam aircraft that could carry a payload of 10 U.S. quarters. Years later, he still has that foam plane and is realizing his dream USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 29

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

of developing next generation aircraft. In 2001, he joined Gulfstream Aerospace’s College Co-op program while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). He worked in a variety of departments, including acoustics, crew and equipment and soon found he enjoyed flight test engineering because it allowed him to interface with aircraft technicians and other engineering disciplines. After graduation from Georgia Tech in 2006, he was hired directly into flight test at Gulfstream. Since then he has made a number of significant contributions, most recently in his role as lead flight test engineer for the new model of Gulfstream’s business jet, each valued at $70 million. Chris directed and conducted 140 flight test missions for a total of 456 flight hours. These tests included aerodynamic loads, stall speeds, flyover noise, environmental control systems and wing anti-ice, dry-air. Chris’ colleagues have praise his high work standards, giving him a bronze award for his support of the 6001 and 6002 aircraft, and a special recognition for his contributions to the G650 program. Chris has demonstrated abilities across a number of technologies and disciplines. Outside of Gulfstream, he serves his community as an advisor in the Student Leadership Program, an initiative that brings together businesses and the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System to offer new learning opportunities to students. He also volunteers as a tutor at the African American Health Information and Resource and is facilitator for the Monster Diversity Leadership Program and a subject matter expert for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).

Most Promising Engineer in Industry Dr. Lester McCoy Systems Engineer Raytheon Company


mployed by Raytheon after distinguished graduate studies, Dr. McCoy, in less than three years with the company, has established himself as a knowledgeable and professional systems engineer with a passion to learn from company subject matter experts. He has been able to apply knowledge rapidly and leverage his strong core leadership skills, allowing him to be selected as a Patriot flight test lead. Generally, flight test leads are much more senior engineers, explained Michael Del Checcolo, vice president, integrated defense systems engineering, Raytheon. “Dr. McCoy’s demonstrated execution skills on previous missions allowed him to be selected by leadership with confidence to the Patriot Flight Test Lead on the final Flight Test of a $3 billion-plus program,” Del Checcolo explained. For such a young man, Dr. McCoy exudes wisdom. In his own words: • Do not give up on goals in the face of adversity. • It is important to be a critical thinker, be inquisitive, to ques-

tion, learn, to gather opinions from those around you, then take a general direction or an idea, formulate it into a problem and come up with an actionable plan to solve it. • Take initiative and ownership for your life decisions and career choices. • Have a service attitude; consider how you can help those on your team accomplish their goals. • We can learn something new from anyone, regardless of position or rank. • Even if you do not actively seek to be a role model, you are judged by your actions, character and people’s perceptions. • It is important to mentor others and seek mentors to walk with you through your life and career.

Most Promising Engineer in Industry Jada Parker

New York City office of CH2M HILL


ith bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering and physics, Jada Parker’s blend of education provides a broad perspective for delivering solutions to company clients, says Mike McKelvy, president of the government, environment and infrastructure division. As the deputy project manager and resident engineer for the rehabilitation of Pier 88 and 90 at the Manhattan Cruise Terminals, Parker coordinated engineer divers and concrete inspectors, managed daily construction reports, dive inspection reports and more. “Jada extends her professional and personal growth beyond the walls of the office through community involvement. She has organized charitable activities on many occasions, including leading an AIDS Walk Team that fund raised $2,000.” Parker also shares a few thoughts, dating back to her early school days, which she urges us to remember. “Unlike some children,” she says, “I enjoyed attending school. As the years went by, I took an interest in math and science, but was constantly reminded to pay equal attention to subjects such as spelling and grammar... since English was not my parents’ native tongue. To this day, I can hear my father chastising me for saying ‘brung’ instead of ‘brought’ or ‘axe’ instead of ‘ask.’ When school was out, in order to keep busy, my sister and I were enrolled in summer camp. “My trials and tribulations gave me the patience and insight needed to work with others and my participation in professional organizations such as the Harambee Black Professional Network and the Commission of Minority Transportation Officials have given me the opportunity to do what I enjoy most, which is mentoring younger men and women interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”


Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

Outstanding Technical Contribution in Industry Dr. Marian Rogers Croak Senior Vice President, Applications & Services Infrastructure, AT&T Labs


r. Marian Rogers Croak is the highest female patent holder at AT&T with 127 patents (and counting) to her name. Croak’s work helped change the way we integrate communication capabilities into our daily lives. Through her efforts, she made it possible for TV viewers to interact with reality shows via voting, enabled by text messages. And: Shortly after Hurricane Katrina battered the coast in August 2005, the engineer envisioned an alternate use for this technology―one that would enable people to efficiently donate

Outstanding Technical Contribution in Industry Dr. Osamuyimen (Uyi) Stewart Chief Scientist, IBM Research–Africa


BM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Virginia Rometty calls Dr. Osamuyimen Stewart “one of our most dynamic technical leaders.” Stewart co-led creation of IBM Research–Africa, and is today, its first chief scientist. His vision, knowledge and insight are poised to have an historic effect on the continent. Rometty continues: “He’s hired dozens of researchers, founded an intern program to accelerate the development of local technical talent and launched more than a dozen projects, including several pilots to enable mobile phone-based crowd sourcing and citizen enablement in Kenya. Stewart’s efforts have helped IBM better understand Africa and its opportunities. This is evidenced by our recent decision to develop over the next decade a range of cloud services in small business, education and health care, building on IBM Watson’s analytic capabilities and powerful high performance computing.” Stewart’s colleagues virtually shout his praise. “Uyi is a leader whose greatest attributes include his tenacity and passion for changing the world starting with Africa. He


money for charitable groups responding to natural disasters. She thus developed the technology that enables us to text a designated number to make a donation to an organization such as the Red Cross. After the 2010 earthquake hit Haiti, for example, the American Red Cross raised more than $32 million via individual $10 donations from people who texted the word “Haiti” to 90999. “This is a great example of rapidly employing modern technology to support a vitally important foreign policy and humanitarian priority,” P. J. Crowley, assistant secretary for public affairs for the State Department, said in a Red Cross press release. “As much as Marian has influenced the telecommunications industry, she continues to make an even bigger impact in the community. A tenacious advocate for the development of women within STEM careers, Marian works with female colleagues to ensure they are comfortable contributing and don’t feel pressured to change their personality to fit their roles in the organization,” observes John Donovan, senior executive vice president, AT&T Technology and Network Operations. “To further help women advance, Marian sponsors several STEM-related employee resource groups to provide community and guidance. She was recently elected to the board of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, and works with young female high school students pursuing math and science careers.”

moved his family from the United States to Kenya. His unique combination of technical acumen, breakthrough thinking and infectious energy make him a critically important leader in our IBM Research team,” says Dr. John E. Kelly III, senior vice president and director of IBM Research, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. “As chief scientist, his role includes setting the technical agenda for IBM Research in Africa. He has built a fast growing, world-class research team that has demonstrated concrete results by leveraging both local talent and IBM’s global research assets to innovate in the African market.” The projects are in areas critical to economic development and an improved standard of living including traffic and transportation management, e-government, healthcare and education. In addition, they are collaborating with local innovators, for example, on defining new business models for supply chain services and new mobile advertising technologies.

pioneer award Dr. Russell Ford

Global Service Leader for Drinking Water Infrastructure CH2M HILL


nterested in the challenges surrounding safe drinking water? Dr. Ford likely has the answers. “Dr. Ford has over 27 years engineering experience developing, evaluating, and designing treatment

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

processes to remove a variety of contaminants from drinking water both here in the USA and abroad,” says Mike Szomjassy, president, energy, water and facilities division, CH2M HILL. Dr. Ford is responsible for advancing drinking water technology, conducting senior technical reviews and is continuously sought after by his peers for solutions to the most challenging water treatment issues, Szomjassy explains. “Upon graduating from Syracuse University in 1986, I took a position at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals as a process development technician,” Ford said. “My responsibilities included assisting with the scale-up of research to production batches of pharmaceuticals. “Later, I applied for a position with Malcolm Pirnie Inc. (now Arcadis) for a water engineer. It seemed that my chemical engineering skills were directly transferable to the world of water process engineering. “I also entered the field at a time when drinking water regulations were changing around the late 1980s and it became evident that a new breed of engineer was needed in the industry, one that understood process and engineering design.” As for life decisions, Dr. Ford notes that switching to the environmental engineering field molded his career. “I love everything that comes with making all types of water drinkable around the world and protecting public health,” he said. “I completed both my master’s and Ph.D. degrees in environmental engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, while working full-time. In 2005, I was an invited member to the National Academy of Engineers-Frontiers of Engineering Program. I am also a board-certified environmental engineer by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers. My work at CH2M HILL has given me the opportunity to develop a variety of innovative solutions to meet client needs around the globe.”

Professional Achievement in Government Lt. Cmdr. Zeita Merchant U.S. Coast Guard


ith 16 years of service behind her, Lt. Commander Zeita Merchant, executive officer, marine safety office, Texas City, U.S. Coast Guard, has served in exemplary roles during an era requiring critical responses at sea. Ricardo M. Alonzo, commanding officer, marine safety unit, recalled Dr. Merchant’s recent involvement with the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, the nation’s first declared Spill of National Significance. “In April 2010, LCDR Merchant was selected as a strategic planner for the first National Incident Command (NIC) for the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill. The NIC coordinated inter agency efforts on a wide variety of issues responders faced, and dealt with high-level political and media inquiries.

Later that October, her expertise was needed for the response once again to lead a team of government and private sector Ph.D.-level scientists charged with analysis of scientific monitoring and sampling operations of oil and dispersant onshore, offshore and in deep water during the response. Also during her tenure as executive officer, she has provided vital leadership as deputy incident commander on numerous marine incidents including an offshore collision of two loaded chemical tankers resulting in internal and external damage to both vessels, a 1,900-gallon heavy fuel oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and a complex joint inter agency boarding on a foreign vessel that resulted in the unit’s first ever narcotic seizure valued at over $1.3 million, Alonzo explained. In addition to her operational expertise, LCDR Merchant is an impeccable role model. She was hand-picked as the face of the Coast Guard for a high-visibility partnership with the Houston Port Authority and Texas Southern University’s maritime transportation program. She serves on the university’s Maritime Industry Advisory Board and has served as a guest speaker numerous times at their Summer Transportation Maritime Academy. As the Coast Guard’s ambassador to the university, LCDR Merchant has “enhanced outreach and recruitment of well qualified students in the areas of science, engineering, technology, operations, logistics, and mathematics,” Alonzo said.

Technical Sales and Marketing Lai Lau

Lead Product Marketing Manager AT&T


ai Lau is a problem solver who looks for groundbreaking ways to find solutions to problems. Lau has a wide range of responsibilities in her position as the lead product manager for M2M Cloud Services. M2M is an opportunity for AT&T to expand its mobile and cloud business lines. She must understand the workings of strategic planning, technical product design, and product management. Lau must also have marketing program development skills to launch end-to-end mobility products and cloud-service platforms. AT&T benefits greatly from Lau’s contributions. She is poised to help the company elevate their M2M Cloud Services to a new level. She handles several innovative projects at AT&T Foundry that will propel AT&T’s mobile and cloud services well past its competitors. Lau also contributes a great deal to hardware strategy for M2M. To excel at her job, she must wear many hats – and do an excellent job all around. In addition to her successful professional life, Lau founded the Washington chapter of the Asian Pacific Islanders for Professional and Community Advancement. As president, Lau worked hard to attract members to the organization. Membership grew to 250 within two years of the chapter’s founding. She also organized educational activities, USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 33

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

such as an AT&T Mobile Hack-a-Thon for high school students and employee health fairs for AT&T employees. In 2013, Lau received President Obama’s Gold Service Award for her community service and volunteerism.

Technical Sales and Marketing

visionary award Kevin Ward

Head of Fastener Engineering and Torque Responsible Chrysler World Headquarters Group, LLC

Marsha Malone Director of Government Relations Lockheed Martin


arsha Malone has many talents—two of which are marketing and selling. She decided on a sales career in 1979 after realizing success could be measured more objectively. “The decision to follow an IT sales career opened up incredible avenues of growth both on a professional as well as a personal level,” she said. Her accomplishments show that she excels, building a successful 35-year career in information technology (IT) within commercial and government contracting. Malone spots trends that benefit the government and keep it up to date. Her current position as director of Homeland Security programs in Lockheed Martin’s Washington operations office has a strong focus on federal programs, including customs and border protection, immigration and customs enforcement and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She supports strategic business initiatives and builds relationships with officials throughout the federal market. Lockheed Martin’s campaign in marketing new technologies to border security succeeded partly because of Ms. Malone’s participation. She formed a relationship with Computer Services Corporation that resulted in a $1 billion contract. Her efforts also led to a $500 million information technology services contract with the Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the U.S. Marshals Service. She also served as the capture manger securing the U.S. Treasury’s Mint bid of $65M and the Transportation Security Administration’s bid of $500 million. In addition, Malone is an executive sponsor and steering committee member of the Women’s Leadership Forum. The forum provides networking, panel discussions and speaking engagements for women within Lockheed Martin. She also serves as a board director for The Women’s Center, an organization that focuses on improving mental health, career choices, and financial and legal well-being for women.



evin Ward is highly regarded among his peers and colleagues. As head of fastener engineering and torque responsible, he has put multiple processes in place resulting in decreased fastener development time. He has also improved first time capability of fastened joints during vehicle manufacturing, and cost reduction through harmonized best practices across multiple vehicle applications—all requiring collaboration, teamwork and project management to be successful. According to Frederick Goedtel, vice president and head of scientific labs and proving grounds, Ward leads a diverse team of 20-plus individuals and is responsible for all fastener engineering, application, best practice, torque responsible, design, release and laboratory operations—supporting the Chrysler Group engineering, powertrain, manufacturing and quality organizations for all critical torque and fastening activities. Kimberly Topping, a director of human resources, also gives kudos to Ward. “Beyond the scope as head of fastener engineering, Kevin is committed to being a role model. He participates in mentoring coordinated through the Engineering Mentoring Program at Chrysler Group LLC and is an active member of the Tennessee State University recruiting team. Kevin is the father of three, and participant in activities such as the Forgotten Harvest which is a not-for-profit organization driven to relieve hunger in the Detroit metropolitan community. Kevin also serves as a life coach to youth providing spiritual counseling and lifeafter-high-school guidance.” Ward recalls the future was unclear to him when he graduated but he considers two of the best decisions he made for his career were accepting a position in Chrysler’s Management Training program out of college and returning to Chrysler after an eight-year hiatus. He says the life lessons that have helped me most in his career are: “Treat people with respect, think out of the box, and support your management’s vision,” he said.

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

progress at the speed of trust

2014 Jasmine C. Bridges

Manufacturing Engineer, 733 Engineering Production Boeing Commercial Airplanes The Boeing Company


asmine Bridges is a manufacturing engineer for Boeing Company. Currently, she works on the wing of the latest model of the 787 Dreamliner, a long-range, mid-size, whole-body, twin-engine jet airliner. Before joining Boeing, she did research on new and alternative energy technologies for Tacoma Power. That position resulted in her earning an engineerin-training certificate. Following almost three years at the public utility, Bridges became an integration engineer at Boeing commercial airplanes unit providing propulsion systems for a military airplane utilizing the 737 platform. She then became a manufacturing engineer on the propulsion system of the 787 airplane. After earning a master’s degree from Columbia University, she was appointed a manufacturing engineer on the wing of the 787. Bridges researched plasticity in ceramic that will be used in aerospace applications. Research is important and enjoyable to Bridges because it allows her to explore new topics and possibilities. Bridges has wanted to build and fly airplanes for as long as she can remember. The thought of becoming an astronaut crosses her mind often, and she’s interested in pursuing this goal. But her head isn’t always in the clouds. Community service is also important to Bridges. She regularly encourages young people to consider careers in math and science. She is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and a board member for MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement), a non-profit group that promotes and teaches students about math, engineering and science. 36 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

Special Recognition

honorees Pamela D. Carter Vice President, Business Development for Global Services and Support Boeing Defense, Space & Security The Boeing Company


amela Carter has built a successful career in international markets. It is her responsibility to secure future growth for Boeing global services and support in Africa, the United Kingdom, Americas, East Asia and Pacific, Europe, Israel, India and the Middle East―all key markets that are important to a top U.S. exporter and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. Carter is the vice president of business development for global services and support (GS&S). This position at Boeing defense, space and security requires developing, integrating and implementing strategies that encourage growth and strengthen customer relations. She also makes sure updated technology and next-generation systems are in place to support market development. In her previous position, she was director of business development for GS&S integrated logistics business. She successfully led Boeing’s global performance-based logistics efforts, doubling Boeing’s integrated logistics business, which measures in billions. She also started an organization simplification to improve marked-based affordability. Prior to Boeing, Carter had a distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force for 26 years in aircraft maintenance, specializing in logistics. The highlights of her military career are impressive. She was a commander at Kunsan Air Base in Korea, chief of aircraft maintenance inspection at Hickman Air Force Base in Hawaii, and logistics group commander at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas. She was awarded the U.S. Air Force Legion of Merit upon her retirement. She also has two Joint Service Achievement medals and several other awards including two for Boeing Business Development Leadership and a Women of Color in Technology Lifetime Achievement Award.

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

Courtney Coulter

Deputy Program Manager and System Engineer Army’s Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM)


ourtney Coulter is deputy program manager for the Identity Resolution Exploitation and Management Services (IREMS) system, an intelligence collection and dissemination system used to uncover international threats, track suspicious activities, link suspicious activities to suspects, identify suspects, and predict the probability of an attack in high-risk regions worldwide. Her achievements are perhaps best characterized by Buane DeLaine, chief of the identity intelligence branch. “The advancements gained because of the contributions of Coulter will undoubtedly benefit the soldier in the field for years to come.” In other words, lives have been saved as a result of her work. During the last 12 months, Coulter has been truly instrumental in the development of a state-of-the-art biometric and forensic-enabled intelligence capabilities in support of IREMS, DeLaine explained. “Coulter led the team that created simpler user interfaces that were easier, more intuitive for the military intelligence analyst. She has been instrumental in developing holistic tools used to halt terrorist activities that prevented attacks against U.S. and allied soldiers. Her contributions include the development of several integrated systems used by multiple nations to uncover behavioral patterns of radical groups and the whereabouts of people on various watch lists. The capabilities that Coulter directed led to identification and the arrest of a terrorist during the IREMS pilot testing,” DeLaine said. Coulter oversees $100 million in engineering efforts, 55 engineers and scientists from different disciplines, the development of IREMS modules, implementation of new capabilities, and deployment of the IREMS system in multiple nations. She must ensure technical intelligence system solutions comply with policies, regulations and laws from government agencies and foreign nations. She directs contracted mathematicians, engineers and scientists designing and developing the IREMS. The objective is to enable intelligence and force protection personnel to access more information sources faster. “Constructive criticism and customer/peer feedback are tools I use to measure effectiveness,” Coulter said. “After the end of a briefing, I usually ask for feedback from my peers on strong areas as well as areas of improvement...When I was in high school, my math teacher worked closely with me. She suggested I try engineering out while in college, and before you know it, I graduated! It’s been an exciting journey.”

Donald Coulter

Deputy Project Lead, Command, Power and Integration Directorate Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center Mission Command 2020 project


y the time Donald Coulter graduated from college, he’d interned with various Department of Defense agencies. He envisioned working with computers and technology for the government in some capacity; however, he said, “you can never fully predict how everything will work out or opportunities that will present themselves along the way,” Coulter said. “I wouldn’t have imagined I would have two graduate degrees, including one in business administration, or that I would travel the places I’ve been.” Dr. Chester Anderson, executive vice president, Conventus Energy Ltd. met Coulter during the 2010-2011 year at Monmouth University, when Anderson was director of the Program for Acceleration in Computer Science Careers. PAC called for weekly K-12 sessions with minority youth on computer science and mathematics concepts, as well as general educational and life skills. Coulter was asked to make math exciting to seventh and eighth graders on Saturday mornings. On Saturday mornings! Now, that’s a task. “Students learned to bring not only their academic problems to Donald, but life problems as well,” Anderson said. “He made such a positive impact on the students that I and the other instructors would sit in on his classes to study his techniques on teaching. This has had a lasting impact on PAC and we have in the order of 30 students coming out every Saturday.” “It is especially noteworthy that Mr. Coulter has continued to seek opportunities to give back to the community while encouraging the next generation of scientists,” Michael Anthony, chief, Mission Command Capabilities Division, said. Coulter participated as a speaker and judge for the Monmouth Junior Science Symposium in New Jersey, and as a virtual judge for eCYBERMlSSION, a web-based STEM competition for high school students. In Maryland, he provides advice on educational programs in local high schools on STEM-related fields. Recently, Coulter was selected to develop leap-ahead technologies in an extensive multidisciplinary effort that supports the decentralized force, fundamentally shifting the way the Army conducts mission command. “The confidence we have bestowed on Mr. Coulter to provide oversight over a significant number of scientists and engineers across the directorate, speaks to his integrity, character, and leadership abilities,” Anthony adds. USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 37

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

Kami Downey

Chemist, Materials Engineering Laboratory Naval Air Systems Command


ami Downey is no stranger to the Navy. She was born on the Langley Air Force Base, where her father was a senior chief. Belonging to a military family gave her the opportunity to travel. She lived in Japan until her senior year in high school. Soon after, she attended and graduated from the University of North Florida with degrees in chemistry and math. The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) welcomed her following her graduation. She has a position at the Fleet Readiness Center South-East Jacksonville in the materials engineering laboratory. She works as a chemist and is currently working towards a master’s degree in engineering management. The scope of her expertise is unparalleled, despite the short amount of time she’s been on the job. Downey’s peers cite her ability to learn and master new subjects. In addition to her duties, Downey has established a solutions analysis program to maintain the quality and integrity of the electroplating, cleaning, surface finishing and nondestructive inspection process solutions. She has also been working on a project to replace cyanide-based silver electroplating processes. Downey is working with other chemists and engineers to find a suitable alternative for aviators breathing oxygen cleaning program. “My advice is to learn everything you can,” Downey said. “Even if the task seems like it’s not in your field, learn it anyway. It may be useful later on in your career. When I graduated college, I was just happy to have a job. But I am very fortunate to have mentors that pushed me throughout my career and help me achieve. In high school, I was always really good at math and science. As a chemist, I am able to use both skill sets.” An advocate for education, Downey promotes STEM-related careers. She teaches fifth-grade students science as part of the Naval Science Enrichment Program.

Antoinette R. Gant

District Commander, Albuquerque District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


t. Commander Antoinette Gant has built an amazing career in an area traditionally dominated by men. Until 2013, she was the only female commander for the 48 Army Corps of Engineers districts across the United States and abroad. In 2012, she assumed command of the Army Corps of Engineers Albuquerque


District. The district, which includes all of New Mexico, and parts of Colorado and Texas, performs design, construction, and operations and maintenance for three New Mexico Air Force bases and nine lake projects. The district also has a civil works program with more than $300 million in operation and construction support. LTC Gant’s career began on graduation from Prairie View A&M University. A distinguished military graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, she later received a Master of Science degree in engineering management from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology). Her career has taken many forms over the years. Some of her positions include platoon leader, mentor/trainer for Reserve and National Guard units, and a brigade engineer for an Infantry Brigade Combat team. Gant is active in Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, where she participates in sorority and community service activities. “Experience is the best teacher. Take advantage of the opportunity to gain experience while in college,” she advised. “It makes you more competitive when it’s time to seek permanent employment.” “When I graduated college I thought I would complete my contract agreement of four years in the military and begin my career as a civil engineer in the private sector. I knew I wanted to be an engineer by the time I reached high school but never thought I would be an engineer in the military. It just happened.” The most important career choices so far she said have been obtaining her master’s degree in engineering management and continuing her military career as an Army officer. The next big thing? “Being selected for colonel and the opportunity to command at that level.”

Kenneth Harris

Division Manager Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme


enneth Harris has built a successful career with the military. His peers recognize him as an excellent leader and superb engineer. Harris has built a reputation as the cooperative engagement capability in service engineering agent subject matter expert. Through his efforts, he expanded the cooperative engagement capability (CEC) program to include the joint services and foreign military sales. CEC enables integrated fire control to counter increasingly capable cruise missiles and manned aircraft. It is a system of hardware and software that allows the sharing of radar and weapons systems data on air targets among U.S. Navy ships, U.S. Navy aircraft, and Marine Corps composite tracking network units. Harris’ ability to make excellent decisions, his technical skill and experience made him a great choice for network and digital systems division manager. He is currently the only African-American manager in four departments across Port Hueneme division naval surface warfare center.

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

In addition to his engineering skills, Harris is popular with his coworkers. Employees remark that he is always willing to help and never hesitates to provide technical and personal guidance when necessary. Community service is also important to Harris. He contributes time and resources to various groups. Two of them are the Senior Leader and Manager Association and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. What lessons has he learned that have helped the most? “Respect, perseverance and never letting someone tell me I can’t do something.” Harris said. “Determination will overcome the majority of obstacles,” he said. He never thought of being an engineering manager, although he knew he had leadership skills. But “mentoring under senior ‘Grey Beard’ engineers and showing initiative/doing or offering to do what needed to be done, without being asked” set him on the course.

Gilda A. Jackson

Director, F-35 Sustainment, Logistic Operations Lockheed Martin, Mission Systems and Training Fort Worth, Jackson


ilda Jackson has made history: she was the first female African-American Marine Corps officer on active duty to be promoted to colonel, first female depot commander at Navy Depot Cherry Point, North Carolina, and the first female Marine aviation logistics squadron commander, MAG-13 deployable unit. “The work Gilda is doing is tremendously important to secure the future of United States and coalition air power,” lauds Mary Ann Horter, vice president, F-35 sustainment, mission systems and training. Jackson is responsible for site activation and support for training, support equipment and logistics products deployed to F-35 Lightning II bases. The F-35 is the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft encompassing three distinct variants. The company is providing the F-35 to 13 military services worldwide, and each customer has unique requirements, Horter explains. “Moreover, each of the F-35 basing locations has unique needs, and Gilda’s leadership is ensuring that each customer and base is successful. She has created a basing framework that will be used for dozens of military installations over the program’s lifecycle,” Horter says. “Gilda is also sought after as a mentor to employees looking to grow their careers, and she gives generously of her time and perspective. She is also active in the community as a role model for youth by volunteering for STEM organizations, including the Girl Scouts’ Girls in Engineering initiative and National Engineers Week programs for local middle schools. In recognition of her upstanding community service, Gilda was awarded the Lockheed Martin Galaxy Award for donating more than 500 hours to mentoring children from low-income communities. At Pennsylvania State University, Jackson is on the Materials and Manufacturing Advisory Board, made up of individuals from industry, government agencies, and academia who advise on current and emerging engineering trends.

Steven Oh

Director, Network Services AT&T


teven Oh never imagined all the interesting twists and turns his life would take. Church, education and gymnastics mattered most to him in high school but he was unsure about a career path. Then his high school team won state championship titles during his junior and senior years, which led to an appointment to the United States Military Academy to join their gymnastics team. After he graduated from West Point, he became an officer in the U.S. Army. Oh served as a signal officer for five years, providing communications support for infantry battalions in Somalia and Haiti. He also provided tactical phone services to the 10th Mountain Division with teams of communications soldiers. Following his military service, he joined AT&T. The assignments with the multinational telecommunications company allowed Oh to work in various departments such as network operations, product development and sales operations. At one point, he was the associate director of process and project management for network operations. In that role, he identified design improvements to advanced intelligent networking service architecture, which saved AT&T $3.5 million. Prior to his current position, Oh became the first certified Six Sigma Black Belt in the newly combined AT&T. This led to deployment of Six Sigma projects resulting in $30 million in savings. In his present position as director of U-verse field operations, Oh leads a team of more than 1,300 technicians and 100 managers. He is in charge of providing customers with Uverse an AT&T brand of triple-play telecomm services in Illinois and northwest Indiana. At his home Gospel Fellowship Church, Oh mentors children through Awana, a children’s ministry, helping churches and parents raise young people in faith. He also spent three years in Awana’s “Truth and Training” program for third to sixth graders.

Calvin Pennamon

Manager of Mission Payload Engineering


idely celebrated for his technical and management expertise, Calvin Pennamon is a vitally important member of Northrop Grumman’s Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program at USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 39

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

Buckley Air Force Base in Denver. Pennamon is a “360 degree leader,” says John Henley, commander of the 2nd Space Warning Squadron at the base. “He is a mentor and motivator who cultivates an environment where the art of the possible is continually within reach.” As lead engineer, Pennamon has oversight of SBIRS operational facilities in the western region and overall mission processing and ground focal point factory interfaces for satellite state of health and command capabilities. His involvement in both areas requires extensive and highly detailed knowledge of satellite systems along with managing eight mission and payload engineers who provide around the clock support for operation of the SBIRS ballistic missile warning system at Buckley Air Force Base. Pennamon also manages three technical advisers who provide field engineering and technical support to the USAF customer to manage a constellation of multi-billion-dollar space assets. Pennamon’s very demanding work requires perfect execution, enormous care and focus, and the ability to rely on lessons learned from the past in order to predict and, hence, prevent disasters. What Pennamon does serves the world community and directly impacts U.S. military action. Since 2012, Pennamon has played a central role in SBIRS by assuring technical advancement of his team with an eye on future development. “Through Mr. Pennamon’s outstanding leadership, this program, so critical to hostile missile warning, maintains a constant readiness for the defense of our country,” says Ronald G. Alford, director, sensor exploitation systems and Colorado campuses.

total force directorate. “He is now sought out by other organizations such as the American Society for Training and Development and the Office of Personnel Management to present at conferences or to provide a point on key initiatives.” As leader of talent management program, what advice does he have for students? “Ask to join and lead facets of a project with the best experts or talent within the organization. Next, seek and accept projects that require you to learn and grow beyond your comfort zone, hence, stretching yourself. And finally, volunteer to work on a project in the company you wish to influence,” Scott said. “I suggest every person write a plan of what they want to do with their life and career. I posted my written plan near my nightstand and reviewed it almost daily. Second, find an expert you admire and find ways to talk or communicate with them often throughout your career…in short, find a mentor. Third, make continuous learning a habit for life. This focus of always learning new and creative ways to achieve an outcome or result will allow you to remain current and dynamic, adaptable, flexible, innovative, forward thinking, and contemporary.”

Alonzie Scott III


Director, Enterprise Talent Management Office (ETMO) Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)


lonzie Scott has spent 24 years with the Navy. He became director of the talent management office in March 2011 when he was asked to design and stand up the organization. He is responsible for creating and executing a strategy that supports NAVSEA leadership’s ability to make fact-based decisions about attracting, developing, and deploying a diverse workforce that can achieve the mission. He oversees lifecycle management for a civilian population of 58,000, including 86 members of the Senior Executive Service, to include Tier I-III senior technologists, leaders, and a highly qualified expert. His responsibilities are designed to produce deliverables under four business operations teams: student engagement and outreach, recruiting, hire and on-board, and develop and retain. “This assignment gave Mr. Scott an enterprise platform that he used to engage stakeholders and empower managers to identify, recruit, develop, retain and deploy a talented and diverse workforce to meet the operational needs of NAVSEA,” explains Margaret Harrell, deputy commander, corporate operations and

Danielle C. Smith

Supervisor, Design Services Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation

anielle Smith is an emerging technical talent and leader. She is an active participant in her division’s leadership development team with a passion for STEM. Her “commitment to excellence is exemplified by her design team’s continued performance on stretch goals for all key indicators for quality, timeliness, productivity, and customer satisfaction,” says John Borkoski, vice president, engineering and project management, BGE. “Since joining BGE is 1993, Danielle has been a strong contributor and leader in each role she has held, including positions in design services, transmission engineering and standards, energy sales and services, gas distribution, and customer planning,” says Darryl A. Stokes, director, engineering and standards, BGE. “As the first African-American woman to hold the role of supervisor of design services, Danielle understands the importance of promoting a diverse and inclusive culture. She continues to be a strong contributor to the Exelon African American Resource Alliance, a company sponsored employee resource group committed to supporting the recruitment, retention, and professional development of African-American employees,” Stokes explains. In addition to her outstanding work at BGE, Danielle serves as a leader and mentor in her community. Her passion for volunteering her time to help young people thrive in the STEM fields is truly inspiring. She frequently mentors students at local schools, including Baltimore City, Howard County, Coppin State University, and Morgan State University. Smith says she plans USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 41

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

to continue participating in STEM initiatives and activities and reach out to as many young people as possible. “The most important career choices I made during my first 14 years of my career were graduating with my M.B.A., mentoring and embracing the changes in my company,” Smith said. “Learn to be agile and have an open mind. Embrace diversity and inclusion because it can give you a different perspective and view on ideas.”

Gerard Spivey

Cyber Software Engineer


erard Spivey is with the intelligence systems business unit of Northrop Grumman’s information systems sector, where he is the principal investigator for an independent research and development project designed to secure sole source continuation of the NCC program, which is approaching $2 billion in sales. Spivey “is the most junior engineer to ever hold this position of responsibility” in the cyber solutions division and continues to perform at a high level, explains Robert Pike, research and development portfolio manager, Northrop Grumman information systems/cyber solutions division. Spivey is also being considered for the future technical leaders program “because his performance shows such promise,” Pike adds. Spivey’s team’s research is designing a test bed to scientifically test and categorize high-speed egress and filtering technologies and evaluate their ability to perform the Intelligence Community’s mission. These devices are operating at new and immature LAN technologies of 40 and 100 gigabits per second. This research will position Northrop Grumman information systems as a thought leader within the intelligence community in respect to integration expertise of cutting edge LAN technologies. In this exciting and challenging position, his responsibilities include: briefing management (up to sector presidents) on engineering and business accomplishments; delivering direction and tasking to the team; and managing a sizeable budget. He is to complete technical tasks in the form of software development; write C/C++ applications for a massively parallel microprocessor; write C/C++ high-speed networking applications, and frontend Java applications for data visualizations.


Nicole Theberge

Supervisory Electronics Engineer Systems Engineer/Production Engineer NAVAIR


icole Theberge has a promising engineering career ahead of her. After working two jobs to pay for tuition, she graduated and received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering physics with a minor in mathematics from the University of Arizona. Upon graduation, Theberge spent five months searching for a job. Not being afraid to move, the first one found her working as a reliability and test engineer. This allowed her to become knowledgeable about logistics and acquisition for Department of Defense systems and reliability centered maintenance concept and processes. She also learned about failure mode and effective critical analysis and maintenance planning. Recognized for her drive and leadership, she became project manager for test and analysis of the Navy’s system for naval target control ground control system equipment. Theberge soon rose to an ordnance assessment and reliability engineer position for the high speed anti-radiation missile (HARM) program. This job allowed her to work out of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) engineering field activity. Her quick mastery led to her promotion as a U.S. government civil servant and another move to a naval air station in California. As a new NAVAIR engineer, Theberge presented information at a weapons readiness, stock pile reliability, program management review and aviation ordnance symposium. She currently supports the Navy in the direct and time sensitive strike program office as a deputy assistant program manager. The next big thing she says is completing her master’s in systems engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School, and getting into the leadership development program. An avid cook, her favorite kitchen gadget is: “Sounds ridiculous but I’d say my favorite is probably my crème brulee torch or my little cuisine art chopper, or my roommates garlic press.” Her favorite website is Pinterest.

Tymon D. Wallace

Architect, Mobile District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


ymon Wallace is a graduate of Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 2004 and started in an entry-level position with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Thanks to his performance, he soon earned promotion to mid-level architect. His ability to quickly grasp and

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

translate concepts into computer renderings of building designs was impressive. Wallace served on the design of an unmanned aerial systems maintenance and training facility for the 7th Special Forces group. He was also responsible for rendering the Columbus Air Force Base Child Development Center. His district received a Concept Design Award from the Air Education Training Command for the child development center project. Wallace is an exceptional architect with the architectural, structural, and civil engineering section. A military architect is responsible for the care and safety of military personnel and civilians. In his role, Wallace designs and reviews buildings and facilities on civil and military installations. This responsibility extends to some civil and military installations located overseas. He also participates in Tuskegee University recruitment events that focus on future engineers. He is active in the local Jack and Jill chapter and Strikers Club International. Currently, he is preparing to finish the architectural registration examination, which assesses candidates for their knowledge, skills, and ability to provide the various services required in the practice of architecture. Wallace’s computer skills include building information modeling software, U.S. Green Building Council professional credentials, AutoCAD and 3D modeling, animation, simulation, and rendering software.

The next phase will be to add middle school students and expand the program to a living on-campus experience,” Soloway said. West is also an adjunct professor in a system that includes the American Military University and reaches 100,000 distance learners in 50 states and 100 countries. Many of the students are members of the armed forces and civil protection services. This online university enables them to earn a degree while meeting their duties. West was one of the advisers who developed the curriculum, which has been approved by the accreditation board so the university can offer a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. With fellow Howard University alum John James, West spearheaded an effort to help Howard become a leader in an area of nanotechnology by driving advances in control systems and autonomous control. Efforts are under way for Howard to become the first HBCU to receive University Applied Research Center designation, encouraging partnerships with industry, attracting talent, and increasing major technological breakthroughs.

Robert E. Williams, Ph.D. Senior Reactor Inspector U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Gregory E. West Chief Engineer, Northrop Grumman


regory West is a mentor within Northrop Grumman and an outstanding leader in community service and STEM educational programs. West is responsible for program execution of factory test equipment development programs valued between $1 million and $15 million. Many of his programs result in return on sales of up to 50 percent. “The foundation to my success and the success of others is performance,” West says. “Performance at the highest levels is the bedrock to success. This has to be followed by exposure and image. You have to become a presence in a wide array of circles where those who make things happen know you and your ability. Your presence is shaped by your image and how you are perceived. You get one shot at setting your image—make it work.” “I have worked with Mr. West on internal and external activities connected to his leadership of the African-American Task Group (AATG)–one of our sector employee resource groups, for which I am a sponsor,” says Constance Soloway, vice president, human resources. “Through AATG, he has supported the professional development of less-tenured engineers, helping prepare them for positions of greater leadership.” West also has worked with Howard University to establish the Summer Engineering Experience for Washington, D.C., area high school students. The program began in 2011 with 10 students and expanded in 2013 to more than 20 students. “It has achieved remarkable results both in enhancing students’ STEM-related knowledge and their confidence and self-respect.


bout the beginning of Robert Williams Jr.’s sophomore year in high school, he joined the minority engineering program of Indianapolis. In MEPI, he met engineers for the first time. “That’s when it clicked for me,” he said. “I was a problem solver and engineers solve every problem imaginable.” As senior reactor inspector at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Dr. Robert Williams has contributed greatly to the NRC’s oversight of commercial nuclear facilities across the United States. His work is crucial in helping the NRC keep its promise to protect people and the environment. The nation’s nuclear facilities need constant monitoring to ensure their safety. Dr. Williams often leads inspection teams that address facility performance issues. By applying expertise and critical thinking, Dr. Williams has effectively reviewed incidents and identified underlying factors. The nation is a safer place thanks to Dr. Williams. Some of his duties include nuclear safety inspections, license renewal, plant operations, chemical safety, maintenance and surveillance of equipment and storage of used radioactive fuel. Dr. Williams is perfect for the job, thanks to his qualifications. He has a Ph.D. in materials science and Engineering with a minor in chemistry and a master’s degree in materials science and engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). He also has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. In addition to keeping the U.S. safe, Dr. Williams does what he can to help those around him. He never misses an opportunity to assist, mentor or coach other engineers and scientists within the NRC. He tries to challenge his co-workers, and to encourage them to perform to the best of their ability. He believes that challenging your technical knowledge is the best way to improve your skills. Dr. Williams is active in the Georgia Tech Black Alumni Organization and the Cobb County Habitat for Humanity. USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 43

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners

progress at the speed of trust


technology leaders


he scientists and engineers who are being honored as Modern-day Technology Leaders during the 2014 Black Engineer of the Year Awards STEM Conference are rising stars in the early stages of their careers. But they are getting noticed already for their skills and accomplishments in conducting research, creating new products and enhancing services for business and governments. Toni Ward Electronics Engineer 402d Software Maintenance Group (581 SMXS) Rae-Anne Alves Infrastructure Manager Accenture LLP Cheryl Moo-Young Infrastructure Manager Accenture LLP Marcus Rugger Software Engineer Aerotek 46 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

David Tran Electrical Engineer Aerotek

Rebecca Keith Electrical Engineer BAE Systems

Mikhiel Advani Senior Network Support AT&T Corporation Inc.

Emmanuel Pean Systems Engineer II BAE Systems

Stacie Williams Technical Sales Consultant AT&T Corporation Inc.

Gerard Thomas Systems Engineering Manager BAE Systems

Cynthia Woods Principal Member of Technical Staff AT&T Corporation Inc.

Willie Williams, Jr. Senior Lead Software Engineer BAE Systems

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners Marshall M. Williams, Ph.D. Chief of Staff & Director of Sector Operations BAE Systems, Support Solutions

Sharri Graham Senior Director Health IT Dovel Technologies

Danielle Jones Enterprise System Administrator Lead General Dynamics Information Technology

Yooku Bedu-Addo Systems Operations Support Baltimore Gas & Electric an Exelon Company

Omar Silver Program Manager Dovel Technologies

Timothy Leath Senior Principal Software Engineer General Dynamics Information Technology

Ratanak Heng General Engineer, Reliability & Maintenance Planning Baltimore Gas & Electric an Exelon Company

Takesha Champion Systems Engineer II Exelis, Inc.

Brian Lewis Server Operations Specialist General Dynamics Information Technology

Victor Ugbogbo Senior QA Engineer Exelis, Inc.

Juned Shaikh Senior Enterprise Architect General Dynamics Information Technology

Shadrack Orero Principal Transmission Specialist Exelon Constellation

Gerard Skinner Network Architect General Dynamics Information Technology

Ted Johnson Director IT Exelon Corporation

Michael Carpenter Senior Design Engineer General Dynamics Land Systems

Dominique Brown Engineer Exelon Corporation/Exelon Generation

Carmen Fernandez Sr. Engineer-Industrial Engineering General Dynamics Land Systems

Tiana Elam Senior Project Manager Exelon Generation, Exelon Corporation

Tolulope Fayanjuola Sr. Tactical Software Engineer General Dynamics-Electric Boat

Ray Moye Exelon Generation, Exelon Corporation

Albert Petties Control Engineer General Motors

Shalana Sugrim Associate Engineer, DSO Support Staff Baltimore Gas & Electric an Exelon Company Nina Batie Associate Booz Allen Hamilton Wes Gavins Senior Associate Booz Allen Hamilton Vincent Holloway Senior Associate Booz Allen Hamilton Jeoffrey Mendez Associate Booz Allen Hamilton Michael Ricks Lead Associate Booz Allen Hamilton Gavin Stokes Senior Associate Booz Allen Hamilton Sean Wilson Associate/Senior System Engineer Booz Allen Hamilton Jaison Busby IT Manager - Network Control Center Chrysler Group LLC Marcus Washington KBE Product Engineer Chrysler Group LLC Isaac Akridge Director, Regional Electric Operations ComEd, an Exelon Company Dorvel Offord Area Manager CIPA ComEd, an Exelon Company Herve LeBlanc Senior Scientist Corning Incorporated Christopher Shogbon Development Scientist Corning Incorporated GrayIn C. Wimberly FMS Lab Integration/M&S Tech Lead Joint Strike Fighter Program Office Department of Defense Jimmy Smith Director, Above Water Sensors-PEO IWS Department of Navy

Kanaga Sahadewan Exelon Generation, Exelon Corporation Norvi Akorli Sr. Software Tester General Dynamics Anthony Mitchell Engineer Technical Support General Dynamics Advanced Info. Systems Ruben Nieves-Hernandez Systems Engineer General Dynamics Advanced Info. Systems Cynthia Albelo Information Assurance General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Blaze Baker Information Assurance Engineer General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Hannibal Iyob Senior Principal Systems Engineer General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Michael Liu Software Engineer General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Andrea Vela Advanced Engineer - Systems General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Shurrone Davis System Architect General Dynamics Information Technology

Victor Ekanem Manufacturing Engineer - Test Systems General Motors Baltimore Operations L’Netta Moss Senior Manufacturing Project Engineer General Motors LLC Blanca Soules Aeronautic Engineering Leader Gulfstream Samuel Carrasco Quality Leader Gulfstream Aerospace Jennifer Sesay Electrical Systems Avionics Gulfstream Aerospace Youness Mokhtari Mechanical Engineer Lead Gulfstream Aerospace Company Lorena Cazal Sustainability Engineer Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Tramone Curry Simulation and Software Engineer Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Kenton Davis Electrical Designer & Wire Router Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Carlos Orr Industrial Engineer III Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Alejandro Vea Quality Leader Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 47

Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners Fernando Angeles MT Lead Gulfstream Aerospace, Mexicali Ignacio Espinoza Gulfstream Aerospace, Mexicali Jose Rosas Manufacturing Engineer/Planner, Sr. Gulfstream Aerospace, Mexicali Luis Trujillo Procurement Qualify Engineer Gulfstream Aerospace, Mexicali Brandon Horton Electrical Engineer Huntington Ingalls Industries Roy Townsend, Sr. Industrial Engineer 3 Huntington Ingalls Industries

Arthur Pemberton System Engineer Staff Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Carl Tinsley Engineer Project Manager Lockheed Martin Corporation

Dana Powers Systems Engineer Staff Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Debra White Systems Engineer Lockheed Martin Corporation

Kirk Aytch Systems Engineer Senior Lockheed Martin Corporation

Serena Johnson System Integration & Test Engineer Lockheed Martin Corporation IS & GS

Allen Cason Mechanical Engineer III Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.

Ronald Bass Software Engineer Lockheed Martin Corporation

Fernando Gaines Electrical Engineer 3 Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.

Matthew Brown Technical Director Lockheed Martin Corporation

Michael Eller Materials Engineer Staff Lockheed Martin Info. Systems & Global Solutions

Kevin Martin Manager Design Engineering I Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.

Craig Brown System Engineer Lockheed Martin Corporation

Benjamin Price Engineering Systems Modeling & Simulation I Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.

Kenneth Campbell System Engineer Lead Lockheed Martin Corporation

Brandon Horton Director of Electrical Engineering Huntington Ingalls Industries - Ingalls Shipbuilding Kimberly Grubb Manager, Engineering 2 Huntington Ingalls Industries - Newport News Shipbuilding

Vaughn Walston Engineering Supervisor Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. Roberto Zeb Eng Project Leader Interiores Aereos, S.A. de C.V. Gulfstream Aerospace Mexicali Yohana Gonzalez Manufacturing Engineer Interiores Aereos, S.A. de C.V. Gulfstream Aerospace Mexicali

Marcus Dawson Electronics Engineer Senior Lockheed Martin Corporation Anthony Garcia Network Engineering Manager Lockheed Martin Corporation Tashika Hussey Engineer Lockheed Martin Corporation Cassandra Jackson Lockheed Martin Corporation

Adrienne Alexander Systems Engineer Staff Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Ryan Johnson Senior Software Engineer Lockheed Martin Corporation

Atherton Carty Systems Engineer Principle Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Dominic Luminello Senior Systems Integration Test Engineer Lockheed Martin Corporation

Kenneth Havior Systems Engineer Staff Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Reginald Matthews Info. Assurance Engineer Staff Lockheed Martin Corporation

Lennox Jackson Systems Engineer Senior Staff Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Derek Stiles Systems Engineer Staff Lockheed Martin Corporation

Tia Furr Project Management & Planning Operations Lockheed Martin IS & GS Heidi Reimer Discoll Project Management & Planning Operations Rep Staff Lockheed Martin IS & GS Bret Smith Software Engineer Lockheed Martin IS & GS - Defense Derek Maxey Software Engineer Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control Andrew Bullard Engineer Structural Analysis Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Johnny Milien Mechanical Engineer Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Nigel R. Moses Project Manager Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Robert I. Wallace Comp Systems Architect Senior Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Quintin Harris Senior Manager, Procurement Engineering Lockheed Martin, Aeronautics Keith Boykin Systems Integration Test Engineer Lockheed Martin, GTL


Black Engineer of the Year Award Winners Walter Ellis The MITRE Company

Yolanda Alexander Director, Systems Engineering Directorate Missile Defense Agency

Simonetta O’Riordan Adjah Communications Systems Engineer Northrop Grumman Corporation

Anthony Brown Project Manager, THAAD Missile Defense Agency

Rina Patel Systems Engineering Manager Northrop Grumman Corporation

Richard Bowing, Jr. Electronics Engineer Naval Air Systems Command

Brad Swardson Software Engineering Manager Northrop Grumman Corporation

Ericka Cottman Electronics Engineer Naval Air Systems Command

William Thomas Systems Safety Engineer Northrop Grumman Corporation

Joyce Brookins Systems Engineer U.S. Air Force

Warren Davis GS-12-0855-Electronics Engineer Naval Air Systems Command

Zachary Van Note Multimedia Manager Northrop Grumman Corporation

Tyrone Moore Lead Electronics Engineer U.S. Air Force

Teia Fennoy Transponder Engineer Naval Air Systems Command

Richard Vitek Northrop Grumman Corporation

Carolyn Coleman Computer Scientist U.S. Air Force Eglin AFB, FL

Arthur (Chidubem) Nwokoye Electronics Engineer Naval Air Systems Command Maurice Patterson Lead Systems Integrity Engineer Naval Air Systems Command Angel Perez Electronics Engineer Naval Air Systems Command

Amani Foster Industrial Engineering Professional Development Program Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems Vincent Hodges Manager, MS&A Architecture & Development Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems Derrick Williams PECO, an Exelon Company

Lonnie Snead Business Financial Manager Naval Air Systems Command

Shelenia Jones Software Engineer Raytheon Company

Monet Wilson Electrical Engineer Naval Air Systems Command

John Mack Principal Mechanical Engineer Raytheon Company

Chibueze Uchendu In-service Electrical Engineer Naval Air Warfare Center

Kenneth Angel Program Mgr./IPT Lead Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems

Stanford Gross Flight Test Engineer Naval Air Warfare Center-Aircraft Division

Vincent Kirk Sr. Principal Systems Engineer Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems

Shawnette Adams Human Factors Engineer Northrop Grumman Corporation

Meike Louis Sr. Systems Engineer II Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems

Eboni Fotang Mission Assurance Manager Northrop Grumman Corporation

Shanay Spencer Material & Processes Engineer Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems

Michelle Fox Software Engineer Northrop Grumman Corporation

Carlose Green Project Engineer The Aerospace Corporation

Charles Garrett Systems Engineer Northrop Grumman Corporation

Cedric Mann Systems Director, Processing and IQ The Aerospace Corporation

Kent Ishigooka Manager, Call Center Northrop Grumman Corporation

Reginald A. Gillins, Sr. Versatile Technologist The Boeing Company

Gowri Kannan Software Engineer Northrop Grumman Corporation

John F. Parnell Versatile Technologist The Boeing Company

Arthur Okotete Electrical Engineer Northrop Grumman Corporation

Linda M. S. Thomas Associate Technical Fellow The Boeing Company


Surina Kennedy The MITRE Corporation Malcolm Kirwan The MITRE Corporation Prakash Subramanian The MITRE Corporation

Tomyka Muse Chief of Contracts Management Flights U.S. Air Force Eglin AFB, FL Victoria Pearson Manufacturing/Quality Engineer U.S. Air Force Eglin AFB, FL Kwame Boateng US Army , Department of Defense Mario Beddingfield Civil Engineers U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Moses Mingle Chief, Electronic Warfare Systems Ground Branch U.S ARMY CERDEC I2WD John Green Construction Representative U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District Philip Merchant Construction Quality Assurance Representative U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Allice Gholson Assistant Engineer Officer U.S. Coast Guard USCGC Escanaba Amaka Oji Petroleum Engineer U.S. Department of Defense HQ Air Force Petroleum Agency Warren Judge United States Coast Guard Brian Moses Technical Team Lead for Fleet Readiness Ctr. United States Navy Karen Potts Director of SAMS Customer Planning & Analysis Walmart (Information Systems Division)

Science Spectrum Trailblazers

The 2013 Trailblazers award-winners.




ver the past decade, the Emerald Honors Science Spectrum Trailblazers list has showcased hundreds of trailblazing professionals who support the science enterprise in a variety of ways. They include ensuring air travel is safe for passengers and cargo, preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancer, predicting seismic activity, measuring the impact of naturally-occurring chemicals on climate change, creating biotech products that boost food supplies in severe geographical conditions, using super computers to predict why and how buildings collapse and avalanches occur, and helping in environmental restoration and care of the Chesapeake. In a word, science is life and scientific and technical jobs are found across the spectrum―which runs from clinical research to bio informatics, ecology-environmental science to

physics, pharmacology to zoology, and everything in between. No doubt about it, American organizations are creating high-paying, high-quality jobs in economically significant areas such as information technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology, computing, and advanced networking, as well as energy production and use. They are also investing in chemistry, material science, mathematics and engineering to advance knowledge and technologies used by scientists in every field. Whether it is research for electrical energy storage, developing nanotechnology manufacturing, characterizing novel materials in high-growth research fields, or improving everyday understanding of biological systems to accelerate innovation in biosciences, including disease diagnosis and treatment. So if you’re already looking to reform radioisotope producUSBE&IT I WINTER 2014 53

Science Spectrum trailblazers

tion and application programs; expand supercomputing facilities, even model climate change and scientific simulation, why not check out career pathways in Aerotek, Accenture LLP, Cayley Aerospace, General Motors, Gulfstream Aerospace, Lockheed Martin Corporation, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Undersea Warfare

Center, The Aerospace Corp., Boeing, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard Counter Intelligence Service, or Walmart? And that’s just a few of many American organizations driven by science.


Cheryl Moo-Young Infrastructure Manager Accenture LLP

Gary Simms Senior Program Manager Lockheed Martin IS & GS

Rae-Anne Alves Infrastructure Manager Accenture, LLP

Raquel Figueroa Technical Control Manager Lockheed Martin IS & GS - Defense

Dwayne Armbrister Electrical Engineer Aerotek

Ernest Smiley Chief, Future Information Technology Solutions National Geospatial Intelligence Agency

Rafael Valdez Systems Engineer Aerotek

Katrina Mansfield Acting Class Desk Engineer Naval Air Systems Command

Bishnujee Singh Chief Executive Officer CAYLEY AEROSPACE INC

Anh Nguyen Engineer Naval Undersea Warfare Center

Donnell Johnson Staff Project Engineer General Motors

Bernard Jefferson Associate Department Director The Aerospace Corporation

Avoki Omekanda Staff Research Engineer General Motors

Tai Anh Lam, Ph.D. Materials, Process, and Physics Engineer The Boeing Company

Jennifer Sesay Electrical Systems Engineer Gulfstream Aerospace

Euclid Woo IP Portfolio Development & Management The Boeing Company

John Johnson Quality Engineer III Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

Franchelle Craft U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Tamara Crawford Aeronautical Engineer Senior Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Charles Ladday, Jr. Systems Engineer Senior Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Karl Scieneaux Embedded Software Engineer Senior Staff Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Roland Williams Systems Engineer Senior Staff Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Christel Johnson Environmental Engineer U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District Megan Copening Intelligence Officer U.S. Coast Guard Counter - Intelligence Service Samuel Moses Senior Director, Global Technology Services Walmart Eric Harrington Electronics Engineer/Project Manager Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex

Monica Leong Research Science Assistant Lockheed Martin Corporation


BEYA Success

by Gale Horton Gay

getting the most from beya means coming back Good things bear repeating. That’s Terrence Head’s view of attending the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) conference. He encourages students, corporations and organizations to continually mine the opportunities that exist through BEYA, and returning year after year is one of the best ways to do that. Head should know. He’s attended 12 BEYA conferences during the past 18 years as a student and as a working professional. He’s now director of productization, business technology and transformation at BAE Systems Inc., a global provider of defense and security products, and in 2012 was a speaker at two BEYA conferTerrence Head ence workshops. He recalls how “raw and green” he was in 1995 when he was a student at South Carolina State University attending his first BEYA conference. He was impressed by all the learned and accomplished STEM professionals who “looked like me” and he admits being “overwhelmed in a great way.” Wisely, Head kept going back, using knowledge he gained from the seminars and workshops to polish his appearance, resume, elevator speech and more. “It gave me an edge,” said Head. And it didn’t take long for this diligence to pay off. He landed internships at General Motors and Chrysler as well as his first job at Lockheed Martin through BEYA. Head recalls attending conference workshops and seminars learning what companies were looking for in candidates for employment. He said that’s how he discovered what to focus on and how to prepare for his future. Head said BEYA experiences can be helpful to any student, from freshman to Ph.D. candidates, but he stressed that there’s a major advantage in going to the conference in one’s freshman or sophomore year and returning again and again. The benefit of repeat attendance is that one can build on one’s knowledge and experiences and become more polished and confident. “You will find what you do and what you don’t do well the earlier you go,” he said. “If you go in your freshmen year, you can see what it’s about, stumble, make mistakes, find your footing.” Through the years he learned what to wear, how to introduce

himself, the talking point to make sure to leave with those he meets. Head has master degrees in business administration and technology management from the University of Maryland-University College. He also has a doctorate in information technology from Capella University. He has been recognized by BEYA as a modern day technology leader. Head said recruiting isn’t part of his responsibilities or those of many other professionals at BEYA. “We go every year to give back,” said Head, adding that he could never repay all the benefits he’s received from participating. From a corporate perspective, the conference provides an exceptional opportunity to meet and interview talented AfricanAmerican students and professionals, he pointed out. It’s also an excellent means for companies such as his—BAE Systems—to better establish a brand image. “Nobody knows BAE Systems,” said Head. “We’re the biggest company you’ve never heard of.” However, his firm raises their visibility by being involved at the conference, having signage with their logo and informing students of the work they do and the opportunities that exist. Head also offered the following tips to students about getting the most out of the BEYA conference experience: • Impressions happen at any time. Realize that even though the career fair may end at 5 p.m. and the seminars and workshops are over, you will encounter professionals throughout the hotel, conference spaces, restaurants and elsewhere. Be mindful of your behavior and the positive or negative messages you may be conveying. You don’t want to be remembered as the one behaving inappropriately in the lobby by someone who has decision-making power over internships or full-time employment. • Networking is important. Learn the value of making connections throughout the conference. Ask questions. Engage professionals in conversation about what their work, what their companies do and your aspirations. • Don’t leave home without a business card. Head said he learned the value of this and attended BEYA events with his pockets full of cards he could hand out to just about everyone. “If you take advantage of all the resources you will quickly distinguish yourself among your peer,” Head said. Head calls BEYA an investment that will pay dividends “not just that one semester but throughout your matriculation years.” USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 55


Where You Find the Best Jobs and Hardest-working EmployeEs


ast fall, Career Communications Group (CCG), the company behind the Black Engineer of the Year Awards STEM Conference, put a stop to the hassle of finding a job. CCG’s new job board has America’s top science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) employers in a one-stop shop. The BEYA STEM employers include long-term supporters of Historically Black College and University engineering schools, institutions graduating the most Hispanic engineers, as well as the most admired employers of minority professionals—nominated by readers of US Black Engineer & Information Technology, Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology and Women of Color magazines. Unlike many job boards which aren’t aimed at a specific group, the BEYA STEM Job Board is focused on matching STEM job seekers looking for the best job with the world’s hardest working employers. The A-Z list of BEYA STEM employers will no doubt fill the need of interns, professionals, and executives everywhere.

BEYA SYEM Job Board Employers

“What’s most special about the CCG job board is that it is specifically geared to minority and STEM students,” Rayondon Kennedy said. Kennedy is the new assistant editor of US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine. CCG makes it a priority to listen to individual needs and customize personnel solutions for businesses and workers,” said CCG corporate communications specialist Imani Carter. “The new CCG job board isn’t a generic application that lists irrelevant set of jobs. [It’ll] serve effectively as a space for prospective employees to post resumes and seek hiring employers.” On the new site, employers are able to post available job openings and internships, which students and professionals will be able to view and apply for. Also, registered members will have access to sign up for job alerts. This feature will allow members to receive a notification each time a new job is posted to the site. Featured jobs are placed on a scrolling application that lists the latest featured jobs on our site. Without having to use search engines, this feature will quickly provide new job openings around the country. Another outstanding feature is the ability to post resumes. “Posting your resume allows all BEYA STEM partnered companies to view and evaluate your resume,” Carter said. “If you are the candidate that makes the best fit for their company, they will be able to select and contact you.” Members of the site will also be able to view articles giving tips on how to land a dream career. Job hunting advice, resume writing, and career advice are all sections in which you get advice that help make you the ideal candidate. While searching for jobs you can use the salary research tool. Members can use this tool to research how their paycheck compares to other people in the same industry. This function can compare salaries by industry, function, location and other demographics. Alexandria Young works on the daily maintenance of the CCG job board. 56 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

Top Employers Abbott Accenture Aerotek Alabama A&M University Amtrak AT&T BAE Systems Booz Allen Hamilton Central Intelligence Agency CH2MHILL Chrysler Group LLC Constellation Energy Corning Incorporated Department of Defense (DOD) Exelis Exelon Corporation Florida A&M University General Dynamics Corporation Hampton University

Harris Corporation Howard University IBM Corporation Jackson State University Lockheed Martin Corporation Morgan State University National Security Agency NAVSEA Norfolk State University North Carolina A&T University Northrop Grumman Corporation Prairie View A&M University Raytheon Shell Siemens Southern University Southwest Tennessee State University The Aerospace Corporation

“I am working on creating a space in which job creators and job seekers can come together and fill employment needs,” Young said. “I help job-seekers create a resume that they use to apply for positions. These resumes are then maintained in a database for employers to search. In the ‘Who’s Hiring’ section, I maintain a space for companies to impart information to the public and to showcase their accomplishments and core values. Through single job listings and other merchandise, companies are then able to list their job needs.” Young’s tips for BEYA STEM Job Board success are: • Make as detailed a personal profile as you can to make searching for your resume in the database easier for employers. • List your location, career field, Category: healthcare, engineering, accounting, etc. • Languages spoken • Desired salary • Security clearance • Work shift “Our objective is to provide another platform for our partners to have more visibility in the job postings initiative at places where all their clientele are going to see what jobs are available without having to scour for the jobs they are interested in,” concludes associate publisher Alex Venetta. “It’s meant to be an all-in-one job board for CCG clients.” Career Communication Group Inc.’s new job board is an exciting element that features a variety of helpful tips and applications that makes the search for employers and employees less difficult and draining. The job board provides plenty of facts, the latest news regarding STEM careers and internships, instant job alerts and a great resume posting space that will greatly enhance your job/internship search experience.

The quesTion isn’T wheTher They’ll soar; iT’s how high.

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wiTh The power of an educaTion, The sky is The limiT. ®

At Southwest Airlines, we’re committed to supporting education-related programs that help thousands of children each year——like Southwest’s Adopt-A-Pilot, National Urban League Black Executive Exchange Program, and the Tom Joyner Foundation, to name a few. With a little help, today’s African American youth will become tomorrow’s leaders, and that’s why we celebrate Black History Month yearround. Visit ®

NACME Celebrates Itself at 40 N

by Lango Deen

what works: successful programs and practices

ational Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Inc. believes the concept of the learning organization—a community in which each member is encouraged and assisted to grow—increases the proportion of African-American, American Indian and Latino graduates in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers. But as more countries around the world strive to retain a competitive edge in innovation and technology, can the organization ensure American competitiveness in a flat world? For four decades, the White Plains, N.Y.-based organization has grabbed the lead in working with partners to produce an engineering graduating class that looks like America. That strategy has been facilitated in large part by NACME’s foundation portfolio: establish and grow partnerships, build institutional capability, learn from programs, and transfer and adapt knowledge. “The current NACME strategy is anchored on four key results areas,” says Irving Pressley McPhail, Ed.D, president and chief executive officer since 2009. They are “scholarships and university relations; pre-engineering programs, research and program evaluation; and engineering public policy.

“Our strategic plan, Connectivity 2015, is the blueprint for ensuring U.S. competitiveness in STEM through an investment in the hidden talent pool of under-represented minority learners. NACME remains convinced that unless we make such an investment, we will only be papering over our economic and competitiveness problems,” he said.

Making history

In 1974, NACME’s founders estimated that it would take 10 years for minority representation in engineering graduates to mirror that of the college-age population. Although enrollments

L-R: Michael T. Pan, vice president of finance/administration, and CFO, Saundra Johnson Austin, BSCE, MBA, senior vice president for operations; Irving Pressley McPhail, Ed.D., president and CEO; Marjorie H. Everitt, vice president for institutional advancement, Aileen Walter, vice president, scholarships and university relations 58 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

Mark E. Russell, vice president of engineering, technology and mission assurance, Raytheon Co., is the current chairman of NACME’s Board of Directors

Christopher Smith, director of research and evaluation, NACME

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, ranking member on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

soared through the mid-1990s, a persistent achievement gap continued to grow. NACME found that only two of five minority students nationally who enroll in engineering graduate with a baccalaureate degree in engineering, compared to two of three non-minority students. One report by the GE Fund found that U.S. engineering institutions would need to graduate more than 250,000 minority engineers in the coming decade to reflect the ethnic and racial composition of the general population. The task was daunting, especially considering that those institutions had only graduated 116,000 since 1971. Twenty-eight years after NACME was founded, parity remained elusive noted a Pan-Organizational Summit on the U.S. science and engineering workforce. The meeting also found that in 2001, African Americans, American Indians, and Latinos— one-third of the college-age population—represented only 10 percent of all engineering graduates and only six percent of the engineering workforce.

represented minority undergraduate engineers. Together they produce 30 percent of the next generation of minority engineers. NACME also administers the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Minority Ph.D. Program and the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnerships. The aim is to produce 100 minority Ph.D. graduates in STEM disciplines each year. Through a network of partnerships including 59 faculty nationwide, the program has produced 842 Ph.D. graduates. Through the NACME Scholars (Block Grant) Program, partner universities provided scholarship support to 110 students who transferred from community colleges. These students received a total of $220,100 in scholarship funding, which will enable them to complete a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Thirty-one transfer students completed their Bachelor of Science degree in engineering at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year. On average, NACME Scholars earn a 3.3 grade point average on a 4.0 scale and earned bachelor’s degrees in engineering at a rate of 82 percent.

Seamless approach

The NACME Report

Nonetheless, by 2001, NACME’s history of college scholarship support for high-potential students of color became a more seamless approach—middle school to workplace. Individual scholarships, which NACME awarded in the 1990s through its Engineering Vanguard Program, served as a demonstration model. To impact more institutions and students, the organization moved to a block grant mechanism that afforded partner institutions greater flexibility in coverage and administration of student costs. In July 2002, NACME sent a letter to the presidents of 277 Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)accredited engineering institutions inviting them to indicate their interest in joining in the block grant program. They received 110 responses with supporting documentation (a 40 percent return). Since then, NACME has partnered with 50 academic institutions with a focus on increasing the production of under-

NACME has also built its reputation on conducting research and analysis as well as disseminating information through publications, conferences, and electronic media. “In October, NACME released its “NACME Scholars Retention and Graduation Report” for schools enrolled in its block grant program from 2004 to 2012,” said Christopher Smith, director of research and evaluation. “The report summarizes the six-year graduation rates for minority and non-minority first-time, full-time engineering students who first enrolled in NACME Partner Institutions in the 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07 school years. The report was customized for each university to help them gauge their progress in retaining minority students in engineering to graduation at an equal rate to their peers. These graduation rates will be calculated for each subsequent cohort annually,” he said.


What works

In April 2012, U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, ranking Over the past 40 years, NACME has been at the forefront member on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Techof efforts to increase the representation of talented Black, Native nology, and NACME held a press conference to introduce the American, and Hispanic women and men in STEM education and “Broadening Participation in STEM Education Act.” careers. The organization has become America’s largest private “For 20 years, I have worked to ensure diversity provisions provider of undergraduate scholarships in engineering for underin legislation that come before the science committee are as represented minorities, helping thousands of students pursue strong as possible. I want to thank (NACME), the American Sociengineering degrees over the same period. ety for Engineering Education, the American Association for UniWith funding from corporate and individual donors, NACversity Women and the Society of Women Engineers, who have ME has supported more than 23,000 students with over $124 endorsed this legislation and hopefully we can get it moving.” million in scholarships and other support, and currently has more The “Broadening Participation in STEM Education Act” than 1,200 scholars at 51 partner would authorize the director of the institutions across the country. NACNational Science Foundation to ME is also implementing a middle award grants to increase the number school through community college of students from under-represented strategy to increase the proportion of minority groups receiving deunderrepresented minority students grees in STEM. The bill would in STEM disciplines. also expand the number of faculty With an increase in funding, members from underrepresented NACME was able to expand its minority groups at colleges and scholarship program to $5.6 million universities. in fiscal year 2012. This was made This fall, NACME received an possible through the generosity of award from the NSF to conduct a corporate funders and university research project entitled, “Success —Mark E. Russell, chairman, partners. In fiscal year 2012, 83 perFactors for Minorities in Engineer NACME board of directors cent of spending supported programs ing: A Study of NACME Programs.” and 17 percent supported manageThe exact grant amount is $296,482 ment and development spending. over a three-year period. NACME is fortunate to have “All of us at NACME are ecboard leadership from some of the static about this NSF award,” said most prestigious corporations in McPhail. “The insights gained America, many of which were NACME founding members, Dr. in this project will help NACME shape the standards and McPhail said. “I was pleased to welcome Cisco Systems Inc., expectations for the programs and students we support. The Rolls-Royce plc, and PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union). I proactive engineering community is poised to make practical was also pleased to welcome Comcast, Delphi, Honeywell, PTC, use of the insights gained in this study in the national effort and Gannett to the NACME Corporate Council. The financial to increase the representation of African American, American support, advice and guidance from these partners permit NACME Indian, and Latino women and men in engineering education to persevere in the creation of a well-educated, diverse engineerand careers.” ing workforce.” Mark E. Russell, vice president of Engineering, Technology and Mission Assurance, Raytheon Co., is the current chairman of Successful Programs and Practices NACME’s Board of Directors. Eileen Campbell, vice president, Marathon Oil Corporation, “Having been an active member of NACME’s Board since served on the NACME board beginning 2006 while Dr. John 2004, and serving as vice chairman since 2011, I am honored to Brooks Slaughter was president. Campbell was chair of the board chair the board as of October of this year,” Russell said.” For my from 2009-2011. two-year tenure as chair, I look forward to promoting NACME’s “While chair, I saw the need for NACME to expand our reach accomplishments and furthering our mission, particularly to help into federal public policy. Thus, we formed the public policy comadvance support for the engineering profession and the career mittee to ensure NACME had a voice to prompt government to ad- opportunities therein for underrepresented minorities,” he said. dress the “new” American dilemma: the relative absence of African “NACME’s great work for the past 40 years in championing Americans, American Indians and Latinos in STEM educational America’s competitiveness is evident by the expanding number programs and careers, and the requirement to reverse this situation of minorities who pursue careers in STEM.” to compete globally. NACME has urged Washington to institute Russell says he also looks forward to strengthening partnerpolicies that support education and career preparation of underrepships across a spectrum of industrial, technology and service resented minorities on numerous occasions.” sectors including aerospace and defense, information technology, Campbell spoke of her pride in the accomplishments during her analytic and computing, finance, energy; and many others. eight-year service. “I was proud of the organization, staff and com“The need to increase our STEM talent pipeline is critical panies which support NACME. Companies and corporations give to our country’s competitiveness, national security and ecoa lot of money to organizations to provide scholarships to undernomic growth. By collectively leveraging America’s industrial, represented minorities, but NACME gets results: Approximately 83 academic and civic strengths, NACME can achieve its vision percent of NACME Scholars graduate with a degree in engineering that our STEM workforce represents the diverse composition of in five years with an average GPA of 3.3. That is impressive!” our nation.”

“The need to increase our STEM talent pipeline is critical to our country’s competitiveness, national security and economic growth.”


Make a Difference Through Public Service DoD Offers Diverse Opportunities You don’t need to wear a uniform to serve your country. Civilians serve throughout the Department in a wide range of careers including Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. We are also committed to growing our employees into the leaders of tomorrow through career development and leadership programs. At the Department of Defense, we believe that diverse backgrounds and experiences give us a strategic advantage in developing the technologies and innovations that enable mission success. Diversity encompasses more than race and gender – we seek to include diversity of thought, abilities, background, language, culture, and skills. Help us grow our diverse workforce and support national defense. Learn more about civilian and military career opportunities in the Department of Defense by visiting and

best practices for success Some of the brightest minds in STEM, business and government offer their insights and advice about living and working to one’s best potential.

The Next Level

by Gale Horton Gay

innovative strategies to attract youth to stem


or some engineers success makes them yearn for more success—not just for themselves but for others. Two Maryland engineers are using their knowledge, experiences and passions as the foundation for showing young people the path to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Rhonda Thomas and Shawna Stepp-Jones have launched separate initiatives designed to give students and their parents an insider’s view of the many facets of engineering and the steps needed to make an engineering career a reality. Rhonda Thomas, a general engineer with the Federal Aviation Administration, is also the founder of Leap Forward, an organization that ensures that elementary, middle and high school students have an understanding of the opportunities that exist in engineering. Thomas recalled that when she was a senior in high school a counselor stopped her in the hall and asked about her plans after graduation. She had her sights set on majoring in English in college and pursuing a career in journalism or teaching. That counselor told her that teachers don’t make much money but with her aptitude in math and science she should consider a career in the more lucrative field of engineering. “I didn’t even know what engineering was,” said Thomas. That conversation resulted in a course correction, and with the help of that counselor, Thomas applied for and was accepted into a Navy coop program and she began her pursuit of an engineering career. “Passing him in that hall changed my life totally around,” said Thomas, who received an engineering degree from Tennessee State University. Starting Leap Forward is Thomas’ way of honoring what that counselor did for her. In fact, she named the organization and its scholarship program—the Wallace Leaper Memorial Scholarships—in his honor. “I don’t want kids who look like me to learn about engineering in their senior year in high school,” she said. Thomas explained that her organization doesn’t waste time creating programs that already exist but relies heavily on finding good programs and putting those programs to work for them. “There are so many STEM programs in existence now,” said Thomas. “The logistics have already been worked out. In addition to visiting students at their schools to talk about engineering careers, Thomas and her partners also engage young people in competitions that involve science, technology, engineering and math and take students on field trips. In February 2014, outings are planned to the Women in Engineering’s Dream Conference at the University of Maryland College Park and the National Building Museum’s Engineering Day in Washington, D.C. Thomas said she relies on local engineers to assist as volunteers and matches them with various needs of the group.

Rhonda Thomas, general engineer, Federal Aviation Administration

She said she’s flexible and recognizes that not everyone will be available for all programs and events. Young people have an array of obligations and distractions that present challenges when trying to get them involved in programs such as Leap Forward, according to Thomas. One of her strategies in dealing with this is to get parents involved. “If mom and dad say, ‘This is important. I want you to learn about STEM,’ and when you have something they actually bring them out, it helps and it goes a long way,” said Thomas. Since its official launch in 2001, Leap Forward, based in Prince Frederick, Md., has conducted college tours, awarded more than 100 scholarships and brought the Maryland Mathematics Engineering and Science Achievement program to Calvert County, Md. It also has exposed youth to engineering camps and scholarships sponsored by organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers and the BEYA Awards Conference. USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 63

best practices for success

The Next Level cont’d Soliciting input from the youth is another of Thomas’ strategies. She recently asked a group of students to pick a name for a junior chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. They chose CASH, which didn’t immediately make a positive impression on Thomas. The name stands for Creatively and Striving Hard, which Thomas decided was appropriate after she gave it some thought. “But then I thought about you need money for scholarships, and engineers make a lot of money,” she remarked. Shawna Stepp-Jones, a patent examiner with the U.S. Patent Office, holds an electrical engineering undergraduate degree from Morgan State and a master’s degree in technical management from Johns Hopkins University. In her job, Stepp-Jones uses her technical expertise to examine patent applications pertaining to display systems. From applications for plasma and LCD flat screens, to applications for portable e-book readers, to applications for Apple’s cool touch input user interfaces, she researches these inventions and determines the patentability of the invention, according to her website. “The coolest thing about my job is seeing all of the latest and greatest groundbreaking technology before it actually hits the market,” states Stepp-Jones. She is also founder and president of Divaneering, an organization whose focus is on getting elementary, middle and high school girls to have a better understanding of the opportunities that exist in engineering. The group’s slogan is “Where girls are engineered into divas.” Stepp-Jones, who was crowned Miss Maryland Plus America for 2013, said she’s found a way to combine two of her passions for the greater good. “Holding the titles of beauty queen and engineer breaks down the stereotype of what most engineers look like,” said Stepp-Jones. “Often times when I speak to young ladies, they tend to think we are introverts and quirky and geeky and nerdy so I make sure when I come before them I have fashionable attire. I am trendy. I appeal to their visual sensory so they, too, know that in fact we as female engineers are dynamic. We are fashionable. We are diva-licious. We are diva-rific.” Divaneering focuses on fashion, health and beauty design challenges to engage the girls. Challenging girls to think critically in their creative and design pursuits and building their confidence are also among the group’s missions. Some of the projects Stepp-Jones has come up with for the girls include having them make lipstick out of crayons to expose them to chemistry and creating LED earrings that require them to construct a mini electrical circuit before fashioning the earrings with studs and fabric. “My vision is to triumphantly break through the barriers of this male-dominated tech profession by providing these young ladies with mental, emotional and intellectual artillery for success,” she said. 64 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

Shawna Stepp-Jones, patent examiner, U.S. Patent Office

Stepp-Jones spells out five keys to success that applies to her organization and which others can be guided by as well: • Instill creativity and innovation in one’s approach • Engage and capture the audience’s attention immediately • Be relatable. “Working with children they love to be understood.” • Foster relationships • Do what you love Asked how she balances her professional life with the rigors of running a nonprofit group on the side, Stepp-Jones said building teams is the key. She added that when her female engineering friends who work in various fields—electrical, software, industrial engineering—asked what they could do to help, she put them to work on a team. “What I found helpful for me was to create teams. Give them responsibility and not micro-manage,” she said. “Have them collaborate on my vision.” Those teams, she said, made all the difference.

EDUCATION Information is our most powerful resource, whether we receive it via the printed page, a computer screen, or from a dedicated teacher. In this section, we look at the trends and developments that are expanding STEM education.

Book Review favorite books from beya alumni


“If you encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads” --Ralph Waldo Emerson t BEYA we are surrounded by people of rare intellect, which is why US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine asked each of the 2014 BEYA STEM winners to share what book they’ve found to be most impactful on their career. Below are some of titles they came up with and what they found most useful . How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie “It is traditional and yet a contemporary behavioral masterpiece featuring a vital skill every leader should aim to achieve. The executive, managerial or leadership skill is storytelling…to market, advertise, promote an organizational mission and vision and inspire people to want to work with you to achieve results. I read the book years ago and often refer to it when I want to cover a complex message.” –Alonzie Scott III, director, enterprise talent management, Naval Sea Systems Command

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money―That the Poor and the Middle Class Do Not! By Robert T. Kiyosaki “I’ve found it impactful on my career not because of the financial implications but because of the emphasis that was placed on getting out of your comfort zone. There is a particular part of the book when Robert Kiyosaki talks about taking a sales position to get acclimated to functioning in that type of environment, even though it was extremely uncomfortable for him. Frequently doing things like public speaking that may be uncomfortable but needed to be successful have made me a well-rounded employee and individual.” – Adrian Webb, senior engineer, design, Caterpillar Inc.


“It provides great insight into the skills one needs to work with people. To understand what you have to do to gain people’s trust and to get those in positions of authority to hear your voice. To be an effective leader you have to be an influencer; this book develops that skill.” – Gregory West, chief engineer, Northrop Grumman.

The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women by Elaine Meryl Brown, Rhonda Joy McLean, Marsha Haygood, Angela BurtMurray “[It] is a great book that shares strategies to help all black women, at any level of their careers. It focuses on the building blocks of true leadership—selfconfidence, effective communication, collaboration and courage—while dealing specifically with stereotypes.” –Paige Lewter, electronics engineer, Naval Air Systems Command

Adrienne Alexander

Kirk Aytch

Ronald Bass

Keith Boykin

Craig Brown

Matthew Brown

Andrew Bullard

Kenneth Campbell

Atherton Carty

Marcus Dawson

Michael Eller

Tia Furr

Anthony Garcia

Quintin Harris

Kenneth Havior

Tashika Hussey

Cassandra Jackson

Lennox Jackson

Ryan Johnson

Serena Johnson

Dominic Luminello

Reggie Matthews

Derek Maxey

Johnny Milien

Nigel Moses

Arthur Pemberton

Dana Powers

Heidi Driscoll

Derek Stiles

Carl Tinsley

Robert Wallace

Debra White

Science Spectrum trailblazers:

Tamara Crawford

Raquel Figueroa

Charles Ladday, Jr

Monica Leong

Karl Scieneaux

Gary Simms

Roland Williams

Paving the Path of


Lockheed Martin congratulates the men and women who are recognized as Modern Day Technology

Leaders and Science Spectrum Trailblazers. Lockheed Martin commends you for your achievements and thanks you for your dedication to excellence and innovation.

Š 2014 Lockheed Martin Corporation VC 377_001

Modern Day technology Leaders:

Emerald Honors Winners


Emerald Honors winners Scientist of the Year

Dr. Anthony Ng’oma Research Scientist Corning


nthony Ng’oma is a complex man working in a complex field. He’s a highly accomplished research scientist and an expert in optical fiber and wireless communication. He holds international degrees in electronics, telecommunications and engineering and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands. And he’s authored or co-authored more than 75 technical publications. But if you ask the secret to his success, Ng’oma offers two simple answers: daring to dream and a love of reading. Ng’oma, who is a research associate and research manager with Corning Inc., has come a long way from his childhood days growing up in Zambia in Southern Africa. The untimely death of his father when Ng’oma was 7 resulted in the breakup of his family with Ng’oma going to live with an aunt and uncle. He vowed to succeed in life so he could take care of his mother. His educational pursuits were bolstered by his new guardians who also took education quite seriously. He recalls reading everything he could get his hands on and having a particular interest in math, science and technology; reading about how to fly a plane, how radio broadcasting works. Young Ng’oma spent considerable time in the library “reading


Emerald Honors Winners

about things that have nothing to do with my school.” All this laid the groundwork for Ng’oma’s eventual academic achievement at the University of Zambia and University of Twente in The Netherlands where he earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and telecommunications and master’s degree in electrical engineering, respectively. Now at 44, Ng’oma is part of charting the future in telecommunications. Ng’oma has more than 12 years’ work experience in various fields of communication technologies including five years of industrial research in optical fiber communications technology and three years’ of university teaching experience. In the last 10 years he’s made significant research contributions to the field of fiberwireless communications technology. He successfully designed, planned and set up a state-of-the-art test bed for conducting radioover-fiber technology research. Since joining Corning, Ng’oma has been granted one patent, has filed seven patent applications and two additional invention disclosures. Describing his work as leading a group in conducting research and developing technology solution, Ng’oma said he’s also constantly looking to the future for “what innovations can we bring to the table.” “Everbody loves their cell phones an iPads and similar devices,” said Ng’oma, . “Sometimes a system is not fast enough, there are a lot of bandwidth issues.” He said his team is working on finding solutions to mobile/ wireless communication bandwidth challenges by leveraging the power of fiber optics technology. His job involves creating new product concepts and IP as well as ensuring that Corning’s products perform as promised, “ensue they are doing what they should be doing.” Ng’oma is an active member of the Black Technology Network, the Society for Black Professionals, both of which are internal organizations aimed at championing the cause of and empowering Corning’s black employees. Ng’oma isn’t interested solely in STEM. His hobbies include photography. “I like the idea of composing and taking beautiful pictures,” he said, adding that nature and skyscrapers are two of his favorite subjects. He also dabbles in videography—capturing personal stories. He also was in the early stages of starting an educational trust in Zambia when he came across an organization that was already successful raising money and supporting students and teachers in rural areas of his native country. Ng’oma contacted the group and has since become a supporter of their efforts. And he’s also found other ways to extend a helping hand back home. In 2012, he recruited several former high school classmates now living in different parts of the world, for a mission to adopt and renovate their former classroom in Kasama, Zambia, which was in dire need for repairs. He worked out the project details with the head of the school and the team raised the funds for the project. The renovation project began in 2013 and is nearing completion. Ng’oma remains concerned that students in Zambia and else-

where receive ongoing support so that they don’t lose sight of their potential and the reality that they can achieve beyond their expectations. He said he believes that getting an early start is also critical. “If they commit themselves early and make the effort to enrich their knowledge, it makes a huge difference in their lives later on,” he said. Asked if he’s excited about what he sees on the horizon, Ng’oma said “excited is an understatement. If you look at my field and look at how fast technology is evolving, to me it’s incredible.” He added that the cycles in which new technology is being developed and ready for use by business and consumers is getting shorter and shorter. “What we saw in 20 years now we are seeing in five years or less,” said Ng’oma. “It’s fascinating what we can do in the next year.” Ng’oma, who received Black Engineer of the Year Awards’ 2013 recognition as Scientist of the Year, said the award apparently impressed his daughters—ages 11 and 15—who told their teachers. Now he’s on the school circuit making presentations about science, technology, engineering and math in his family’s home city of Horsehead, N.Y. “The most important thing I tell young people is that they have no idea how much potential they have, what they can do and accomplish for themselves and for society,” he said. “People don’t realize how much impact that they have. “I tell them the most important thing you can do for yourself is to learn…be open to learning,” he said. This philosophy is applied in the Ng’oma household. Reading has become such an integral part of his daughters’ lives that when they are disciplined it often involves taking away something that they love—their reading time. “They have become addicted to reading,” Ng’oma said, adding that he and his wife exposed their children to books and reading early. Despite Ng’oma’s love of technology, he cautions that it is a “double-edge sword.” He said most new smartphones and tablets “have a disruptive impact on our social life. If we do our homework right, it can enrich our lives.” He noted that some families overuse the technology. “People don’t even talk to each other. They send text messages to each other,” said Ng’oma. “We have to be careful about applying these technologies to benefit people and society. We have to make sure we are developing technology in a way that creates this type of value.” He cited how new technology can have a significant impact in distance learning and supporting small businesses, especially in rural areas of developing countries. For that small boy from Zambia, being instrumental in guiding the future of technology remains mesmerizing. “Sometimes I can’t believe where I came from and where I am today,” said Ng’oma. “People believed in me, gave me the opportunity. I dared to dream. I want to inspire other people to do the same.”

“The most important thing I tell young people is that they have no idea how much potential they have, what they can do and accomplish for themselves and for society.”


Emerald Honors Winners

Medical Leadership Dr. J. Denise Clement

Most Promising Engineer in Government Aaron L. Brundage, Ph.D.



Chief Physician, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine, Shared Services Group The Boeing Company r. Denise Clement provides medical support to the Boeing family, which includes commercial airplanes, defense systems, engineering, operations and technology, and shared services group. Providing support to the clinics, pre-employment services, and environment health and safety is Dr. Clement’s responsibility as well. She is also chair of the occupational health examination committee and the health services focal for corporate well being programs and mentored occupational medicine residents from the University of Washington occupational medicine residency program. Dr. Clement has achieved many major accomplishments throughout her career. Before coming to Boeing, she was responsible for Ford Motor Company’s employee health programs in 18 countries. She was the team leader for the group that developed the HIV/AIDS workplace program for Ford of South Africa. The program educated community leaders, employees and their families about HIV/AIDS. The program also provided a list of resources for people in need of additional help and information. The HIV/AIDS workplace program was a success, and it received accolades from several sources. The program received an award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The United Nations praised the program as well. In addition to occupational and aerospace medicine, Dr. Clement is also interested in historical subjects. Dr. Clement briefly took time from medical obligations to produce the documentary “Before They Die!” which is about survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race riot. The documentary has screened in several cities, including New York, Atlanta, Miami, London and Paris. The Smithsonian Institute’s African-American Museum is working with Dr. Clement to preserve interviews from the documentary.

Principal, R&D Mechanical Engineer Sandia National Laboratories

r. Aaron Brundage is a prime example of a researcher who delivers innovative solutions to tough technical problems. Sandia National Laboratories is the leading engineering and science laboratory for national security innovation. As a principal investigator, Dr. Brundage’s work directly influences national security. His expertise in thermal analysis, heat transfer, energetic materials and combustion has earned him the respect of his peers. Brundage has a strong interest in biological fluid dynamics. This interest has resulted in the assessment of protective equipment. The goal is to produce protective equipment that reduces the aspects of traumatic brain injury for military personnel in combat situations. The results of this research might also lead to better protection for athletes and other non-military individuals. In addition to being an exceptional researcher, Brundage enjoys teaching math and science concepts to young people. His aim is to encourage hands-on techniques so that young people actually learn to test theories, instead of simply memorizing facts. Dr. Brundage emphasizes the fun of science, and works to dispel the myth that science is boring. Dr. Brundage and his wife are co-owners of ABQ’s Playroom. The playroom is a space in Albuquerque that offers free and unstructured play to children. STEM enrichment classes are available as well. He is also co-founder of Tools for Learning Outreach Services. It’s a charitable, non-profitable organization offering free and low-cost educational, social and recreational services for disadvantaged children. He participates in the Hand-On Minds-On Technology summer science program. The program inspires African-American youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Dr. Brundage earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.


Emerald Honors Winners

Most Promising Scientist in Government Charles A. Doxley Electronics Engineer, Aerospace Science and Technology Communications NASA John H. Glenn Research Center


harles Doxley developed an interest in STEM at an early age and wants to inspire others to do the same. An engineer on the rise, his list of impressive technical and professional achievements has earned him recognition from his peers. Doxley is an electronics engineer at the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center. He is a member of the avionics systems branch of the electrical systems division and his work at NASA is critical to the continued success of the space program. Some of his major accomplishments include designing and developing software programs and hardware subsystems that help test and verify NASA spacecraft. The programs and subsystems will improve communications between space and ground transmissions. Doxley specializes in using modern digital signal processing techniques and programmable semiconductor device components. NASA is not the only organization that benefits from Doxley’s engineering talents. It’s his personal mission to inspire and educate young people about science, technology, engineering and math. To help achieve that goal, Doxley started a K-12 robotics program at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. He also helped establish an after-school robotics club at the Carl and Louis Stokes School in Cleveland. Doxley has received several awards honoring his work as an engineer. His awards include the Black Engineer of the Year Modern Day Technology Leader and the Federal Executive Board Wings of Excellence. He also received the Northeast Ohio FIRST Robotics Alliance and a coach/mentor award. He earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Tuskegee University (2009). He also earned a B.A. in applied mathematics from Albany State University (2006).


Most Promising Scientist in Industry Ronald O. Grover, Jr., Ph.D.

Staff Researcher, Propulsion Systems Research Lab GM Global Research & Development


hen Ron Grover finished undergrad, he knew he wanted to pursue a doctoral degree and research as a by-product of his internship experience. “I thought that I would pursue an academic career and become a university professor.” Today, he is an asset to General Motors (GM) and the company benefits from his contributions. Dr. Grover’s work in research and development has elevated GM to new heights. As a hard-working member of the GM research and development team, Grover is an expert on spray modeling, engines, fuel sprays, and the interaction of fuel injection with the combustion system. He has been a major contributor to the development of several GM engines. Dr. Grover is a respected member of GM. He is a technical mentor to domestic and international engineers, summer interns and university graduate students. One of his many goals is to help young engineers find success in their chosen fields. His ability to understand advanced concepts, to explain and produce those concepts, makes engineering look easy. His co-workers comment on his politeness, accommodating attitude and friendliness. Grover understands the importance of building relationships. He gives back to his community as the co-coordinator of his church’s youth mentoring ministry. Dr. Grover earned his Ph.D. and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. He also earned engineering degrees from Clark Atlanta University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Emerald Honors Winners

Outstanding Technical Contribution Solomon Assefa, Ph.D. Research Scientist IBM T.J. Watson Research Center


r. Solomon Assefa is a scientist who excels at solving technical problems. His work is a great asset to IBM. He works on highly complex projects and his current main area of interest is nanophotonics technology for optical interconnects. His responsibilities include research, development and technology transfer to commercial foundry. The goal is to learn about replacing copper wires inside computer chips with tiny silicon circuits. This will allow chips to share more information while using less energy. To achieve this goal, Assefa has dedicated years to researching for this project. He has researched several areas, including fundamental scientific breakthroughs at the nano-scale and systems-level integration for commercial technology development. He has successfully transferred the nanophotonics integration technology from research to IBM’s commercial CMOS manufacturing foundry. The outcome from this research can possibly have a profound effect on technology. In addition to IBM, Assefa is collaborating with Columbia University colleagues. The goal is to integrate complex quantum optics onto a silicon chip for quantum key distribution and quantum information processing. This research is progressing in several areas, including emission, routing, and multiplexing. National security, financial transactions and cloud computing will possibly become more secure depending on the result of this research. Dr. Assefa is also a prolific writer. He has co-authored more than 90 papers in peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings. In addition, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, Forbes and Technology Review have recognized his work. Assefa received a Bachelor of Science in physics, another bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science, a master’s in electrical engineering and computer science and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Assefa has made, and continues to make, outstanding technical contributions that have the potential to change the world.


Professional Achievement in Industry Shellie Weems

Senior Director Health IT Dovel Technologies


hellie Weems has built a successful career at Dovel Technologies. She started as a software developer, and is now account director for the company’s business with the Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Weems also assists with developing technology solutions that solve complex problems. Two mission critical programs for the Food and Drug Administration depend on her input as well. Weems joined the Dovel team in 1989. At that time, she was a software developer for the Securities and Exchange EDGAR program. It was a good start, and Weems soon moved into an EDGAR management position upon the encouragement of Dovel co-founder Dov Levy. Levy was impressed with her people and organizational skills. Her accomplishments with the EDGAR program led to a project manager role on a Red Cross project. Her knowledge as a software developer continues to influence her career. She leads or validates software development proposals submitted by Dovel. Weems has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from LaSalle University. “I always worked hard, got good grades, but I lacked the self confidence that was needed to leverage on opportunities presented to me. Over the years and after reading a number of self-development books, I was able to empower myself to pursue and seize opportunities to propel my career,” she said. “Always surround yourself with people you can learn from to excel. It is important that you place yourself in situations that allow you to expand your knowledge. Second, always focus on helping others by being a servant leader. As a leader, you choose to help people first and then to lead. In the work environment, this allows you to have a culture which is productive, creative, with a high retention rate due to employee loyalty and trust consistently being instilled.”

Emerald Honors Winners

Research Leadership Dr. Norman Bucknor

Staff Researcher GM Global Research & Development


r. Norman Bucknor has built a reputation within the propulsion systems research laboratory at General Motors (GM). Areas in which he excels include concept initiation, detailed design and proof of concept validation. Automotive transmissions and engine subsystems have special interest for Bucknor. One of his goals is to improve vehicle performance and fuel economy. Vehicle electrification and the design of hybrid vehicle architectures is his current focus. His contribution to the Chevrolet Volt electric car has helped make the car a success. The Chevrolet Volt has earned several awards, including the “Leader in Strategic Vision’s 2013 Total Quality Award for Best Mid-Size Car.” He has worked on a number of projects in addition to the electric car. They include traveling chain transmission, high efficiency CVT and automatic transmission architecture. Dr. Bucknor is an expert in drivetrain modeling and optimization. GM welcomed Dr. Bucknor into the company in 1991 as a senior research engineer. In 1996, he was promoted to staff research engineer. Dr. Bucknor has since received several awards and accolades for his work. He received the GM chairman’s honors award in 2007 as a member of the team that developed the Chevy Volt concept. Dr. Bucknor is also the co-inventor of more than 90 U.S. patents. Bucknor has written several technical publications. He received the ASME/Proctor & Gamble best paper award for the paper he presented at the 1992 Mechanisms Conference. He earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. The Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and the Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honor Society welcomed him as a member in 1983. He went on to receive his master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Columbia University in 1985 and 1991. He has the respect of his peers and colleagues as an excellent engineer and person of high integrity.

Research Leadership Xidong Xu

Systems Engineer, Advanced Air Traffic Management Boeing Research and Technology The Boeing Company


idong Xu joined the Boeing team in 2006. He has worked tirelessly to build a reputation as a professional and a dedicated researcher. Xu got his start in the Boeing commercial airplanes aviation safety group. He remained there for two years, where he participated in several projects. One project was the development of the course of “Human Factors and Aviation Safety” for the Civil Aviation Administration of China principle operations inspectors. He was also able to redesign some cockpit interfaces and a document used by crew for safe flight. Xu was the technical lead for human-in-the-loop testing jointly with NASA Ames Research Center for trajectorybased operations. This project, and others, caused his peers to recognize him as a top human factors expert, most notably in human-automation interactions. He improved workplace safety for NextGen and Boeing by developing a systems approach to address safety issues in complex social-technical systems. Thanks to this achievement, Xu is an expert in workplace safety. His work has improved workplace safety, and changed how it is viewed and assessed. Before moving to Seattle to join Boeing commercial airplanes aviation safety group, Xu was educated in China, the U.K. and Switzerland. He received extensive air-traffic control training, but eventually became interested in engineering psychology so he transferred to the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign to pursue a Ph.D. in engineering psychology. Xu has more than 30 years of experience in air-traffic management and system safety and human factors. His contributions have made a significant impact at Boeing.



Career OUTLOOK An in-depth look at a cutting-edge industry within STEM. We tell you where the jobs are, why you want them, and, most importantly, how you get them.

Spotlight on Veterans




Job Horizon

vow to hire heroes act: ending veteran unemployment


pproximately 160,000 active duty service members and in high-demand sectors, from trucking to technology. Disabled 110,000 National Guardsmen and reservists transition to veterans got up to 1-year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation civilian life each year. But for too long, veterans were and Employment Benefits. patted on the back for their service and then pushed out into the The bill required the Department of Labor to take a hard job market alone. look at what military skills and training should be translatable In 2010, a Department of Labor report found nearly 1 million into the civilian sector and work to make it easier to get the unemployed veterans in the United States. The average unemploylicenses and certification our veterans need. Tax incentives of up ment rate among returning veterans was 11.5 percent―one in 10 to $5,600 were provided for hiring veterans, if the veteran has couldn’t find a job to support their family, didn’t have an income been looking for work for six months or longer and up to $9,600 that provided stability or work that provided them with the pride for hiring disabled veterans. that is so critical to their transition home. This fall, a story in the Washington Post which appeared on The following spring, Veterans Day showed that Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) although the jobless rate for all traveled throughout WashingU.S. veterans was just 6.9 perton state to talk to veterans, cent in October—slightly lower employers and experts about than it is for the population as a the barriers veterans face in whole—the unemployment rate finding employment. In May for veterans who have served 2011, Murray, chairman of since 9/11 stood at 10 percent, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs with 246,000 out of work. Committee, introduced the “That’s the same rate as basis of a comprehensive bill it was a year ago, and it’s a to put America’s veterans higher jobless rate than it is back to work. The legislation for non-veterans, after adjustwas designed to provide job ing for age and demographic skills training as veterans left factors. That is, even when the military and by easing you factor in the dismal U.S. the training and certification economy, recent veterans are Spc. Raymond Kasirye, a Schenectady, N.Y. resident assigned to process veterans face. The bill still having trouble finding E Company 427th Brigade Support Battalion speaks with a job fair vendor during the Transition Assistance Program training workshop came on the eve of Veterans work,” the Post’s Brad Plumin here on March 3. The training is required of returning veterans and Day 2011 at a time when mer wrote. coincidentally a job fair was taking place during the workshop. The TAP training is mandated by the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act. nearly 1 million American A February 2013 report veterans were unemployed. prepared by the National The VOW to Hire Heroes Economic Council and the Act combined provisions of Senator Murray’s original Hiring President’s Council of Economic Advisers, with assistance from Heroes Act of 2011, Chairman Jeff Miller’s Veterans Opportunithe defense, treasury, health and human services, and labor dety to Work Act, with a tax credit for employers that hire veterans partments, Veterans Affairs, transportation, the Domestic Policy and job training assistance for veterans from earlier eras. Council, National Security Staff, and the Office of the First The VOW to Hire Heroes Act made the Improving the Lady, discussed the challenges that confront service members, Transition Assistance Program (TAP) mandatory for most military spouses and veterans in establishing their qualifications service members transitioning to civilian status, upgraded career for civilian employment. counseling options, and resume writing skills, as well as ensured Frequent moves combined with different requirements for the program is tailored for the 21st century job market. The bill occupational licenses across state lines can make it difficult and allowed service members to begin the federal employment procostly for spouses of active duty military to find a job, the report cess prior to separation in order to facilitate a seamless transition said. Adding that despite having valuable experience, veterans from the military to jobs at Veteran Affairs, Homeland Security, frequently find it difficult to obtain private sector recognition of or other federal agencies. their military training, experiences, and skill sets through civilThe VOW to Hire Heroes Act also provided nearly 100,000 ian certification and licensure. This also makes it difficult for unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to one year the private sector to capitalize on the resources and time spent of additional Montgomery GI Bill benefits to qualify for jobs training and educating service members.



Recruiting Trends benefits of hiring us war veterans


any U. S. military members have gone off to war and come home to try to find normalcy again in their lives. Part of that is trying to re-enter the civilian life they once led. It is tougher and tougher for those veterans to find work, though. It is understandable that employers would be leery of hiring recent war veterans. There are many issues those of us who have never faced war in person could possibly understand. But the reality is that our war veterans need to work and they need to learn how to transition back into civilian life. We owe it to them to give them the opportunity to do just that. Advantages to Employers of Hiring War Veterans:

1. Discipline Veterans have had to learn to be disciplined in everything they do. They have learned how to be patient and to obey orders. Although we don’t call it obeying orders in the civilian workforce, it amounts to the same thing. The employer is the company officer and the employee is the soldier. The employer tells the employee what to do (the order) and the employee, ideally, will follow that instruction. Civilians often have their own idea of how to handle the “orders.” Soldiers already know how important it is to follow through on whatever they are told to do, even when they don’t understand why. 2. Hard Workers There are no workers who will work as hard as someone who has been to war. They have done the dirtiest work and dealt with the most stress any human being could be asked to endure. They stand strong in the face of adversity and with death all around them. It is safe to say that they are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. 3. Training U.S. military service members have a lot of training in many different areas. You will be surprised how much a military member knows and how that training can be put to use in your company. There are drawbacks to having someone who has been to war working in a company because of the post-traumatic effects, but there are more advantages to hiring them. Find out what types of training the war veteran has before you decide that he or she won’t be a good candidate based on the fact that he or she may have been in a war zone. You will be shocked what knowledge you find in people who have been in the military forces. 4. Longevity People who have been in the military have learned to stick things out no matter what happens. They have the ability to stay with things even when others would have walked away. This is proven by the fact that they stayed in a war zone where no one

Marines with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion work into the night constructing an observation post along Route Cowboys, Helmand province, Afghanistan. Second CEB’s mission included the construction of three observation posts on Route Cowboys.

really wants to be. They have seen things that no person should ever have to see and they stuck it out because that is how they are trained to do. If the veteran could stick it out in a war zone, they will certainly be able to stick it out in a company when things get rough. These are just some of the reasons that employers should consider hiring a war veteran in the United States. War veterans certainly have circumstances that can cause some issues. That is to be expected. I would urge you to consider what they have given to the country though. They put their lives on the line for all of us. They saw things that most of us would have run from. There are challenges that have to be overcome, but helping a veteran re-enter civilian life can be one of the most important things that you will ever do. It gives them a chance and they certainly deserve that. If you are one of the companies that have decided not to hire war veterans because of the possible issues, change your thinking. There are a great many benefits to hiring a war veteran as well. USBE&IT I WINTER 2014 81


Professional Life online resources for veterans seeking jobs

First lady Michelle Obama announces new hiring commitments by the private sector as well as major accomplishments of the Joining Forces initiative during remarks at Naval Station Mayport. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden created Joining Forces to bring Americans together to recognize, honor and take action to support veterans and military families as they serve our country and throughout their lives.


oining Forces, spearheaded by first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, is designed to gather the public together in a collective effort to lend support to military families. One of the key missions of Joining Forces is to focus on job availability for soldiers coming home from active duty, and the spouses of those vets, who might also need new jobs due to transfers. If you, or someone you know, is a veteran looking for work, here are six online employment sites that can be helpful: 1. This site offers a career section with the “largest veteran job board in the world.” Here individuals can search for jobs, create and post resumes, network with other veterans and find career fairs to attend in their own locales. 2. VetJobs This is considered one of the leading boards for veterans. It is sponsored exclusively by Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Registration is free and veterans can do a search for current job openings and also post a resume.

3. America’s Veteran This is the official website of the U.S. government. It is operated by the Office of Personnel Management to assist veterans who might be looking for jobs within the federal government.


4. G.I. Jobs This site provides career advice and tips on how to find a job in the civilian workforce. They issue a newsletter and also have pages on Facebook and Twitter. 5. National Veteran’s Foundation The National Veteran’s Foundation (NVF) serves the crisis management, information and referral needs of U.S. veterans and their families. The foundation has both a legal center and an employment center with job listings. This site operates the nation’s only free helpline for all veterans and their families. There is also a live chat forum available. One section is dedicated solely to new veterans. There is a downloadable booklet to help veterans navigate the complexities of dealing with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. 6. A site developed and maintained by a team of military veterans and corporate hiring authorities. Its purpose is to “serve those who served.” Veterans can sign up for free, search the job database, post resumes and apply for jobs online. The homepage lists upcoming job fairs. These six online resources combined give veterans access to potential solutions to every conceivable job issue they might encounter in their post-military career journey. If you would like more information on how you can become involved in the “Joining Forces” initiative visit the website here


Military families pick up backpacks full of school supplies at five regional distribution events held August in Washington, D.C., Maryland and northern Virginia. Nationwide, the Back-to-School brigade program distributed $4.9 million in school supplies, including 41,000 backpacks. Locally, the D.C. Metro Field office gave 4,200 backpacks to military children in Washington, D.C., Maryland and northern Virginia.

Operation Homefront sometimes all you have to do is ask ince its creation in 2002, Operation Homefront has met over 741,000 needs of military families and military personnel returning from duty. Operation Homefront provides emergency financial assistance. They also help with healthcare services, home repair and home items, moving and relocation as well as auto repair. In addition, the organization runs community events and programs such as the Back-to-School Brigade, Hearts of Valor and Homefront Celebrations. The scenarios below illustrate just a few of the many services offered by Operation Homefront D.C. Metro, which serves Washington, D.C., Maryland and northern Virginia.




Army Specialist Brandon Boyd is the father of four. Wounded sponse to a request from the soldier’s unit, OH D.C. Metro Chapter in combat in Iraq, he suffered multiple injuries, most significantly reached out to donors and companies to find a bunk bed. After breaking his back. After recovery, Boyd was found medically unfit many calls, Value City Furniture of New Carrollton, Md., offered to serve, so he retired from the military and applied for veteran the perfect set at a 50 percent discount. Coordination between OH benefits in 2011. As he transitioned to civilian life, he also began and the Battle Company at Walter Reed ensured the bunk beds were searching for a job. In the meantime, the young family scraped by. set up in their room before the boys arrived. Bills began piling up as Boyd waited for a job offer and for In October, a mother attended the Star Spangled Babies baby the VA benefits check to arrive in the mail. Baby supplies and shower sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton. Below is a thank groceries were soon in short supply. That’s when the family reached you note: out to Operation Homefront. They’d found out about them through the military family network. The D.C. Metro chapter helped pay I hope this email finds you doing well. I wanted to send my peran outstanding utility bill to keep the lights on and heat running, sonal thanks for such a lovely and heart felt event that you all and provided grocery gift cards to buy food and baby supplies. The hosted. I attended the Star Spangled Babies baby shower on husband and wife also got a new mattress from a donation the chapthe 15th and I must say that I was touched greatly by the genter received from a local Ashley Furniture home store. And when erosity that you all extended. The opportunity provided to meet Boyd’s job offer finally came, the chapter provided donated suits for local moms-to-be, make new friends, the amazing gifts and to him to use as he returned to the workforce. Boyd started his new job have an overall great morning of being pampered, relaxing and early this year and the VA benefits began arriving in March. having a wonderful time meant more than words could begin to But just as things seemed to be falling into place, the famexpress. I did not get the names of all of the vendors but I would ily car broke down. In desperation, the Boyds reached out again like to also extend my gratitude to Booz Allen Hamilton, the many to Operation Homefront (OH) DC Metro. At the time, the family volunteers, and all of the other booths that were there and sponwas no longer eligible for financial assistance since they had begun sored the event as well. It was truly a first-class experience and receiving VA benefits. Although OH could not help, they connected something that I will remember for a lifetime. Words can’t fully the family with a local mechanic at Fries Automotive in Manassas, express how appreciative or thankful I am. Take care and have a Va., who offered to discuss a possible discount with management. wonderful day. OH later learned from the Boyds that the shop offered to donate the labor and went even further to discuss a discount on the cost of the parts with the supplier. It didn’t end there. Curry’s Auto Parts Supply of Manassas also stepped up and agreed to donate the needed parts at no cost. Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Army Staff Sgt. Alejandro Jauregui, wounded April 8, 2012 and recovering from a double amputation, yearned for his family to join him at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Prior to the family’s arrival, it was discovered Walter Reed’s family quarters Nearly 150 military spouses were honored at an appreciation dinner headlined by Dr. Tyrone Taborn, Career did not have enough Communications Group’s publisher and CEO, and hosted by BlackBerry and Operation Homefront. Each military spouse received gift bags including a new BlackBerry phone. beds to accommodate both children. In re84 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014


Professional Life

by Chris Pearce

A Summary of Department of Veterans affairs benefits


arious benefits are available from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans and their spouses and children. These include compensation and pensions, survivor benefits, education, vocational rehabilitation, home loans, and life insurance. 1. Compensation and pensions Disability compensation is paid to veterans who suffer from injuries or diseases incurred during their time on active duty, or were made worse because of military service. Additional payments may be made to a veteran who has a spouse or children, or who has a very severe disability, or who has a disabled spouse. The benefits are not taxed. A Veterans Affairs pension may be paid to veterans aged 65 years and over. A person under 65 may qualify if he or she is totally and permanently disabled. An income test applies. Disabled

veterans may also receive an aid and attendance benefit if the veteran needs the assistance of another person with their day-today activities such as washing and eating, or is bedridden, in a nursing home, or blind. A housebound benefit is also available. Both are paid in addition to the pension. A death pension benefit is payable to surviving spouses and dependent children. There is an income test to qualify. Burial allowances include a gravesite in a national cemetery, a headstone or a marker, a flag, a presidential memorial certificate, and ongoing maintenance of the grave. 2. Survivor benefits Veterans Affairs offers a number of benefits to the spouse and children of a veteran who died in service or from a servicerelated disability. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a



monthly payment of $1,154 (in 2009) available to a spouse. He or she will receive an extra $286 a month for each child. This is a tax-free benefit. A spouse who remarries at age 57 years or over can continue to receive the benefit. A $250 transitional benefit is also paid each month for two years if the spouse has children under 18 years. A lump sum DIC for surviving children if there is no surviving spouse is currently $488 for one child. This amount reduces with the greater number of children in the family, right up to nine children who each receive $217.66. A parents’ DIC may be paid as a monthly benefit to the parents of a veteran who dies in active service. The benefit is means tested. The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program pays a monthly education or training allowance. The spouse or children can receive this monthly payment for up to 45 months. Work-study employment is available to a spouse or children who study full time or at least three-quarter time toward a degree or a vocational or professional qualification. Other benefits include Vet Center bereavement counseling, and beneficiary financial counseling services, as well as those listed under other headings. 3. Education Benefits for training and education are available under various programs. The benefit can usually be used for a degree or certificate course, apprenticeship, flight training, or a correspondence course. Under some circumstances, a remedial, deficiency, or refresher course might be approved. From Aug. 1, 2009, the new Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay tuition and fees to an institution of higher learning, as well as for books and supplies to the value of $1,000. It will also pay a monthly housing allowance and a one-off payment for those in rural areas. The education benefits will be available for 15 years after release from active duty and can be paid for up to three years. Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty also provides up to three years of education benefits for veterans. Benefits under this program are available for up to 10 years. The Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve offers similar benefits to the active duty program but to members of reserve forces such as Army Reserve and Navy Reserve. A Reserve Education Assistance Program gives education benefits to reserve officers called up to war or national emergency. A $600 buy-up program allows certain service persons and reservists to contribute up to $600 to the GI Bill and receive extra benefits up to $5,400. Veterans Education Assistance Program is for veterans who first entered service between 1977 and 1985 who made contributions to this program from their pay. The government will contribute $2 for every dollar and the money can be used for various courses. 86 USBE&IT I WINTER 2014

The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program pays for education and training of dependents of those who died on active duty, or died or became totally disabled due to a service-related condition. Special restorative or vocational training may be available. 4. Vocational rehabilitation The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program assists veterans with a service-related disability to prepare for work, find a job, and keep it. This includes services such as an evaluation to determine a veteran’s abilities and skills, learning job seeking skills and resume writing, help finding a job, on the job training, and tertiary training at a college or a vocational or business school. Free vocational education counseling is available to veterans and dependents. Services might include aptitude and interests testing, exploring different occupations and setting goals, and examining education or training options. 5. Home loans A Veterans Affairs Home Loan is available to eligible veterans. This includes those who served in World War II or the Korean, Vietnam, or Gulf wars for at least 90 days, or less than 90 days if discharged due to disability. It also includes those who served at least 180 days during peacetime. A departmental loan counselor can be appointed to a veteran who is experiencing mortgage difficulties. Services to help avoid foreclosure include a repayment plan, special forbearance, loan modification, extra time to arrange a sale, short sale, and a deed in lieu of foreclosure. A Veterans Affairs Home Loan to a surviving spouse may offer a better interest rate than other home loans. Under the Home Loan Guaranty, a spouse may be able to secure a guaranteed loan through a private lender. This could be for a new or existing home, or renovations, or to refinance an existing mortgage. 6. Life insurance Veterans Affairs offer life insurance benefits to veterans who cannot get private cover due to a service-related disability. Service members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) members who are discharged due to totally disability may be able to stay covered for up to two years without cost. All SGLI members automatically qualify for the Traumatic Injury Protection program. This is effective from Dec. 1, 2005, and applies retrospectively to Oct. 7, 2001 for injuries sustained in the Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom operations. Payments are available to spouses of deceased veterans under SGLI. The maximum amount is $400,000 and is not taxable. Payment can be a lump sum or 36 equal monthly installments. Family SGLI provides a further amount of up to $100,000 for a spouse and $10,000 for each child.

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has Impacted socIety

In nearly every Industry beneFIcIal to mankInd.

t. washIngton’s

vIsIon In


From booker

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to soar to greater heIghts, makIng Its mark on a global communIty.


For InFormatIon,

vIsIt or call

(800) 622-6531

Tuskegee University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral, professional, master’s and bachelor’s degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Tuskegee University.

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