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December 2008/January 2009






Women in IT
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News and Views


BDPA creates the IT Corps

Largo, MD – Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) is going global with the creation of an IT Corps much like the highly successful Peace Corps. The idea went public at the June 2008 Leon H. Sullivan Summit, an economic development conference held in Arusha, Tanzania.

BDPA’s IT Corps plans to send teams of young adults on technology-based community service missions in the U.S. and around the world, starting with Africa. The idea is for IT Corps members and local students to review existing civic priorities and devise appropriate technology-based solutions.

“This is our response to a rapidly globalizing world, and we are taking our place in it,” remarks Norman R. Mays, the first executive director of the IT Corps. Mays is an entrepreneur and past national president of BDPA.

The Sullivan Summit addressed socioeconomic development in Africa through direct foreign investment. An area of specific interest to BDPA is the summit’s objective to advance IT through regional economic community discussions. BDPA’s IT Corps student teams will do just that, sharing the skills they learned in BDPA’s mentoring, student competitions and technology education initiatives with their peers in Africa and around the world, and applying these skills to real-world problems.

The first student teams are expected to deploy in summer 2009. For more information visit see www.bdpa.org.


Our readers write:Dr Lo and the NRAO

Some VLA antennas. We at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) greatly enjoyed your October/November article about our observatory and Dr. Fred K. Y. Lo, our director.

We thought your readers might be interested to read some additional information about the NRAO telescopes in the photos that accompanied the article, and the amazing science that these telescopes enable.

Mark T. Adams, PhD
Assistant Director,
Education & Public Outreach
National Radio
Astronomy Observatory
Charlottesville, VA

The VLA: reaching beyond the stars. The NRAO Very Large Array (VLA) consists of twenty-seven individual antennas that together comprise a single powerful telescope system. Scientists have used the VLA, for example, to understand the physics of proto-planetary disks forming around young stars in our galaxy, to probe the environment of the supermassive black hole at the Milky Way’s center, and to detect radio waves emitted from galaxies located billions of light years from Earth. In a few years, new state-of-the-art electronics and software will transform the VLA into an even more capable research tool that will push the frontiers of science for decades to come.

The image above includes two telescopes in the NRAO Very Large Array (VLA) superimposed on the radio and optical radiation from a distant galaxy, as seen by the VLA and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, respectively. The radio-wave jets at the top of the image span a distance of nearly one million light years and indicate the presence of a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center.


Three Siemens execs honored at Diversity Best Practices event

Washington, DC – Last November 13, Diversity Best Practices (DBP), a subsidiary of Working Mother Media, hosted its fifteenth annual diversity and inclusion leadership summit and gala at the Washington JW Marriott. Three Siemens execs were among winners of the CEO diversity leadership award.

The Siemens winners were Tony Affuso, chair and CEO of Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Industry Automation Division; Dennis Sadlowski, president and CEO of Siemens Energy and Automation; and Randy Zwirn, president and CEO of Siemens Power Generation.

“DBP is pleased to recognize Siemens’ CEOs for their contributions toward building a diverse and inclusive culture throughout the company,” says Gwendolyn Cirder, DBP exec director. “We applaud Siemens for its outstanding work in support of diversity and inclusion.”

George Nolen, Siemens Corp CEO, notes that the three honorees “are actively involved in Siemens diversity initiatives and are outspoken advocates for diversity within their industries.”

Affuso adds that “The diversity of our people is critical. Through our community service initiatives, university grants and training programs we’re able to reach people from all walks of life that bring a special depth to our company.”

Siemens AG is a global leader in electronics and EE and also operates in the industrial, energy and healthcare sectors. Siemens employs some 70,000 people in all fifty states and Puerto Rico. U.S. HQ are in New York, NY.

Also honored at the gala were Deere & Co, Procter & Gamble, Prudential Financial and others.


DoL presents best practice awards

Washington, DC – The annual Secretary of Labor’s Opportunity award, the Exemplary Voluntary Efforts (EVE) award and the Exemplary Public Interest Contribution (EPIC) awards honor organizations for their equal employment practices.

The Opportunity award goes to a federal contractor who has instituted comprehensive workforce strategies to ensure equal employment opportunity. This year’s award went to Johns Hopkins Health System (Baltimore, MD).

The EVE award honors federal contractors who have demonstrated exemplary and innovative efforts to increase the employment opportunities for minorities, women, people with disabilities and veterans. CDW Corp (Vernon Hills, IL) was one of this year’s winners.

The EPIC award honors public interest organizations that have supported equal employment opportunity, and linked their efforts with those of federal contractors to enhance these opportunities for diverse populations. Buffalo-area Engineering Awareness for Minorities (BEAM, Buffalo, NY) received this recognition.


SHPE presents 2008 STAR awards

Jeet Bindra. Los Angeles, CA – Every year SHPE recognizes individuals and corporations for technical achievement with the SHPE Technical Achievement Recognition (STAR) awards. “SHPE is proud to spotlight each STAR award recipient, as they represent excellence in our field,” says Diana Gomez, national president of SHPE.

“Our organization strives to be the source for quality Hispanic engineers and technical talent, and is committed to increasing the pipeline of Hispanic Clara Velez.talent in science, technology, engineering and math. The individuals being honored are true examples to the next generation of students, engineers and technical talent.” These are some of the 2008 STAR award winners:

Company of the year: IBM.

Corporate achievement: Grace Lieblein, GM.

Julio Navarro. Jaime Oaxaca award: Jeet S. Bindra, Chevron.

Junipero Serra award: Wanda Ronquillo, IBM.

Educator of the year in higher education: David Jauregui, PhD, New Mexico State University.

Educator of the year in K-12: Clara Liz Velez, Hartford Public High Miguel Guerra.School.

Hispanic in technology, corporate: Julio A. Navarro, PhD, Boeing.

Promising engineer: Mairim Ramos-Lebron, Northrop Grumman Undersea Systems.

Student role model: Miguel Guerra, University of Illinois at Urbana-Yamaris Soto.Champaign.

Professional role model: Yamaris Soto, Northrop Grumman and SHPE Baltimore Chapter.

For more information and a complete list of winners, visit www.shpe.org.


SHPE president receives WTS diversity leadership award

Diana Gomez, SHPE national president, on duty at the conference last year. Sacramento, CA – Diana Gomez, SHPE national president, has received the 2008 diversity leadership award from the Sacramento chapter of WTS, the national organization to advance women in transportation. The award recognizes organizations, companies and individuals that are broadening their multi-cultural initiatives, changing corporate cultures and philosophies.

The awards are intended to honor people and organizations for bold support and promotion of diversity, inclusiveness and multi-cultural awareness, either in their own organizations, the transportation industry, or activities that support the WTS diversity goals and mission.

Gomez, who will finish her third term as SHPE national president in 2009, is an engineer with Caltrans, California’s transportation department.


Wayne State receives alum gift to build engineering lab

Left to right: WSU College of Engineering dean Ralph Kummler and WSU president Jay Noren with Lakeshore Engineering Services president and CEO, WSU alum Avinash Rachmale. Detroit, MI – Two Wayne State engineering alumni have pledged a quarter of a million dollars to build an infrastructure research lab specially designed for the college’s department of civil and environmental engineering.

The lab will be housed in the new Marvin I. Danto Engineering Development Center. It will support hands-on exploration in the department’s areas of specialization: structural, environmental, geotechnical and transportation engineering.

The donors are Andrew Haliw III and Avinash Rachmale. Halwi came to the U.S. as a displaced person after World War II, and earned a 1968 BSEE and a 1982 law degree at Wayne State. Rachmale came to the U.S. from India to further his education. In the early 1990s he received an MSCE and a certificate in hazardous waste management from the Wayne State College of Engineering.

Rachmale is founder, president and CEO of Detroit-based Lakeshore Engineering Services. “I am proud to be a Wayne State graduate and feel very fortunate to be able to provide this gift,” Rachmale says. “Because of the outstanding education I received I was able to build a world-renowned construction firm right here in Detroit.

“Now I am in a position to give back to my school and support its commitment to the inner city as well as provide opportunities for a wonderfully diverse student body.”


HENAAC recognizes 2008 Luminaries

Los Angeles, CA – At its October national conference HENAAC recognized twenty-nine Luminary Award honorees. The Luminary Award program was established in 2003 to honor STEM professionals for contributions to the Hispanic technical community as leaders and role models.

A partial list of honorees:

Manuel D. Bustillos Sr, engineer technician, U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

Maria E. de la Torre, lead emergency management specialist, U.S. ACOE.

Ronald James Garcia, chief, Air Force scientist and engineer career program, USAF.

Milagros “Millie” Gonzalez Young, Q21 manager, U.S. Army RDECOM.

Oscar Arroyo, senior engineering director, systems test directorate, Raytheon.

Alex Casimiro, director of IT, Texas Instruments.

Carlos N. Czirmer, exterior lighting lead engineer, GM.

Ricardo Lung, Six Sigma black belt, product design engineer, powertrain operations, Ford.

Amanda Elyse Peńa, subsea commissioning engineer, Chevron.

Sharon M. Herbst, systems release engineer, Lockheed Martin.

For a complete list of 2008 Luminary honorees go to www.henaac.org.


Google and DuPont fund new STEM initiative

High school students recently toured LEAD sponsor Google’s Bay Area facility and got a good understanding of what working engineering and IT professionals do there.Philadelphia, PA – Google and DuPont have funded the first Summer Engineering Institutes (SEI) of the Leadership Education and Development program (LEAD) for academically strong high school students of color. In the summer of 2008 the inaugural SEI at Georgia Tech hosted thirty students for a three-week residency. A second SEI was held at the University of California-Berkeley.

For nearly thirty years LEAD has facilitated collaborations among minority high school students, corporations and universities at LEAD institutes held at business schools. The move to engineering support was inspired by a 2005 study by the National Academy of Engineering committee on diversity in the engineering workforce, which predicted severe problems to come if the U.S. does not boost science, technology, engineering and math performance.

“Despite efforts to improve the public’s understanding of engineering, studies show that K-12 students generally do not have a clear understanding of what engineers do,” says Don P. Giddens, dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering. “Exposing high school students to exciting and innovative experiences through programs like the LEAD SEI will inspire young people and attract them to future careers in engineering.”

SEI curriculum focuses on electrical, mechanical, computer and civil engineering as well as associated fields like chemistry, biotech, biomolecular studies, materials science, aerospace, polymer textile/fiber research and technological systems. For more information, visit www.leadprogram.org.


Musical computer game lets visually impaired and sighted
play together


Cambridge, MA – AudiOdyssey is a new computer game developed by students from MIT and the Singapore/ MIT Gambit game lab. It lets visually impaired gamers play with their sighted friends.

The game simulates a disk jockey trying to build up a catchy tune to get people dancing. By swinging a Nintendo Wii remote the player sets the rhythm and lays down one musical track after another, building up a richer musical sound.

Eitan Glinert, a grad student in CS at the Gambit game lab, realized there were no computer games that the visually impaired and the fully-sighted could play together as equal competitors. Alicia Verlager, a recent MIT grad who is blind, helped with the development of the game.

“The element I most envy about gamers is the way they hang out together and share doing something fun,” Verlager says. “It was the social aspects of Guitar Hero and World of Warcraft that I really wanted to try myself. Hanging out with other gamers playing AudiOdyssey is really fun.”

AudiOdyssey is available for free download (Windows only) at gambit.mit.edu/loadgame/audiodyssey.php.


NOBCChE announces 2008 award winners

Washington, DC – During its thirty-fifth annual conference in Philadelphia, the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) recognized minority students and professionals who have made significant contributions to science and/or engineering research. NOBCChE is a professional society of scientists and engineers committed to the discovery, transmittal and application of knowledge in science and engineering.

These are the top awardees:

Percy L. Julian award: Sharon Haynie, PhD, DuPont (first woman recipient).

Dow Chemical Co fellowship: Gregory Von White, PhD candidate in chemical and biomolecular engineering, Clemson University.

Dr Theophilus Sorrell fellowship: Kirsten Jeffries-Grant, PhD candidate in chemistry and biochemistry, Florida State University.

E.I. DuPont fellowship: Pumtiwitt Rancy, PhD candidate at the department of chemistry and biochemistry, University of Delaware.

Lendon N. Pridgen-GlaxoSmith-Kline-NOBCChE fellowship: Brandon Kelley, PhD candidate, chemistry, University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Henry C. McBay outstanding teacher award: Alvin Kennedy, PhD, chair of the department of chemistry, Morgan State University.

Lloyd Ferguson young scientist award: Andre Palmer, PhD, associate professor, chemical and biomolecular engineering, Ohio State University.

NOBCChE award in ChE: Christine Grant, PhD, chemical and biomolecular engineering, North Carolina State University.

For a complete list of winners, see www.nobcche.org.


CCNY to build nanotech research center

New York, NY – The City College of New York (CCNY) has received a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish an interdisciplinary research center for developing new nanostructure and nanomaterial applications in sensors and energy systems.

The new Center for Exploitation of Nanostructures in Sensors and Energy Systems will also investigate emerging technologies and novel characterization techniques for nanostructures and nanomaterials.

Dr Daniel L. Akins, distinguished service professor of chemistry, will serve as the center’s director and principal investigator. Co-principal investigators will be Dr Maria C. Tamargo, professor of chemistry; Dr Alex Couzis, professor of ChE; and D. Swapan Gayan, professor of physics.

The grant will fund projects that potentially involve twenty-one professors and researchers from CCNY’s ChE, chemistry, EE and physics departments. Eight full-time grad students, eight undergrad researchers and four postdoctoral Fellows will be supported by the grant. The funds will be distributed over five years.


NJIT, VA Tech, U MD and RIT get WEPAN awards

Denver, CO – Every year Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN) gives awards to individuals and institutions that do a particularly good job of advancing WEPAN goals.

The university change agent award went to Dr Nancy Steffen-Fluhr, director of the Murray Center for Women in Technology NJIT. Steffen-Fluhr helped create the Murray Center. Dr Bevlee Watford of VA Tech received the founders award for her long-term service to WEPAN.

The University of Maryland’s women in engineering program received the Engineers Week award for significant contributions to Introduce a Girl to Engineering day.

The women in engineering program award went to the women in engineering program at RIT for pre-college outreach, recruitment and community building initiatives.

WEPAN is dedicated to the success of all women in engineering. For more information see www.wepan.org.



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