August/September 2009

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News and Views

SHPE elects new officers
Manny Hernández is the new national president of SHPE.Los Angeles, CA – Manny Hernández of Raytheon Systems is the new national president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Dr Concepción (Conchita) Jiménez-González of GlaxoSmithKline is the new national VP. The new board assumed office on July 1 of this year and serves through June 2011.

Hernández has held many leadership positions with SHPE. He’s been both national and Region 2 VP. He has chaired conferences and been instrumental in professional development programs. And he’s been honored with five SHPE president’s awards and several commendations for his service to the society.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to utilize my Dr Concepción Jiménez-González is the new national VP.twenty-one years of leadership within SHPE to enhance and grow our organization,” Hernandez comments. “I feel we play a crucial role in both the Hispanic community and the engineering and technical industry overall.”

Jiménez-González served as Region 7 VP, helping pilot two programs which are now established nationally. She has also judged technical paper/poster competitions, championed the role of student chapter advisors, and worked to include member feedback in event planning. She has held leadership positions with the North Carolina and the Greater Philadelphia professional chapters as well as the student chapter at North Carolina State University.

Other new SHPE board members include Edgar Roman of Boeing, Region 1 VP; Jose Chavez of Hensel Phelps, Region 3 VP; Michael Zamarron, Lockheed Martin, Region 5 VP; Denny Pichardo, IBM, Region 7 VP.

The new national graduate representative is Christella Chavez, University of Oklahoma; the national undergraduate representative is Sara Rios of Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ).

For a complete list of SHPE’s board of directors, check out www.shpe.org.

BDPA Epsilon awards announced

Washington, DC – The National Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) named three IT pros to receive its individual Epsilon awards for 2009. The awards are presented annually to IT pros who exemplify excellence among blacks in the industry.

The career achievement award went to Joe McMahon, Sabre Systems; Rosalind Shaffer of Eli Lilly received the professional achievement award; and Matthew Harvey, also of Lilly, was recognized for his community service.

The Epsilon awards were presented at the 2009 National BDPA Technology Conference in Raleigh, NC.

Rockwell Collins and execs honored at OFC Venture Challenge event

Rockwell Collins’ Karen Brown was named outstanding diversity advocate.Cedar Rapids, IA – At its 2009 Venture Challenge conference in April, the Opportunity Funding Corp (OFC) Venture Challenge recognized Rockwell Collins and two of its execs for their support of diversity and inclusion.

The company, which was a sponsor of the event, was named corporation of the year. Chair, president and CEO Clay Jones was recognized as CEO of the year. Karen Brown, director of diversity partnerships, was honored as outstanding diversity advocate of the year.

Another highlight was the business plan competition, won this year by Clark Atlanta University. The event is attended by business and technical students from HBCUs and representatives of Fortune 500 companies.

OFC is a not-for profit corporation created in 1970 to facilitate the ownership of for-profit businesses by minorities and other disadvantaged people by providing investment capital. Through guarantees, direct loans and equity investments, OFC has generated more than $66 million in capital for some 184 minority-owned companies in thirty-five states.

For more about OFC and its challenge event, check out www.ofcvc.org.

White House cites all female, Virginia-based FIRST Robotics team

At the White House, the team poses with Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes.Manchester, NH – A FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) team from Virginia participated in a White House roundtable on Title IX this spring. Passed in 1972, the legislation provides equal access to all educational resources for young women in the U.S., including those involved in STEM.

FIRST Team 116 is an all-female team of ten mentored by NASA’s David Lavery. The team was recognized as an example of how Title IX has safeguarded young women’s access to science and math education.

The roundtable focused on efforts to encourage women to pursue fields like science and technology, where they have historically been underrepresented.

The panel included White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, education secretary Arne Duncan, and athletes Billie Jean King, the tennis great, and Dominique Dawes, three times Olympic medalist in gymnastics, both champions of Title IX. Duncan told the team, “You serve as role models for younger female students.”

Inventor Dean Kamen founded the not-for-profit FIRST in 1989, with the support of interested companies, to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. The FIRST family now includes a robotics competition and tech challenge for high-school students, a Lego league for children nine to fourteen years old and the junior FIRST Lego league for six- to nine-year-olds.

To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.

Dr Jose Cruz receives IEEE education award

Education medalist Dr Jose Cruz.Cleveland, OH – This spring Dr Jose B Cruz, Jr received the 2009 IEEE James H Mulligan Jr education medal for excellence in engineering education. Cruz was lauded for creative leadership, innovative textbooks, inspirational mentoring and research contributions to circuits, controls and systems.

An IEEE life Fellow, Cruz is a distinguished professor of engineering at Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), where he has also served as dean of the college of engineering.

During his forty-five-year career, Cruz fostered technical excellence in research and teaching and inspired professional service. He established strong ties with industry in developing manufacturing systems research, and supervised PhD students incorporating feedback from industry. Many of his grads have become academic leaders or hold prominent positions in industry.

As a consultant on the engineering and science education project of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology from 1993 to 1998, Cruz helped establish a practice-oriented ME program focused on an industry-linked project in several Philippine universities. Early in his career he co-authored textbooks on pioneering ways to introduce advanced concepts at an elementary level.

The IEEE education award is sponsored by the Mathworks, Pearson Prentice Hall, the National Instruments foundation and the IEEE life members committee.

Sandia announces new VP

Albuquerque, NM – Sandia National Laboratories director Tom Hunter has appointed Carolyne Hart VP of weapons engineering and product realization. Hart has been a member of Sandia’s defense systems and assessments program director team, and most recently served as director of Sandia’s electronic systems center. She joined the labs in 1978.

“I am very pleased to announce Hart’s appointment to the Sandia executive leadership team,” Hunter says. “She is a superb scientist and engineer with outstanding leadership skills. As a member of Sandia’s management team, she has led many of the Labs’ key R&D activities. Her new role will give her even greater opportunities to contribute to our national security work.”

Much of Hart’s career at Sandia has been devoted to work connected with the reliability, safety and security of the nuclear weapons stockpile. She has also provided technical solutions to R&D problems in biomass energy, and microseismic and geoelectric methods for oil and gas exploration and subsurface monitoring, and helped lead Sandia’s work in synthetic aperture radar systems.

Hart has a BA in math and biological sciences from Howard Payne University (Brownwood, TX) and an MS and PhD in EE from Oklahoma State University. She is an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico, where she received the college of engineering’s outstanding teacher award several times.

Sandia is a multi-program lab operated by Sandia Corp, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. The lab has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Ford presents scholarships to young technical entrepreneurs

Some of the scholarship winners take time to pose with Ford and SME guides. Chicago, IL – This summer, the Ford Motor Co Fund, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation and Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center joined forces to run the 2009 Future Founders Academy. This week-long tech/business camp is designed for diverse, technically inclined South Side Chicago high schoolers.

The students visited high-tech entrepreneurs, then researched business plans for green-tech products they saw on exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Technology.

At the end of the week, they presented their business plans in a competition for Ford Blue Oval scholarships. These scholarships are given to students interested in a college degree that prepares them for a science, technology, engineering or manufacturing-related career.

First-place recipients were Mia Bridges, a graduate of the Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy; Zoe Damacela, an incoming senior at Whitney Young High School; and Brandon Tucker, an incoming senior at Global Visions Academy.

Second-place recipients were Sean Coleman, an incoming senior at Chicago Vocational Career Academy; Lucia Gonzalez, an incoming senior at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy; and Devante Perry, an incoming senior at Global Visions Academy.

Third-place recipients were Devin King, a graduate of ACE Technical Charter High School; Mia Lee, a graduate of Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy; and John Nash, an incoming senior at George Washington High School.

Fourth-place recipients were Corey Barksdale, a graduate of Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy; Jessalyn Lofton, an incoming senior at Global Visions Academy; and Ezequiel Negrete, a graduate of Edwin G. Foreman High School.

Two new CEs join KAI Texas

Ronald Rutherford Jr.Dallas, TX – This spring, Dallas-based design and build firm KAI Texas hired Ronald Rutherford Jr as a contract administrator on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Green Line expansion project. Rutherford processes contractor change order requests on the project. He has nearly eight years of experience as a transportation/field engineer for PBS&J in Dallas, TX. Rutherford has a BSCE from Texas A&M and is a member of the American Society for Quality.

Eddie Franklin Jr.Eddie Franklin Jr also joined KAI, with responsibility for change management on the Green Line project. Franklin has nine years of industry experience, and previously worked as a regional construction project manager for JC Penney, Inc. His BSCE is from Florida A&M University. He is a member of NSBE and a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

KAI Texas leads station design and quality- and project-control efforts for the DART light rail transit Green Line expansion. The company is also providing construction management and supervision for the $2.4 billion, thirty-mile extension.

Hsiao wins Webby award

Webby awardee Jason Hsiao of Animoto.San Francisco, CA – Jason Hsiao, co-founder, president and director of Animoto, received the 2009 Webby award for best application and service.

Animoto (www.animoto.com) is a website that uses cinematic AI and high-end motion design to “think” like a director and editor, automatically creating professional-quality “slide-shows” from users’ own pictures and music. There are apps for easy sharing through email, social networks, YouTube and the iPhone.

Hsiao took an economics major and CS minor at Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH). He has more than a decade of experience in new media for the video, film and television industries.

STEM-promoting Web videos feature diverse biomed engineers

Dominic Alexander and Tara Burke are biomed engineers shown in the series.Tucson, AZ – A web video series that premiered in May is designed to show high school students what they can do in the STEM fields. The series is part of a new educational website, www.exploreyourfuture.org, where the kids can investigate nearly 200 career opportunities. The site was created by WHYY, the Philadelphia and Delaware public broadcasting affiliate, and GlenDevon Group, a private financial services firm.

The series focuses on the importance of math and science classes as gateways to exciting high-tech careers. For example, two diverse biomedical engineers working with patients using artificial hearts are profiled in one episode. Other episodes highlight science and math in fields including precision manufacturing and auto racing.

Does service learning attract women to engineering? Ask at EWB

This water system, shown under construction, was built as an EWB project in a remote mountain village in Honduras.Medford, MA – Tufts University is doing a study to figure out better ways to educate engineers and to attract more women to the profession.

There’s some concern that engineering education has become outdated in the U.S., turning out grads who are unprepared for real-world problems. Some experts believe the trend can be turned around by making service learning a strong component. Service learning is hands-on practice, applied on a volunteer basis to pressing social problems.

With a grant from the NSF, Christopher Swan, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Tufts, and a team of researchers have started a three-year study to see how service learning might help engineering programs attract and retain students, particularly women.

The research addresses two prevailing but unproved beliefs about service learning in the engineering classroom. It will try to determine whether students in programs with a service-learning component as well as a rigorous technical focus are more motivated about the profession and more confident in their skills. The researchers will then use the data to examine the popularity of service learning with women students.

Ready for the first mix of concrete.Membership rolls of service-oriented groups like the student-run Engineers Without Borders (EWB) show that 40 percent of the members are women, even though the profession as a whole is only about five percent female. Some 40 percent of Tufts’ female engineering majors also participate in school-supported service learning programs.

“Service projects require technical training, but the skills are being applied to non-abstract real-life problems,” Swan points out. “It could very well be that women are more motivated to choose engineering as a major and then stay in the field after they graduate if they feel that their work is attached to social good.”

The study is expected to be completed by Fall 2011.


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