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December 2010/January 2011






Diversity/Careers December 2010/January 2011 Issue




Women of color in defense
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LGBT in tech
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News & Views
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News and Views


Walter Caldwell encourages Prairie View students to strive for career success

Walter Caldwell, retired manager of staff resources at the Aerospace Corporation, accepts his distinguished service award from Glenda Jones, director of career services at Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX.Prairie View, TX "Success without limits" was the rallying cry for the fortieth fall career fair at Prairie View A&M University. One inspiring highlight of the event was an address by Walter Caldwell, retired manager of staff resources of the Aerospace Corporation.

"I remember when I first joined Aerospace in 1979," Caldwell reminisced. "In reviewing the list of colleges on the recruitment schedule I noted there were few HBCUs and I asked myself, 'Why is that so?'"

Caldwell developed a strategic plan to get those HBCUs on the map, and Prairie View A&M and others were soon added to the Aerospace recruiting list where they remain.

Caldwell says he and Aerospace have been pleased with the quality of Prairie View graduates. And he encouraged the current students to take advantage of all opportunities available to them. "You have greater opportunities for career advancement than others preceding you," he advised. "Be the best that you can and your rewards for service will be great."

Caldwell continued with advice for the Prairie View career services people. "It is important that we help the students make the right connections for their futures with companies, as well as holding our companies accountable for providing those opportunities," he concluded.

At a celebration following the career fair, Prairie View officials gave Caldwell a distinguished service award "for outstanding contributions and support for students' career development."


Wounded Warrior program launched at SRA

Fairfax, VA SRA has introduced a Wounded Warrior Program (WWP) to provide employment opportunities to severely wounded veterans of recent combat. SRA program manager and U.S. Army vet Odell Mcleod is leading the initiative. "Being an armed forces veteran, I know the challenges that vets can face after their military careers. SRA shares my passion for providing opportunities to veterans where they can succeed in transitioning to a civilian career," says Mcleod.

The WWP supports injured vets by giving them resources to minimize the difficulties they encounter when returning home, particularly in the pursuit of a new occupation.

Simon Evans, SRA VP of recruiting and talent solutions, says, "This is a new program that is just being launched so we have not hired yet, but when we do our expectation is to hire people into technical and systems engineering roles, as those are our core business domains."

The program managed by Mcleod draws from many internal employee support functions within HR and the company's in-house medical case workers. It will be closely aligned to SRA's veterans employee resource group, Evans notes.

"They will be both advocates for the program and mentors for the participants," he explains. "We have an executive sponsor from our DoD account management team, and the active support of all senior leaders up to and including president and CEO Stan Sloane."

The program will be fully operational early in 2011. For more information contact SRA at wounded_warrior@sra.com or call Mcleod directly at (703) 284-6905.


Out & Equal presents its "Outie" workplace awards

At the Outies award ceremony, Bill Hendrix, Dow’s biology team leader and Outie award winner, is flanked by Out & Equal board members Tina Podlodowski, at left, and Kyle Spainhour, right.Los Angeles, CA The Out & Equal workplace awards, fondly known as "the Outies," recognize corporations and individuals for exceptional achievements on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. The 2010 awards were presented at this year's 2010 Out & Equal Workplace Summit.

The top individual award is the Trailblazer. This year's winner is Bill Hendrix, biology team leader at Dow Chemical. Dow also received the Significant Achievement award, given to an employer that has made significant strides in advancing a fair and equitable workplace for its LGBT employees. Another winner was IBM, which received the Workplace Excellence award.

The Out & Equal workplace summit provides attendees with information and resources to create their own out and equal workplace. At the summit, HR pros, diversity managers, employee resource group leaders and allies share best practices and formulate ways to put diversity ideals into practice.

At this year's summit, more than 2,300 attendees participated in over 125 workshops and caucuses designed to promote inclusive workplaces.

The awards and summit were sponsored by many diversity-minded companies, including Disney, Genentech, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Northrop Grumman and Xerox.

For more information on Out & Equal check out outandequal.org.


Working Mother Best 100 announced

New York, NY The 2010 Working Mother 100 Best Companies list includes a number of firms that employ a significant number of technical people. This is the list's twenty-fifth year. Among the top 100 are ADP, American Express, Bank of America, Dell, GE, Kraft, Verizon and Wyndham Worldwide.

Carol Evans is president of Working Mother Media, publisher of Working Mother magazine and creator of the list.

"Twenty-five years ago we made a bold decision to launch our Best Companies initiative and challenge businesses to address the unique needs of working mothers," she says.

"The immense influx of women into the workforce demanded changes in workplace culture as companies strove to keep working moms' talent and loyalty. Today we celebrate our winners' untiring commitment to their employees through an impressive array of programs."

While the Working Mother 100 Best Companies continue expanding their benefits, these perks tend to lag at companies nationwide, the Working Mother organization points out. Only 44 percent of American companies offer telecommuting, 17 percent offer formal mentoring, and 37 percent offer health insurance for part-timers. Nearly all the companies on the 100 Best list do.

Only 49 percent of employers in general offer flextime, but all the 100 Best Companies offer not only flextime, but paid maternity leave, lactation rooms, mental health consultations and eldercare resources. Some 98 percent offer health screening and wellness programs. Of course other employee groups also benefit from these programs and policies. For additional information on the list, see workingmother.com/bestcompanies.


NASA names Leland D. Melvin new associate admin for education

Leland Melvin, former astronaut and new associate admin for education at NASA, at a NASA education summit.Washington, DC Leland D. Melvin, a former astronaut, has been named associate administrator for education at NASA. Melvin is now responsible for developing and implementing agency education programs that strengthen student involvement and public awareness about NASA's scientific goals and missions.

Melvin has a BSCh from the University of Richmond and an MS in materials science engineering from the University of Virginia. He went to work for NASA in 1989 as an aerospace research engineer at Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA.

Melvin joined the astronaut corps in 1998 and served as a mission specialist on two space shuttle missions in 2009, logging more than 565 hours in space.

In 2003 Melvin co-managed the educator astronaut program, which recruited teachers to become fully trained astronauts in an effort to connect space exploration with students across the country.

For more information about NASA's education programs, visit www.nasa.gov/education.


MentorNet gets grant to support the NSF Advance program

Sunnyvale, CA The National Science Foundation (NSF) has given MentorNet a grant to create a social network for women of color in STEM fields. MentorNet will use the money to create a secure website where technical women can grow professional relationships, share issues in the workplace and exchange career mentoring as part of the NSF Advance program. Since 2001, the Advance program has supported efforts by institutions of higher education and the broader STEM community to address various aspects of STEM academic culture and institutional structure that may affect women faculty and academic administrators.

MentorNet is a nonprofit educational organization that helps engineering and science students at the university level, especially women and underrepresented minorities, achieve their career goals. The organization matches the students with mentors and guides these one-on-one relationships over the Web.

The NSF Advance program has a special focus on women of color, explains Dr Kelly Mack, NSF Advance program director. "It will encompass not only issues of gender equity, but also the unique issues surrounding the intersection of gender and race/ethnicity."

David Porush, CEO of MentorNet, points out that "This NSF grant will enable us to leverage our unique e-mentoring platform to help solve this important problem."


Absolutely the last call for Moonbuggy racers

Notable Moonbuggy contests of the past.Huntsville, AL Registration for the Eighteenth Annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race closes February 1! Of course, if your group's moonbuggy entry isn't almost ready to go, it's really too late to join the party now; many students and their engineering mentors have been working on their entries since the day after last year's race.

The 2011 NASA Great Moonbuggy Race takes place April 1 and 2 in Huntsville, AL where, four decades after the first NASA lunar rover rolled across the surface of the moon, teams of students will race this year's generation of wheeled wonders.

The race is organized each year by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and held at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. The event challenges high school and college students and their mentors to design, build and race lightweight, human-powered rovers; in doing so, they address many of the same engineering challenges dealt with by Apollo-era lunar rover developers in the late 1960s.

Participating schools and institutions may register one or two vehicles and teams each year. For complete rules, design parameters and registration, visit moonbuggy.msfc.nasa.gov.


Two women leaders head up Catalyst awards event

New York, NY Ursula M. Burns, chair and CEO of Xerox Corp, is chairing the 2011 Catalyst awards dinner, and Irene Rosenfeld, chair and CEO of Kraft Foods, will deliver the keynote address at the awards conference. The events honor winners of the 2011 Catalyst award, which recognizes outstanding business initiatives designed to help women advance into corporate leadership.

"Ursula Burns and Irene Rosenfeld inspire women everywhere to pursue positions of leadership at the highest levels within their individual organizations, in the business community, and in society," says Ilene H. Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst. "Xerox and Kraft are companies with strong commitments to creating inclusive workplaces and advancing talented women to top leadership positions. Both Burns and Rosenfeld are role models for inclusion at companies recognizing that what's good for women is good for business."

Burns joined Xerox in 1980 as a summer intern in ME. In addition to her work at Xerox, she's on the board of American Express and was named by President Obama to help lead the White House national program on STEM.

Rosenfeld is a twenty-seven-year veteran of the food and beverage industry. She joined Kraft in 1981 and advanced in leadership roles in the company, becoming CEO in 2006 and chair in 2007.

Each year Catalyst awards are presented to companies and firms with outstanding initiatives that produce measurable results in women's career development and advancement, and provide the business community with replicable practices that are good for both women and business.

The 2011 Catalyst awards dinner and conference take place March 29 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, NY, sponsored by Deloitte LLP, Shell Oil, the Coca-Cola Co and Walmart.

Learn more about Catalyst and the Catalyst awards at catalyst.org.


USA Science & Engineering Festival was a tremendous success

A crowd enjoys interactive exhibits on the National Mall. The Smithsonian is at far left; the Washington Monument to the rear.Washington, DC The inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival, hosted by Lockheed Martin, was the country's first national science festival. This celebration of science and engineering included more than 1,500 free, interactive exhibits. It attracted half a million visitors over its two-day run late last October. Another 250,000 participated at some fifty satellite events across the nation.

The festival was created by high-tech entrepreneur Larry Block. Block and his family enjoyed activity-based science festivals in the U.K., Italy, Australia and India, and he notes that these events were celebrations, not contests like the typical U.S. science fair.

The U.S. Capitol guards one end of the massive fair. Family fun with robotics at one of the interactive exhibits.
Former pro cheerleaders – now scientists  added to the fun when they reprised their former jobs. This exhibit focused on Oobleck, a non-Newtonian fluid used to demonstrate the properties of polymers.

The event targeted K-12 kids and their families. More than 650 major organizations participated in the festival, including corporations like Cisco, Dow, Intel, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon; science and engineering societies including IEEE, Great Minds in STEM, NSBE and SWE; and more than a hundred universities, colleges and research institutions including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Go to www.usasciencefestival.org to get involved in the next festival.


NNSA HBCU partnership creates opportunities for minority students

Washington, DC HBCU Allen University and the Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Centers Atlantic have a new agreement that supports STEM education and training for the next generation of nuclear security professionals. The agreement is part of the HBCU Pipeline Project at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

The pipeline project itself is part of the NNSA's program for minority-serving institutions. The program's primary focus is engaging minority-serving institutions in NNSA mission activities, collaborative research projects and future workforce development. The HBCU effort is intended to increase the number of minority and female students helping national security by working at government agencies like the NNSA.

During FY 2010 NNSA awarded more than $17 million in grants to HBCUs. Some 300-plus minority students have participated in summer internships at the nuclear security enterprise since the program began.

"Our longstanding involvement with HBCUs has given highly skilled students the opportunity to become engaged with our national security missions and work with leading science, technology and engineering professionals across the country," says NNSA administrator Thomas D'Agostino. "We rely on these relationships to help recruit the next generation of nuclear security experts, and we support President Obama's goal to further develop HBCU partnerships with the federal government."

Visit www.nnsa.energy.gov for more information on this worthwhile program.


Professor Lotte Bailyn "puts gender on the table" in book celebrating MIT's 150th

Cambridge, MA As Massachusetts Institute of Technology approaches its 150th anniversary, a new book, Becoming MIT: Moments of Decision, takes an in-depth look at turning points that helped define the school. "Putting Gender on the Table," a chapter written by MIT Sloan School of Management professor Lotte Bailyn, describes a report written by a group of women professors in the 1990s. The report showed how women faculty in the school of science were subject to "subtle unintentional discrimination."

Reports like this often have little effect, but Bailyn shows that this was not the case for the MIT report.

"This was an issue waiting to be heard," she writes. "When women scientists who had been successful at the country's leading science and technology university described their experiences, the issue became a legitimate reality not only for women in universities, but for all professional women."

MIT's president stated, in his introductory comments to the original report, that "I have always believed that contemporary gender discrimination within universities is part reality and part perception, but I now understand that reality is by far the greater part of the balance." The genie was out of the bottle.

Soon after the report came out, MIT provost Robert Brown asked the deans of each of the other MIT schools, including Sloan, to conduct similar studies. Their reports showed the same types of discrimination and marginalization.

In 2000, MIT's president and provost created the Council on Faculty Diversity. Since then, there have been significant improvements in the number of women faculty at MIT and the appointment of women to top decision-making administrative positions, including that of president.

"I'm sure this report played a role in making advances not only at MIT, but at other schools as well," says Bailyn. "It helped start a more proactive approach to the problem of discrimination against women faculty in science and engineering and it spread beyond that to other professions."


NACME president honored by Polytechnic Institute

NACME’s Dr Irving Pressley McPhail.White Plains, NY Dr Irving Pressley McPhail, president and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), received an honorary doctorate in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) at its graduation ceremony.

Addressing the 2010 graduating class receiving bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees, McPhail emphasized the strength that diversity brings to NYU-Poly's mission of fostering invention, innovation and engineering. "Increasing diversity in STEM opens the doors for new approaches to solving problems and allows for new ways of thinking and, therefore, the potential for greatness," he said.

Trustee Charles Hincaty cited McPhail's accomplishments as "an educational leader who has devoted his professional career to ensuring that underrepresented minority students achieve academic opportunities."

Polytechnic Institute of New York University (formerly Polytechnic University) is a comprehensive school of engineering, applied sciences, technology and research, with a long tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. Founded in 1854, the institution is one of the nation's oldest private engineering schools.



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