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June/July 2011



Diversity/Careers June/July 2011 Issue




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ABI's Women of Vision
Atam Dhawan of NJIT
Argonne & Native students



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Diversity in action
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News and Views


NSBE honors diversity champion Gene Washington

Alexandria, VA – Gene Washington, former Minnesota Vikings football player, longtime supporter of NSBE and founding member of its Board of Corporate Affiliates (BCA), received the newly created Gene Washington Champion of Champions Award at the fourteenth Annual NSBE Golden Torch Awards ceremony, held this March 26 in St Louis, MO.

The award recognizes Washington's outstanding service to the society during his tenure with 3M, a BCA member. He retired from 3M last year as manager of workforce diversity.

"I'm very excited about the award; it's quite an honor," Washington says. "But I salute our NSBE students as the real champions: they are persevering in their studies and making a very significant contribution to our national engineering community," Washington told NSBE Magazine.

Washington grew up in a racially segregated community outside Houston, TX. He was a talented athlete in several sports, and was recruited to play football at Michigan State University, where he reveled in the atmosphere of racial integration and earned his bachelors and masters degrees. Throughout his career, "Segregation pushed me to excel," he told In Magazine in May 2010.

Washington had an exciting pro career with the Vikings. He began working part time for 3M in the early 1970s while he was still playing, and developed the company's first minority college relations recruitment program.

He joined 3M fulltime in 1988, and greatly expanded the company's diversity recruitment through his work with NSBE and many other organizations over the next twenty-one years.


BDPA New York president honored

New York, NY – In celebration of Women's History Month, Renetta English, president of the BDPA New York chapter, was awarded the Chairman's Organizational Leadership Award as an honoree at the tenth annual salute to professional women of the Professionals Network Organization (TPNO, New York, NY) on March 24, 2011. The award program, first implemented in 2001, is given yearly to recognize people working for a better quality of life in the New York City community.

Established in 1996, TPNO is a group of more than 10,000 minority business professionals, entrepreneurs, politicians, community and business leaders, linked together through the organization.


NACME congratulates James Wynn III, a "new face in engineering" for 2011

White Plains, NY – The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc (NACME) congratulates James Wynn III, named one of EWeek's "new faces of engineering" this year. Wynn, who works for GE Aviation, was a NACME scholar and a 2005 graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

"We at NACME are incredibly proud that James has been selected as one of the new faces of engineering," says NACME president and CEO Irving Pressley McPhail, EdD. "He is a shining example of what the NACME scholars program is all about. James is not only a gifted engineer who is making important contributions to GE Aviation, but he is also committed to mentoring future engineers through his work in local high schools in Cincinnati."

Each year the National Engineers Week Foundation, a coalition of engineering societies, major corporations and government agencies, nominates young colleagues for consideration as new faces of engineering. The class of 2011 reflects many of the pressing issues engineers are working on, including energy resources, infrastructure renewal, technological advancement and national security.

NACME is responsible for more than $4 million in scholarships awarded annually to underrepresented minority students. The NACME Scholars Program provides block grants to colleges and universities that, in turn, provide funds to talented African American, Native American and Latino students enrolling in engineering curricula. For more information visit www.nacme.org.


Earl Pace joins IT Hall of Fame

Downers Grove, IL – Earl Pace, founder of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), has been elected to the Innovators Wing of the IT Hall of Fame.

CompTIA, the nonprofit trade association considered "the voice of the world's information technology industry," honored the inductees at its annual member meeting in Chicago on April 7.

The IT Hall of Fame Class of 2011 also includes the late Phil Katz, creator of the .ZIP file format. Todd Thibodeaux, president and chief executive officer of CompTIA, notes that "In their own unique ways, each of these Hall of Famers made technology and the IT industry more accessible and inclusive to more people.

"By making it simpler for people to exchange information; by opening doors to business opportunities for more people; and by providing individuals with tools to launch their own careers, the IT Hall of Fame Class of 2011 made game-changing contributions to our industry that continue to have a positive impact today," Thibodeaux says.

Earl Pace has been in the IT industry since 1965, starting his career as a computer programmer trainee with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Over the next decade Pace held a series of increasingly senior positions, culminating with his work as VP of a financial telecom company in Philadelphia.

In 1976 he started his own company, Pace Data Systems, a full-service IT firm providing services to banks, financial institutions and other customers from offices in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

In 1975 Pace co-founded BDPA in Philadelphia. In 1978 he coordinated BDPA's transition to a national organization and was its national president until 1980. BDPA has grown into the largest national professional organization representing minorities in the IT industry.

Phil Katz founded PKWare, Inc in 1986 and was the author of the world-renowned PKZip/Unzip programs for data compression. His contributions to the computer industry included work with Bulletin Board Systems and many computer user groups and support forums. His decision to assign the .ZIP extension and file format specification to the public domain helped the format become a globally open standard. A graduate of the computer science engineering program of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Katz died in 2000.

For info visit www.comptia.org.


Navy announces young investigator awards

Arlington, VA – The Department of the Navy has announced the award of $10.8 million to scientists and engineers at eighteen academic institutions as part of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) 2011 Young Investigator Program (YIP).

"This program is an important part of the Department of the Navy's science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach programs," says secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "To our benefit, it attracts outstanding new faculty researchers to naval-relevant research. The program also plays a major role in the Navy's outreach efforts by supporting diverse faculty at a critical point in their careers."

The YIP award identifies and supports academic scientists and engineers who completed doctorates or equivalent degrees and achieved tenure-track positions in the past five years, and are now involved in compelling research with the potential to deliver "game-changing" naval science and technology.

The Navy selected twenty-one from more than 270 proposal applications received last year. Recipients will receive about $170,000 in annual research grants for three years.

For a list of winners check out go.usa.gov/2mC.


HITEC member Jose Jimenez named CSC chief diversity officer

Falls Church, VA – This April CSC named Jose Jimenez its chief diversity officer. Jimenez was previously president of CSC's North American Public Sector (NPS) strategy and development division. Before that he was president of the enforcement, security and intelligence group.

He joined CSC in 1999 through its acquisition of Nichols Research and Welkin Associates, where he was president of national programs for Nichols and a VP and business unit leader for Welkin.

Jimenez served twenty years in the U.S. Navy. He has a BSEE from the University of Texas at Arlington and an MS in management from Troy State University (Troy, AL).

Jimenez will report to Michael Laphen, chair, president and CEO, and Denise Peppard, VP and chief HR officer, as he works to advance the diversity and inclusion program at CSC. He'll work closely with CSC executives globally to develop business initiatives that strengthen the company's ability to attract diverse talent in all markets.

At CSC, Jimenez has led diversity initiatives and worked with external diversity organizations. He was recently given the Estrella award of the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC) as an industry leader who has made a major contribution to the advancement of technology and diversity. HITEC (www.hitecglobal.org) was founded by senior Hispanic IT execs in 2006; Jimenez received a past HITEC award as a Top 100 IT exec.

"Making diversity part of the intrinsic corporate culture is important to a company's overall strategy as well as daily operations," says Jimenez. "I am proud to work for a company that recognizes the business value of diversity and sees it as a tool for growth and business results."

CSC is a global leader in technology-enabled solutions and services. For more information visit www.csc.com.


CompTIA creates Women in Info Technology Council

Downers Grove, IL – The Computer Technology Industry Assn (CompTIA) educational foundation has created a Women in IT Council (WITC) aimed at "inspiring and empowering women with the necessary knowledge and skills for successful IT careers." The new council elected Susan Krautbauer, head of business development-Americas at Elcoteq, and Jean Mork Bredeson, general manager, Service 800, as its chair and vice-chair.

Technical innovation plays a critical role in almost every sector of the economy, yet in 2009 only a quarter of professional IT-related jobs were held by women, down from 36 percent in 1991, says the National Center for Women & IT. Only 18 percent of computer and IS degrees in 2008 were awarded to women, down from 37 percent in 1985.

"As an industry we're striving to make IT the career of choice for more women," declares Charles Eaton, exec director of the CompTIA foundation. "With the new foundation we are focused on helping women in financial need, female veterans and military spouses find lasting careers in IT.

"Our new WITC is exploring projects like developing a career recruitment video, and assessment tools to help women determine if they have an aptitude for an IT career. Under the leadership of Krautbauer and Bredeson we hope to reach more women and show them the career possibilities that IT training can bring."

Council chair Krautbauer has more than twenty years of experience in IT and logistics. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, distributors, OEMs, outsourcing firms and global IT maintenance companies.

Vice-chair Bredeson founded Service 800 in the 1980s to provide service quality and customer satisfaction measurements on a real-time basis. Since 1994 she's played a key role in CompTIA's ServiceMetric benchmarking, a global consortium that sets standards and measures technology services around the world.

The CompTIA Educational Foundation is designed to provide career opportunities for people historically underrepresented in the IT workforce. For additional information visit www.comptia-ef.org.


Increasing diversity of life science researchers

Indianapolis, IN – The School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has received $943,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase the number and diversity of future life science researchers.

The NSF award established IUPUI undergraduate research mentoring (URM) in the biological sciences. The mentoring is designed to broaden participation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans and other historically underrepresented groups in undergraduate research in science. Two-year fellowships will be awarded to School of Science students. The fellowships will include intensive research throughout the students' junior and senior years. The research will concentrate on biosignaling: the ability of life from the microscopic to the whole body or plant level to respond to its environment.

URM students will receive significant assistance during the two-year program: welcome financial help, seminars and presentations designed to lead them on the path to PhDs and careers in bioresearch, plus mentoring by graduate degree holders from minority groups.

For more on the School of Science visit www.science.iupui.edu.


Concrete canoes, steel bridges, water filters and more put engineering minds to the test

Los Angeles, CA – From March 23-26, nearly 1,000 civil engineering students converged at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) to participate in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pacific Southwest Conference.

A highlight of the conference is the concrete canoe competition, where each college designs and constructs a concrete canoe that can float. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo placed first overall, ranking on top in a swamp test, endurance contest and sprint race held at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Center in Irwindale.

Student engineers from eighteen colleges and universities also competed in fabricating a scaled steel bridge; engineering a concrete bowling ball, discus and shot put for a triathlon; and creating a filtration system using conventional household items.

The 5,000 cans that were used in the "can-struction" competition were donated to CSULA's Educational Participation in Communities to be distributed to needy families in the surrounding communities.

The ASCE regional conference draws students from Nevada, Arizona, California and Hawaii universities each year to compete in a series of engineering-related events. The competition gives students practical experience, allows them to network with peers, and gives them a chance to qualify for a national championship berth. For more information on this year's event, see pswc2011.org.


Wisconsin-Stout repeats as Rube Goldberg winner

West Lafayette, IN – Defending champion University of Wisconsin-Stout won the twenty-fourth annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest on March 26 at Purdue University.

The competition was sponsored by Purdue's Phi Chapter of Theta Tau engineering fraternity and rewards machines that most effectively combine creativity with inefficiency and complexity. The Goldberg contest is named after the famous cartoonist who drew complicated machines to perform easy tasks. The task for the machines this year was to water a plant.

Immediately after Saturday's competition, a machine built by Purdue's Society of Professional Engineers/Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (PSPE/SHPE) team completed a flawless run of 232 steps, surpassing the world record held by Ferris State University. A video of the run will be submitted to Guinness World Records for certification. The PSPE/SHPE team won the regional contest in February.

Machines must use at least twenty steps to complete the task in no more than two minutes. Teams have three tries to complete two runs. Points are deducted if students have to assist the machine once it has started.

Jennifer George, Rube Goldberg's granddaughter and legacy director of Rube Goldberg Inc, attended Saturday's competition. "I'm thrilled to be here. It's incredibly exciting," she told the audience. "I know my grandfather is here in spirit."

Corporate sponsors were BAE Systems, Omega Engineering, Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins, Alcoa, Priio and Ethicon Endo-Surgery.

The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest dates back to 1949 when it began as a competition between two Purdue fraternities. For more information, see www.rubegoldberg.com.


NASA announces winners of 18th annual moonbuggy race

Huntsville, AL – NASA has announced the winners of the 18th annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race, and it's Puerto Rico's year.

Teams representing Teodoro Aguilar Mora Vocational High School of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, snared the top two berths in the high school division; and, for the second straight year, the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao held off all comers to win the college division.

More than seventy teams from twenty-two states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Germany, India and Russia took part in the race which was held April 1-2 at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. It challenged students to tackle many of the same engineering challenges dealt with by Apollo-era lunar rover developers at the Marshall Center in the late 1960s. This year's event celebrated the fortieth anniversary of that feat, which culminated in the first use of a crewed lunar rover in July 1971.

Teodoro Aguilar Mora Vocational High School first raced in the event in 2010, earning course times that put their twin buggies in a respectable but trophy-less seventh and ninth place among all high school teams. This year, Team II posted a final time of three minutes eighteen seconds, just one second over the all-time record.

The University of Puerto Rico in Humacao, the only school in the world to enter a moonbuggy in every race since the event was founded in 1994, rolled to victory in 2010 with a winning time of four minutes eighteen seconds. This year, the team crushed that previous best, completing the roughly half-mile course in three minutes forty-one seconds.

"We're thrilled to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the first lunar rover on the moon with the biggest moonbuggy race to date," says Tammy Rowan, manager of the Marshall Center's Academic Affairs Office, which organizes the race. "The legacy of that marvelous NASA endeavor is alive and well in classrooms all over the nation and the world. When today's racers become tomorrow's engineers and scientists, I'm confident the next era of space exploration and discovery will be in very good hands."

Major race sponsors include Lockheed Martin, the Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation and Jacobs Engineering ESTS Group.

For photos of winning teams, links to the race blog and other information, visit: www.nasa.gov/topics/moonmars/moonbuggy.html.


NTID students wow Dow

Rochester, NY – The Dow Chemical Company invited students from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to participate in an evening session with thirty-two leaders from around the world at the company's headquarters in Michigan.

Alexandra Johnson, Chelsea Bruha, Melody Frink and Greg Pollock are deaf or hard of hearing and have varying communication preferences. Some rely on their oral skills while others prefer to use sign language. They were asked to talk about their backgrounds and the experiences they had in their co-ops, being deaf in a hearing work environment.

"The character traits we look for are people who persevere," says Darlene MacKinnon, director of culture and employee engagement at Dow. "We want people who inspire. As leaders, they are going to learn to work with a lot of different people. How well they embrace the diversity around them will help determine how successful they become."

Each of the students was seated at a table of eight executives and spent fifteen minutes talking about being deaf and overcoming barriers in their co-op work. They then switched tables until all thirty-two executives had heard their stories and been able to ask questions.

After dinner, MacKinnon asked the group what they had learned from the students. Brad Fedorchak, a Dow manager from Seadrift, TX, found the students' personalities and determination remarkable. "You are some of the most confident young men and women that I have been around. It makes me feel really ashamed that I'm afraid to do some things because you guys have tackled every challenge and nothing gets in your way. So thank you for what you've taught me tonight."

The students came away better from the experience as well. "It was a good inspirational note for an undergraduate like me, plowing through my classes, that these Dow people are actually down to earth and they started from the bottom and worked their way up," says Frink. "Now I can imagine the potential of my future. Instead of just saying, 'Oh, you can do anything you set your mind to,' they pointed out it takes enthusiasm and persistence to reach goals. Yes, there may be obstacles, but as long as we are willing to work hard, we can make it."

For more info on RIT/NTID, visit www.ntid.rit.edu/.


Cornell engineering undergraduates receive research awards

Ithaca, NY – Twenty Cornell engineering undergraduates have received research support through a $134,000 grant by the Intel Foundation, directed by the Semiconductor Research Corp (SRC) Education Alliance's Undergraduate Research Opportunities program.

The program seeks to provide undergraduates with valuable research experience and mentoring and attract a diverse student population, including women and other underrepresented groups.

"We want our students to recognize the connections between the material they are learning in the classroom and the technological innovations that transform our society and our world; and we want them to be prepared to drive and to lead these transformations," says Lance R. Collins, Cornell's Joseph Silbert dean of engineering.

Cornell's award recipients include: Andrea Bowring '11, Madhur Chopra '11, Christopher Dembia '11, Daniel Fredeman '12, Catherine Hanna '11, Christopher Heidelberger '12, Elaine Higashi '12, Rachel Hoffman '11, Peter Im '13, Yu Kambe '13, Adam Mendrela '12, Liane Moreau '12, Peijie Ong '12, Florencia Paredes '11, Elizabeth Pogue '12, Sandra Quah '12, Rebecca Ruckdashel '11, Ashwin Shahani '12, Sabina Sobhani '13, and Whitney Wenger '13.

Intel Foundation is a philanthropic organization focused on programs that advance education and improve communities worldwide. For more info visit www.intel.com/about/corporateresponsibility/foundation/index.htm. The Education Alliance is SRC's private foundation that develops funding sources and offers hands-on research experiences with scientists and engineers working in technology industries. See www.src.org/program/srcea. For more information on the School of Engineering at Cornell, visit www.engineering.cornell.edu.



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