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February/March 2012

Diversity/Careers February/March 2012 Issue




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Army Research Lab scientist launches STEM workshop for girls

Aberdeen, MD – Dr Melanie Will-Cole of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has become the official sponsor of the ARL's first Young Women in Science and Engineering (YWISE) college and career workshop. The event was held last December in collaboration with Battelle, the independent R&D organization, and took place at Battelle's Eastern Science and Technology Conference Center in Aberdeen. Speakers included women scientists, researchers and engineers from government, universities and the private sector, who shared their stories and participated in discussions with the attendees.

"I wanted the girls to see past the stereotype that makes women in STEM appear somehow surreal and untouchable," Cole explains. "I wanted the girls to understand that female professional scientists, engineers and mathematicians are real people, and although they have demanding STEM careers they also have families and enjoy hobbies, play sports, participate in the arts, music and dance and are volunteers in their own communities."

Cole and other speakers shared college, career and personal experiences as part of the workshop, and engaged in offline discussions with many of the young women. The participants were students at the Science and Math Academy at Aberdeen High School, where Cole's daughter Alex is also a student.


NCWIT and Microsoft announce winners of computing higher-ed seed fund

Boulder, CO – In January the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and Microsoft Research announced winners of the most recent NCWIT Academic Alliance seed fund competition. The fund provides U.S. academic institutions with startup money to develop initiatives to recruit and retain women in computing and technology fields of study. The awards will provide $10,000 each to five U.S. institutions:

Claremont Graduate University will team with Scripps College Academy to provide workshops that give high school, undergrad and grad students mentoring and support to pursue careers in technology and computing.

Fisk University will use its award to integrate software engineering into its Girls Using Scientific Tools for Opportunities (GUSTO) project, aimed at introducing, encouraging and preparing low-income and minority girls for STEM careers.

Union College will introduce a seed fund project successfully developed by another institution: a "social robotics" outreach workshop in which female computing undergrads serve as mentors and educators for middle- and high-school girls.

The University of Central Arkansas hopes to build a female-friendly environment for computing majors by recruiting a first-year group of women and working to retain them with opportunities for learning, research, service and leadership.

A program at the University of Virginia will focus on actively recruiting computing grad students from traditionally underrepresented groups with enhanced exposure to programs, facilities, faculty and grad-student life.

"Studies clearly show that organizations that are more diverse are also more innovative," says Rane Johnson-Stempson, principal research director for education and scholarly communications programs at Microsoft Research Connections. "Increasing the representation of women in technical organizations is a critical component of overall diversity, and Microsoft is fully committed to that goal. We're proud to support the NCWIT Academic Alliance seed fund, and we look forward to seeing how these start-up projects use this initial funding to grow larger efforts to broaden participation in computing education."

For more information about NCWIT visit www.ncwit.org.


New technology builds blind students' interest in STEM

West Lafayette, IN – Students who are blind or have low vision may enjoy better learning experiences with hands-on science experiments using technology available from a firm based in Purdue's Research Park.

Independence Science LLC, founded by Purdue University grad Cary Supalo, has developed text-to-speech software for Talking LabQuest 1.0 with which information displayed on the screen is made audible. The National Science Foundation provided funding to develop the technology.

The Talking LabQuest 1.0 device collects and stores scientific data and reads twenty descriptors for each element. It is compatible with probes developed and sold by Vernier Software & Technology (Beaverton, OR). The device has been tested by students and teachers at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Indianapolis, IN) and Camp Tuhsmeheta (Greenville, MI).

Supalo explains that "The text-to-speech software improved as we received feedback from school administrators, teachers and students who used it in laboratory settings and in the field. We could not have developed it without their input or the support of Vernier Software & Technology LLC," which produces the LabQuest device.

Independence Science LLC was founded to develop innovative access technologies for blind and low-vision students and may help foster an interest in STEM careers. Check out www.independencescience.com for more information.

Purdue Research Park is a huge university-affiliated business incubation complex sited in four locations across Indiana. The park network is home to some 200 companies employing 4,000 people in West Lafayette, Merrillville, Indianapolis and New Albany, IN. Additional details at www.purdueresearchpark.org.


ITT Exelis exec Judy Smith named to Women in Aerospace board

Herndon, VA – Judy Smith, VP of business development for the ITT Exelis Information Systems division, has been appointed to the board of directors of Women in Aerospace (WIA). WIA is a Washington, DC-based organization dedicated to expanding women's leadership opportunities and visibility in the global aerospace community.

Smith has more than thirty years experience in key management, advisory and leadership positions, providing support to agencies within the Department of Defense. In her current role with Exelis she identifies and qualifies new business opportunities for the company's IS division, an $800 million operating division that provides advanced engineering services and integrated network solutions to government and commercial customers.

Before joining Exelis, Smith held key jobs at Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, GTE and Booz Allen Hamilton, and was the managing partner for OnPoint Consulting. She has a BSEE and an MSCS from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from the University of Baltimore.

Michael R. Wilson, president of Exelis IS, notes that Smith's leadership in exec-level strategy, IT solutions and new business ventures for some of the aerospace industry's biggest names "makes her a terrific addition to WIA's board of directors, and her personal commitment to mentoring, community involvement and continuing education is admirable. Her keen understanding of space and defense policy, players and priorities promises to benefit WIA's important mission in the same way it's helping support business-growth objectives at Exelis."

Smith's two-year appointment to the WIA board of directors started this January.


Summer Jobs+ is a White House program of employment ops for youth

Washington, DC – This January, General Dynamics C4 Systems' director of talent acquisition/community investment Rich Skelnik attended the kickoff of President Obama's Summer Jobs+ at the White House. General Dynamics C4 Systems is one of many companies supporting this joint initiative. Summer Jobs+ challenges business leaders and communities to join the White House in providing summer jobs for America's youth.

The goal is to reach 250,000 employment opportunities by the start of summer, at least 100,000 of which will be placements in paid jobs and internships.

Other companies in the program include AT&T, Bank of America, CVS Caremark, JPMorgan Chase, ManpowerGroup, UPS, Viacom and Wells Fargo.

At the kickoff event, the Department of Labor and the Corporation for National and Community Service honored UPS, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, State Street, Viacom, Deloitte and JPMorgan Chase for their 2011 summer jobs efforts and leadership in corporate mentoring over the past year.

For more information check out whitehouse.gov.


Chrysler Foundation announces $50,000 grant to Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Auburn Hills, MI – The Chrysler Foundation will provide a $50,000 grant to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), the nation's largest provider of college financial aid for Latino students. The grant will support Hispanic students pursuing courses of study focused on STEM fields. It continues the longstanding relationship between the Chrysler Foundation and the HSF that began in 1986; since then HSF has received twenty-five grants totaling more than $750,000 from the foundation.

This latest grant was announced by Fred Diaz, president and CEO of Chrysler de Mexico and Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. Diaz was keynote speaker at the annual Fiesta Hispaña Gala of the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

"The future of our country and the future of Chrysler Group more and more demands that we take an active role in supporting the development of highly motivated, highly trained technical leaders with diverse backgrounds," Diaz says. "Chrysler is committed to ensuring that a diverse group of leaders drives the next era of innovation which fuels the country's economic growth."

Chrysler Group has been recognized as a leader in promoting diversity throughout its enterprise. It has been named to Hispanic Business magazine's annual Diversity Elite 60 for implementing strategies to reach more Hispanic customers and pursue more business with minority- and Hispanic-owned suppliers for several years.

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund was founded in 1975 with the belief that the country prospers when all Americans have access to the opportunities a college education can afford. The fund works to address barriers that may keep Latinos from earning college degrees. For information visit www.HSF.net.


NSBE and Johnson Controls to collaborate on energy efficiency

Milwaukee, WI – Planning a public/ private collaboration, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE, www.nsbe.org) and Johnson Controls (JCI, www.johnsoncontrols.com) have announced a partnership that will advance the environmental goals of both organizations as well as support future employment opportunities for diverse engineering talent.

The project will build on NSBE's sustainability efforts at its Alexandria, VA HQ, with JCI overseeing implementation of energy-efficient technologies. The upgrades are anticipated to result in a 28 percent energy savings. As an important side benefit, the alliance is expected to also create a source of strong engineering candidates for technical employment at JCI.

"This partnership fits our environmental goals and furthers our mission to support African American students and professionals," says Dr Carl B. Mack, executive director of NSBE.

Bruno Biasiotta, VP and general manager of the company's Energy Solutions Americas, notes that "At Johnson Controls we value an exceptional and diverse workforce as essential to providing our customers with comfortable, safe and sustainable environments."


Chrysler Group named Company of the Year at Urban Wheels Awards

Auburn Hills, MI – A panel of fifteen journalists representing multicultural and mainstream media chose Chrysler Group as "Company of the Year" for its leadership in promoting diversity in workforce development. The award was announced as part of the sixteenth annual Urban Wheels Awards show held on January 8 in Detroit, MI.

"It's an honor to accept this recognition of our company's accomplishments as a leader in promoting diversity, in particular our efforts in the area of diversity workforce development," said Georgette Borrego Dulworth, director of talent acquisition and diversity for Chrysler Group LLC, who accepted the award for the company.

"Chrysler Group aspires to be considered a diversity leader not just among automotive companies, but among all companies. This important recognition will inspire us to continue our pursuit of diversity, nurturing a high-powered work culture that is inclusive of all. To Chrysler Group, developing a diverse workforce is a fundamental part of our formula for success and a strategic imperative in today's multicultural marketplace."

Over the years many Chrysler Group employees have received important professional recognition from various diversity organizations, including Black Engineer of the Year, Women of Color and HENAAC/Great Minds in STEM.

The Urban Wheel Awards promote awareness of inclusiveness, and honor companies and individuals who have made progress toward embracing this reality. More information is available at www.urbanwheelawards.com.


Raytheon has strong presence at Massachusetts Conference for Women

Boston, MA – A record 7,000-plus women attended the seventh annual Massachusetts Conference for Women last December at the Boston Convention Center. Every year Raytheon has been a corporate sponsor of the event.

The theme, "live fearlessly," encouraged the women to make bold decisions in their personal and professional lives to inspire change and transformation.

Rebecca Rhoads, Raytheon VP and CIO, co-hosted a huge company breakfast with more than 175 Raytheon women and other young women, including five from the Wounded Warrior Project.


Atlanta BDPA recognizes supporters at awards program

Atlanta, GA – Last November Cox Enterprises hosted the annual awards and recognition program of the Atlanta BDPA. "The event recognizes corporate sponsors and community partners that have helped the chapter with financial or in-kind donations, primarily for our High School Computer Competition (HSCC) program," explains Carter Hill, Atlanta chapter president. Hill presented awards to representatives from Cox, Deloitte and Macy's Systems and Technology, all financial sponsors of the chapter and its activities.

Also honored: Matrix Resources, a national IT staffing and technical services firm, which provided hardware and meeting hosting for HSCC and other chapter activities; GA Technology Services and Consulting, which donated virtual server access for HSCC; and the Atlanta chapter of Latinos in Science and Technology (LISTA), which donated concert tickets awarded as door prizes.


Raytheon receives perfect score on 2012 Corporate Equality Index

Raytheon achieved a score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) 2012 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The HRC, an LGBT rights organization, uses the CEI to rate U.S. companies on how they treat their LGBT employees, consumers and investors. Companies with a 100 percent rating make the HRC Best Places to Work list.

In 2005 Raytheon was the first aerospace and defense company to receive a perfect score on the CEI. This is the seventh consecutive year that the company has achieved its 100 percent rating.

Raytheon chief diversity officer Hayward Bell believes that "Raytheon's success depends in part on our ability to recognize, respect and leverage the individual and cultural differences of our workforce. We are pleased that our continued commitment to cultivating a diverse and inclusive workplace is recognized by the Human Rights Campaign."

The 2012 100 percent list includes 136 companies in fields from aerospace to transportation. To see them, visit www.hrc.org/resources/entry/corporate-equality-index-2011.



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