Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology



August/September 2018

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Diversity/Careers August/September 2018

Government & defense
Healthcare tech
ChEs & EnvEs
Native Americans
Dr Bernard Harris
Grace Hopper preview
GMiS HENAAC preview
New director at NSBE

WBEs in technology
WBENC conference
News & Views
Regional roundup
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Diversity in action
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Veterans in action

News and Views

Michelle Howard sworn in as the U.S. Navy’s first female four-star admiral

Washington, DC – Michelle Janine Howard is the first woman in the U.S. Navy’s 238-year history to attain the rank of four-star admiral. She was sworn in during a ceremony in July at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus presided over the ceremony and administered the oath of office.

“Michelle Howard’s promotion to the rank of admiral is the result of a brilliant naval career, one I fully expect to continue when she assumes her new role as vice chief of naval operations. But also it is an historic first, an event to be celebrated, as she becomes the first female to achieve this rank and position,” Mabus said. “Her accomplishment is a direct example of a Navy that now, more than ever, reflects the nation it serves – a nation where success is not born of race, gender or religion, but of skill and ability.”

Navy Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of naval operations, noted Howard’s success through more than three decades of service. “Michelle’s many trailblazing accomplishments in her thirty-two years of naval service are evidence of both her fortitude and commitment to excellence and integrity,” he said. “I look forward to many great things to come from the Navy’s newest four-star admiral.”

Howard, who most recently served as the deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy, relieves Navy Admiral Mark E. Ferguson III as the 38th vice chief of naval operations.

Howard is a 1978 graduate of Gateway High School in Aurora, CO. She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982 and from the Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1998 with a masters degree in military arts and sciences.

Her initial sea tours were aboard USS Hunley and USS Lexington. In 1987, while serving on board Lexington, she received the secretary of the Navy/Navy League Captain Winifred Collins award. This award is given to one woman officer a year for outstanding leadership.

She reported to USS Mount Hood as chief engineer in 1990 and served in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. She assumed duties as first lieutenant on board the USS Flint in July 1992. In 1996, she became the executive officer of USS Tortuga and deployed to the Adriatic in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, a peacekeeping effort in the former Republic of Yugoslavia. Sixty days after returning from the Mediterranean deployment, Tortuga departed on a West African training cruise, where the ship’s sailors, with embarked Marines and U.S. Coast Guard detachments, operated with the naval services of seven African nations.

Howard took command of USS Rushmore in 1999, becoming the first African American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy. She was the commander of Amphibious Squadron 7 from May 2004 to September 2005. She deployed with Expeditionary Strike Group 5, participating in operations that included tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia and maritime security operations in the North Arabian Gulf. She commanded Expeditionary Strike Group 2 from April 2009 to July 2010.

In 2009, Howard deployed to the U.S. Central Command theater, where she commanded the Task Force 151 multinational counter-piracy effort and Task Force 51 expeditionary forces. In 2010, she was the Maritime Task Force commander for Baltic operations under 6th Fleet.

Howard received a Woman of Color Achievement award in 2008. She was the USO Military Woman of the Year for 2011 and the NAACP chairman’s Image award recipient in 2013.

Chrysler Group sponsors Motor City Pride festival parade

Auburn Hills, MI – Chrysler Group LLC (Auburn Hills, MI) celebrated its support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees, communities and issues by sponsoring the annual Motor City Pride festival.

The event was held in June at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit. This year Chrysler Group sponsored the parade portion of the festival, as well as an interactive product display.

Motor City Pride is a volunteer-driven event celebrating the lives of Michigan’s LGBT citizens, and is the largest LGBT gathering in Michigan.

The company’s gold sponsorship was provided on behalf of its LGBT employee resource group (ERG), the Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA) at Chrysler Group.

“It is fitting that Chrysler Group has a prominent place at this event, celebrating, advocating and building upon all it has done over the years to include and empower its LGBT employees and the community at large,” said Gregory Hawkins, a Chrysler engineer and president of GALA. “Speaking on behalf of LGBT employees at Chrysler Group, we are very proud of what our company has achieved in creating a work culture that is diverse, respectful and inclusive.”

GALA is one of six ERGs at the company that enable employees to celebrate multicultural differences and bring value to the larger community through volunteer and charitable activities. Other ERGs at Chrysler Group include the Chrysler African American network, Chrysler Hispanic employee network (Latinos In Connection), Chrysler Asian network, Native American employee resource group and women’s forum.

“All of our employees at Chrysler Group are valued and given the opportunity to personally contribute to the success of our company,” said Michael Keegan, senior vice president for human resources, co-chair of the company’s diversity council and executive sponsor of GALA. “Chrysler Group prides itself in creating a diverse and inclusive business environment in which employees are given the comfort and freedom to perform at their very best.”

GALA’s objectives include promoting a positive awareness of LGBT people and issues within Chrysler Group and ensuring that the company’s products and services are desired by and tailored to diverse people and communities. At Motor City Pride, GALA members introduced the company’s products to consumers in an interactive display.

“Motor City Pride is honored to have a long-established partnership with Chrysler Group,” said Dave Wail, chairman of Motor City Pride and Equality Michigan. “Chrysler Group’s support of this event for our community shows their dedication and commitment to our mission to achieve full equality and respect for all people in Michigan regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

Motor City Pride included a weekend packed with multiple events: a family picnic, golf outing, commitment ceremony and parade.

Success at crowdfunding helps La TechLa educate 1,000 young girls of color about coding

San Francisco, CA – This spring, nonprofit organizations Black Girls Code (BGC) and Latino Startup Alliance (LSA) joined forces and raised more than $5,500 via an Indiegogo (bit.ly/1qtjwS6) crowdfunding initiative called La TechLa.

La TechLa seeks to empower 1,000 young girls of color with education about coding and the transformative power of tech. With starting capital assistance from Google RISE and the crowd-sourced funds, La TechLa’s organizers plan to roll out the program to fourteen cities in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Mexico.

“There is a lack of representation of women in STEM, but that troubling gap is even more pronounced for young girls of color,” said Deldelp Medina, president of LSA. “La TechLa seeks to reverse this trend by tapping into Latina girls’ love for tech gadgets and showing them and their families why technology matters to their future and how they too can become part of this movement. By combining the power of our organizations, we hope to build social and economic stability in our communities.”

BGC offers technology education to communities of color through workshops, hack-a-thons and after-school programs. BGC introduces computer programming and technology to girls from underrepresented communities in technology areas such as web design, robotics, gaming, mobile app development and more.

Co-headquartered in San Francisco and Miami, LSA is a fiscally sponsored project of CEL Education Fund. LSA is committed to supporting Latino tech entrepreneurs and future innovators by providing a community of peers, resources, mentors and investors.

DiscoverE announces recipients of the 2018 Educator awards

Las Vegas, NV – In June DiscoverE announced the recipients of its 2018 Educator awards. Through this annual recognition, the engineering profession pays tribute to those who bring engineering to life for students in grades six through twelve.

The 2018 honorees include winners Stephanie Cross of the Lawrence Family Development Charter Center, Lawrence, MA; Todd Matia of Sand Creek High School, Colorado Springs, CO; and Romeo Valdez of Foy H. Moody High School-Innovation Academy for Engineering, Environmental & Marine Science, Corpus Christi, TX, plus eight runners-up.

The three winners each received a $2,000 cash prize and a gift pack of 3M products for the classroom. The eight notable runners-up received $500 each and gift packs.

“Teachers play a pivotal role in guiding the next generation of engineers,” said Leslie Collins, executive director of DiscoverE. “It is an amazing thing to see how their passion for engineering inspires others. Thank you and congratulations to all the winning and nominated educators.”

Stephanie Cross started her professional life as a research scientist, but discovered her passion for teaching when she had children. Twelve years later, Cross now chairs a middle school science department that serves students from a deeply impoverished community Recognizing that not all students learn the same way, high school teacher Todd Matia has dedicated his teaching career to finding and creating unexpected paths to understanding math, computer science and engineering. He has developed a new approach to teaching algebra. He is sharing his innovative methods with others via stinkykidmath.com, a website filled with kid-friendly games and videos that are helping students and even teachers improve their algebra skills.

Returning to teach in the same high school from which he graduated, Romeo Valdez hopes to instill in his students the desire to achieve and the ability to take advantage of the opportunities in front of them. Upon graduation from high school, Valdez enlisted in the military and became an electronics technician. However, he saw the benefit to himself and his family of furthering his education, and after completing a degree in math, Valdez decided it was time to give back to his community by helping students envision a brighter future for themselves.

ASME Foundation, Bechtel, ExxonMobil, IEEE-USA, and 3M are the sponsors for DiscoverE’s 2018 Educator awards.

Colorado students make and race solar and lithium ion battery cars at annual competition

Littleton, CO – Nearly 300 students on seventy-four teams from twenty-one Colorado schools converged on Dakota Ridge High School in May to race solar and lithium ion battery-powered vehicles they designed and built themselves. They were competing for a spot in the Junior Solar Sprint and Lithium Ion Battery car competitions.

Each year, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other local sponsors host the races to show middle school students that science, engineering, and design can be rewarding and to encourage them toward careers in STEM.

The batteries used in the competition are supplied by the DOE. Teams purchase authorized solar panels, then design and build the rest of their cars themselves. Solar and lithium ion battery power are highlighted at the competition, since they are important research focuses for NREL and DOE.

Trophies were given out for the fastest solar-powered model cars and the fastest lithium ion-powered model cars. Three solar design trophies and three lithium ion design trophies were given out based on technology, craftsmanship and innovation.

The annual competition is sponsored by NREL, DOE’s Office of Science, the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, Jefferson County Schools, Dakota Ridge High School, and the DOE Golden Service Center. Phil Long Ford of Denver, Whole Foods Market, Sam’s Club and Mahnke Auto Body supported the event by providing lunches and trophies for the winning teams.

The Society of Women Engineers welcomes new president and president-elect for 2015

Chicago, IL – In July, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) installed SWE leader Elizabeth Bierman as the organization’s FY15 president, and Colleen Layman, a longtime SWE member and registered professional engineer, as president-elect.

“Our organization is only as strong as its leaders. With Elizabeth’s enthusiasm and leadership acumen, we know we’re in for another great year of growth and distinction,” said Karen Horting, SWE’s executive director and CEO.

Bierman is a senior program manager for Honeywell Aerospace in Minneapolis, MN, where she leads integrated product delivery and support, an engineering development process that is used throughout the aerospace division.

She has a twenty-year history with SWE, and has held an array of leadership roles through the years. In her role as president, she will travel the globe representing SWE’s 27,000 members and advancing the organization’s mission of providing a voice and place for women in engineering.

“Emerging technologies and my employer’s enthusiasm for capturing the brightest minds in engineering have allowed us to leverage our backgrounds in the workplace, regardless of gender or location,” Bierman said. “In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, the value of diversity in fueling innovation is a cultural constant.”

Bierman has a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering and a masters in systems engineering, both from Iowa State University (Ames), and an MBA from Bentley University (Waltham, MA). She was a 2006 Distinguished New Engineer award recipient, and earned her program management certification (PMP) in 2007.

Layman will succeed Bierman and lead the organization as its FY16 president. “The Society of Women Engineers is sure to benefit from Colleen’s unique insights and perspective,” said Horting. “We’re pleased to have such a strong visionary and vibrant personality leading our organization during this growth period.”

Layman will spend the next two years meeting with SWE members throughout the world. “I’m focused on helping SWE dream big and plan strategically about how to advance women in engineering on a global scale,” Layman said. “We’ve got some great relationships with large corporations that can help us get there. We have an opportunity to make an even bigger impact by reaching out to small and mid-size businesses everywhere to provide networking and professional development.”

Layman is an energy-water management practice leader and resources water principal at HDR (Omaha, NE). She has more than twenty years of experience in the engineering design, construction, commissioning and operation of power generating facilities.

Layman’s fifteen-year history with SWE includes representing the society on the steering committee for the development of the U.S. technological literacy framework, specifications commissioned by the Department of Education’s National Assessment governing board in 2008 and 2009.

Layman’s resume includes a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering technology from Thomas Edison State College (Trenton, NJ), a masters in water resources and environmental engineering from Villanova University (Villanova, PA) and an MBA in management of engineering and technology from North Central University (Prescott Valley, AZ).


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