Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology



June/July 2018

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Diversity/Careers June/July 2018

African Americans in tech
Cybersecurity careers
Jobs in communications
BDPA preview
ABI Women of Vision
MentorNet pair
PhD pals at USF

Energy industry suppliers
News & Views
Regional roundup
Supplier diversity

Diversity in action
News & Views
Veterans in action

News and Views

ITSMF celebrates executive achievements at tenth annual awards dinner

Dallas, TX – In February, the Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF, itsmfonline.org) held its tenth annual executive achievement awards dinner in Dallas, TX.

The event was held in conjunction with the organization’s first-quarter symposium and attracted more than 500 attendees from the public and private sectors. The theme of the symposium was “disruptIT: exploring dimensions of innovation.”

As part of the symposium, NPower (www.npower.org), a nonprofit partner of ITSMF, convened a panel of IT pros to talk about the personal and professional rewards of volunteering to bring technology services and training to community and youth groups.

Individual awards went to David L. Steward, chairman and founder, World Wide Technology; Khalil Fuller, CEO, Math Hoops, Inc; Lieutenant General Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr, USAF, director, Defense Information Systems Agency; Carla J. Ogunrinde, principal, INTEND Coaching & Consulting, LLC; and Marilyn Crouther, senior vice president and general manager, U.S. Public Sector, HP Enterprise Services and Hewlett-Packard Company.

Corporate partner of the year was Procter and Gamble.

Keynote speaker was James I. Cash, Jr, PhD, James E. Robinson professor and senior associate dean emeritus at Harvard Business School.

Among the highlights of the symposium was a talk on Accenture’s 2018 Technology Vision, presented by Ronald Griggs, managing director for products and client lead at Accenture, and Michael J. Redding, managing director of Accenture Technology Labs.

At the event, ITSMF and Accenture announced the launch of the ITSMF Women’s Leadership Forum. The forum will provide an intimate place to learn, share personal and professional experiences, seek advice and gain insights into career advancement through peer-to-peer networking, mentorship, relationship building and leadership development.

The delivery format, designed to complement the ITSMF quarterly symposium series, will be a series of workshops and webinars. Topics will be chosen to prepare the current and next generation of female leaders for continuous advancement, while building a cohesive network among participants. The date of the first Women’s Leadership Forum event will be announced soon.

Siemens grant delivers $85 million in software to Florida A&M; University

Tallahassee, FL – Siemens Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software, a global software company, has provided state-of-the-art software technology worth $85 million as a grant to Florida A&M; University (FAMU).

The in-kind grant gives students access to the same technology that companies around the world use to develop products for the automotive, aerospace, machinery, shipbuilding and high-tech electronics industries. According to FAMU engineering professor Tarik Dickens, PhD, the grant highlights the growing opportunities and challenges in the manufacturing industry.

“This generous grant will make our students more attractive to the industry and improve our academic platform,” said Dickens, who wrote the university’s research and grant application for the Siemens partnership.

“We’re committed to leading the industry in diversity initiatives and STEM education support,” said Chuck Grindstaff, president and CEO of Siemens PLM Software. “We will continue to work closely with the HBCU community to develop highly qualified engineers and technologists that industry wants to recruit.”

“As product complexity continues to grow, students who are able to use PLM Software technology are expected to be eagerly recruited by industry,” said Bill Boswell, Siemens PLM Software senior director of partner strategy. “Siemens PLM Software is honored to have Florida A&M; University as one of our academic partners to help build the next generation of engineers.”

According to Thomas Haynes, PhD, FAMU vice president for university advancement, “This partnership also helps position FAMU to support Florida’s growing manufacturing sector.”

Siemens PLM Software’s academic program delivers grants of PLM software technology to more than one million students yearly at more than 12,000 global institutions. The software is used at every academic level, from grade schools to graduate engineering research programs.

New Mexico Tech improves retention with new programs

Socorro, NM – Since earning federal designation as an Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2008, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (Tech) has added a variety of initiatives to improve both diversity and vital third-semester retention. Tech is a four-year university with masters and PhD programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math.

In 2008, the school set itself a goal of 78 percent freshman-to-sophomore retention, reports Dr Lorie Liebrock, dean of graduate studies and professor of computer science and engineering. In 2006, only 68 percent of freshman returned as sophomores; by 2013, the figure had risen to 77 percent.

Liebrock attributes the improvement to several programs added in the last few years. To ensure diversity, Tech actively recruits minority students, Hispanics in particular, across the Southwest and West. In the 1980s, the student population was less than 10 percent Hispanic. Tech exceeded 25 percent Hispanics by 2007. The incoming freshman class this fall is expected to be more than 39 percent Hispanic.

Tech has also established relationships with schools, including some tribal colleges, in the Four Corners region. The Four Corners population is predominantly Native American. Many Four Corners students spend their first two years at a tribal college, then transfer to a four-year institution like Tech. That’s also a common pattern among students whose finances preclude four years of enrollment at a university.

This spring, Tech and San Juan College (Farmington, NM) signed an official memorandum of understanding that eases the transition for transfer students. Tech is working with seven other two-year colleges in northern New Mexico to establish similar agreements. Also, Tech and the Starr Foundation (www.starrfoundation.org) have launched a scholarship program that helps Native American students finance their educations.

In 2010, Tech began offering a special track for first-time freshmen: living-learning communities (LLCs). A cohort of freshmen live on the same floor of the same dorm and take two or three classes together. Not only do students in the LLCs develop lasting friendships during their first weeks on campus, they also work on a year-long research project.

Upperclass residential assistants mentor freshmen and help them acclimate to college life and develop productive study habits.

Tech has found that fall-to-fall retention is higher than average for these students, up to 82 percent in 2013. The LLC program expanded to five cohorts for the 2013-2018 year, with more than ninety students taking part. In 2018-2015, the school plans eight projects and more than 125 students.

Bayer invests $400K in STEM education and workforce development in Greater Houston

Baytown, TX – The Bayer Corporation is investing more than $400,000 in the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District (GCCISD). The grant is intended to strengthen STEM education and create an education-to-work pipeline; grants and scholarships target middle and high schools.

GCCISD has a student population of more than 22,000. Almost two-thirds of the students are considered economically disadvantaged. Fifty-eight percent of the students are Hispanic and 16 percent are African American. Students with limited English proficiency make up nearly 13 percent of the district’s enrollment.

Through its philanthropic arm, the Bayer USA Foundation, Bayer is also awarding a $386,000 grant to the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) to implement its Laying the Foundation teacher training program in the district’s junior and senior high schools. The program will provide all 116 of GCCISD’s sixth through twelfth grade science and math teachers with high-quality content-based training that strengthens their instruction.

In addition to the NMSI grant, Bayer Material Science (Leverkusen, Germany), whose largest U.S. manufacturing plant is in Baytown, is awarding $25,000 in scholarships, coupled with paid internships, to seven GCCISD high school graduates who plan to pursue manufacturing careers in engineering, process operations, maintenance and instrumentation, and more. Scholarships will be awarded annually.

Dr Mae C. Jemison, a Houston resident who made history in 1992 as the nation’s first African American female astronaut to orbit the Earth, joined Bayer, NMSI and GCCISD officials at Horace Mann Junior High school to make the announcement.

“This major investment by Bayer advances our ongoing commitment to improving both STEM education and diversity, and provides high-paying, high-skilled STEM jobs for our local community,” said Rod Herrick, vice president and site manager of Bayer Baytown, Industrial Park, Bayer Material Science, LLC.

According to the Greater Houston Partnership, 2012 was Houston’s best year for job creation in more than two decades, with chemical manufacturing adding 3,000 jobs over the last three years. In the next two to three years, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership projects the southeast Texas chemical industry will need to add 20,000 skilled workers as the natural gas industry continues to expand.

“We are grateful to Bayer for its generosity and its longtime support of the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District, and for providing our students with such extraordinary opportunities,” said GCCISD superintendent Dr Salvador Cavazos. “Through NMSI’s teacher training program and the manufacturing scholarships and internships, Bayer is ensuring that our students have the academic foundation and the real-world experience they need to be college and career-ready.”

National Society of Black Engineers selects Karl W. Reid as executive director

Alexandria, VA – The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has named Karl W. Reid, EdD its new executive director. Reid’s most recent position was senior vice president of research, innovation and member college engagement at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

Reid has been a leading advocate for increasing college access and opportunity for low-income and minority youth for more than fifteen years. At UNCF, he oversaw new program development, research and capacity building for the organization’s thirty-seven historically black colleges and universities.

Prior to joining UNCF, Reid was associate dean of undergraduate education and director of the office of minority education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, Cambridge), where he was responsible for the academic performance and leadership development of underrepresented minority students. He also served as assistant to the MIT chancellor for student diversity. Reid replaces Virginia Womack, who has been NSBE’s interim executive director since November 2013.

“NSBE is excited to have Dr Reid as our new leader. He will help NSBE immensely as we work to increase the number of blacks in engineering,” said Sossena Wood, the NSBE national chair. “We welcome his experience with developing metric-centered programs that can sustain the mission and cultivate our community.”

“I’m honored and humbled to have been selected as NSBE’s executive director,” Dr Reid said. “I stand on the shoulders of forty years of inspired leadership at NSBE. I am grateful for the enormous contribution that this great organization has made and from which I personally benefited as a student.”

Reid previously served as an NSBE chapter leader and as national chairperson. He earned his bachelors and masters of science degrees in materials science and engineering from MIT, and his doctorate of education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Tammy Spain of Draper Laboratory named to federal biodefense advisory panel

Cambridge, MA – In April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) named Tammy Spain, senior scientist for biomedical systems at Draper Laboratory (Cambridge, MA), to its panel of advisors on biodefense.

Spain is now a member of the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB), which advises the HHS secretary on “preventing, preparing for, and responding to adverse health effects of public health emergencies,” and has helped improve federal policies and practices in this area, according to the HHS website.

Spain joined Draper’s bioengineering center at the University of South Florida (USF, Tampa) in 2011, and works on projects in infectious diseases, immunology, and medical countermeasures for the U.S. government. Her previous positions included associate director for the Florida Center of Excellence for Biomedical Identification and Targeted Therapeutics at USF, technical director for the Pinellas County (FL) utilities’ microbiology laboratory and principal biochemist for Constellation Technology’s biodefense programs.

Spain holds a PhD in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University (New Haven, CT) and a bachelors degree in biology from the University of Hawaii. She is a member of the National Defense Industry Association’s Women in Defense organization, the American Society for Microbiology, and the American Water Works Association, where she is a member of the biological contaminants committee’s Florida section.

“Dr Spain’s appointment to the NBSB exemplifies the mission of Draper Laboratory to serve in the nation’s interest through the dedicated work of our diverse and talented staff. Her role in advising the HHS secretary continues Draper’s long history of public service,” said Jim Shields, Draper president.

Best and brightest students compete at Honda Campus All-Star Challenge

Torrance, CA – The Bulldogs of Fisk University (Nashville, TN) won the national title at the annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) National Championship Tournament, held in April at American Honda Motor Co, Inc in Torrance, CA.

The event is an academic quiz-style competition among teams from America’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Sponsored by American Honda since 1989, HCASC is entering its twenty-fifth year. Quiz topics include science and technology.

For its efforts, the Fisk team earned a grant of $50,000 dollars for their institution.

The Fisk team was led by captain Victor Bradley, with players Matthew Barthwell, Anthony Franklin and Anna Wilkins. Dr Stafford Cargill coached the team to their first-ever victory. Bradley was also named an All-Star for leading his division in points scored per game. That honor awards an additional $1,000 grant to Fisk. Former two-time national champion Oakwood University earned a $25,000 institutional grant as the runner-up. In all, more than $325,000 in grants were awarded to the seventy-six HBCUs who competed this year.

“The Honda Campus All-Star Challenge rewards the best and brightest for their academic achievements and prepares our student competitors for life beyond school by reinforcing their strong work ethic and introducing them to a thriving community of alumni,” said Steve Morikawa, assistant vice president, corporate and community relations at American Honda Motor Co, Inc.

U of Puerto Rico team wins NASA Rover competition

Huntsville, AL – The University of Puerto Rico at Humacao Team 2 won the top prize in the college division at the first NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge, held in April at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Organized by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville and building on two decades of competitive student innovation in the NASA Great Moonbuggy Race, the new event challenged students from seventy high school, college and university teams from nineteen U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Germany, India, Mexico and Russia.

The teams design, assemble and race lightweight, human-powered roving vehicles, solving technical problems along the way just like NASA engineers must do.

The NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge is sponsored by the Human Exploration and Operations Mission directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, and organized by the Marshall Center’s academic affairs office. Major corporate sponsors for the race are Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Jacobs Engineering ESSSA Group and Northrop Grumman.


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