NACME Engineered Stories

Engineered Stories for You

Rashod Austin

TITLE: Sr. Subsea Intervention Engineer, Chevron Corporation

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 2001

EXPERIENCE: Rashod currently works in the Deepwater exploration group in Houston, Texas. “I serve as the Marine Well Subsea Capping Stack Subject Matter Expert for Chevron. I also work as the blowout preventer completion capability lead for a newly built rig that will be working for Chevron by year-end.” says Rashod.

Rashod’s grandmother was his inspiration, “She knew I had a knack for math and science. I spent most of my time at her house taking apart radios, flashlights, and anything I could get my hands on. I’ve always had a keen interest in trying to figure out how things worked. She believed engineering was a natural fit for me and encouraged to follow that path.“

“I decided on the mechanical engineering field because it was a combination of various engineering disciplines. In high school, I took a particular interest in mechanical systems and material sciences. Not wanting to limit my options in future careers, I decided that mechanical engineering would give me an excellent engineering background and provide future career flexibility.”

“The NACME scholarship impacted my life substantially. After the passing of my mother during my junior year, I was faced with unforeseen financial burdens. The NACME scholarship covered a large portion of my college financial responsibility and I was able to complete my degree. I cannot put a price on how the scholarship helped me to become the person I am today. Earning an engineering degree from Texas A&M University is one of my greatest accomplishments. The lessons and persistence I learned during those times not only made me a better student, but also a better person.”

Rashod offers advice for future engineering students, “Make sure that you have a passion for your area of study. That passion will propel you during exciting times, but also drive you through the tough times. And apply for internships and co-ops. My internship and co-op experiences allowed me to determine what areas of engineering I loved.”

“... the (NACME) scholarship helped me to become the person I am today. Earning an engineering degree from Texas A&M University is one of my greatest accomplishments. ”
Rashod Austin
 

Candice Janell Bineyard

TITLE: Managing Director, Rolls-Royce Engine Services Oakland

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science, Industrial and Systems Engineering, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (NC A&T), 2003

EXPERIENCE: "As a plant manager, I am responsible for ensuring engine maintenance and overhaul deliveries on time to cost, quality, and schedule," says Candice. "My responsibilities also include leading a 360 person organization across three sites: Oakland, Calif., Kingsville, Texas, and Meridian, Miss."

Candice knew early on that she wanted to be an engineer. "The first report I ever wrote was on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was in the 6th grade and wrote a five page summary on becoming an industrial engineer, I was very specific. My older sister inspired me to pursue engineering. She too was an industrial engineer and through discussions with her I learned about the challenges women face in such a highly technical field. Personally, I am wired to take on a challenge and overcome it against all odds. My sister paved the way for me and showed me that a career in engineering is possible.”

Candice continues, "The NACME Scholarship,sponsored by the Ford Motor Company,meant that I was able to come up with enough tuition to attend an out-of-state institution and pursue my goal of becoming an industrial engineer. The impact was huge in that I not only received financial assistance to pursue my dream, I also had the opportunity to participate in all of the professional development and networking activities NACME sponsored."

Candice offers the following advice to students who are looking to go into an engineering field. "Pursue it with a passion. There’s so much diversity in engineering and you will find that your breadth of knowledge will grow throughout your career. I always tell students that engineering teaches you discipline and how to solve complex problems. This can be applied in any personal or professional setting. Engineering does not just set you up for a good career it also sets you up to be a good well-rounded individual.”

“ I not only received financial assistance, I also had the opportunity to participate in all of the professional development and networking activities NACME sponsored.”
Candice Janell Bineyard
 

Edwin Zayas

TITLE: Sr. Business Development Manager, BlackBerry

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 1994; Masters in Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan, 1996; Masters in Business Administration, University of South Florida, 2000

EXPERIENCE: "I manage alliances with third party application providers within the telecommunication space," explains Edwin. "Alliances include working with application providers, developers, and content providers to bring applications into BlackBerry Smartphones. For me," he states, "it's rewarding to work in such an exciting environment. I love the job I do because telecommunications is an area I'm passionate about."

"I always knew I wanted to go into engineering,” says Edwin. “In high school I loved mathematics and physics and enjoyed those classes most of all; this led to my interest in engineering as I wanted to apply math and physics to real life projects.”

“The NACME Scholarship meant a lot to me. Beyond the financial support, NACME motivated me to work harder and achieve my goals. NACME introduced me to other NACME Scholars who served as role models and mentors. They helped me overcome challenges I had while pursuing my degree. NACME also opened the door to internships at General Electric that enabled me to gain needed experience while in college and to prepare me to face the corporate world upon graduation.”

Edwin advises to others considering an engineering degree, “If you love math and science, engineering is a great degree to pursue in college. It allows you to apply science in real life scenarios which support new technologies and innovation.”

“NACME introduced me to other NACME Scholars that served as role models and mentors. They helped me to overcome any challenges I had”
Edwin Zayas
 

Stefan B. McCall

TITLE: Field Engineer, ExxonMobil

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

EXPERIENCE: As a recent hire at ExxonMobil, Stefan works as a Field Engineer on the Baton Rouge Area Projects Construction team.

“I have always had a love for mathematics, but wasn’t introduced to engineering until middle school,” says Stefan. “I decided to go into engineering after my junior year in high school when I attended the Engineering Summer Academy at the University of Arkansas. At the camp, we had the opportunity to select electrical, mechanical, or chemical engineering. I elected to go the mechanical route. It was the mechanical engineers’ job to design and build the hull for a solar-powered mechanical boat and to get the internal propeller system working. This project cemented my desire to major in mechanical engineering. I also like mechanical engineering because it allows for employment in numerous industries.

“The NACME Scholarship helped me avoid the debt that so quickly accrues in college. When I was awarded the NACME scholarship, I was instantly put in touch with a collegiate and corporate network dedicated to helping me obtain internships. Through NACME I was able to become a member of the inaugural class of the ExxonMobil Future Leaders Academy program, which led to me receiving an internship with ExxonMobil. At the end of my internship with ExxonMobil, I was offered a full-time position. It is quite easy to see the impact that NACME has had on my life.”

“Be passionate about what you’re studying. It’ll make the long nights seem worth it. Engineering is not the field to pursue solely for monetary gain. There are plenty of resources and people at your disposal to help you with your work and the class material—use them. Also, find a group of like-minded individuals who are as dedicated to success as you. It helps to have a group of people that will keep each other accountable.”

“At the end of my internship with ExxonMobil, I was offered a full-time position. It is quite easy to see the impact that NACME has had on my life.”
Stefan B. McCall
 

Anthony E. Clayvon

TITLE: President, 3E Robotics, LLC

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

EXPERIENCE: As the president of his own robotics company, Tony builds life-size humanoid robots used to demonstrate robotics and to teach engineering and software programming concepts to students in grades K-12.

Tony Clayvon can remember his first moment of inspiration. “One day my brother, Gary, called out to “show me something”. On the floor was a jumble of electronic parts and from that pile I could hear music playing. Gary had built a radio on the floor of our bedroom! He then gave me two books – a dictionary of electronics and a book on basic electricity. After that, I felt compelled to learn more. I didn't understand what engineering was all about, but started to make the link between my interests and engineering. With encouragement (and some “bugging”) from my school counselor and my father on the importance of a college education, engineering seemed, and turned out to be, the right way to go,” says Clayvon.

“The impact of my NACME Scholarship was huge. My college expenses were to be paid through a combination of scholarships, grants, and student loans. However, after registering, I was still short. I was worrying about the financial impact college was having on my family. Then one day the financial aid office called to inform me that I was awarded a NACME Scholarship that would cover my balance. I was one happy college student! My college education was paid through a financial aid “work of art”, and the NACME Scholarship proved to be a reliable source to complete the picture.”

Clayvon advises students to, “Try and match your interest with your education. For me, engineering was a natural fit and has been good for me during my career in corporate America, and now during my entrepreneurial pursuits. I'm just doing the same thing that I started to do as a kid, except now I can get paid for it!”

“My college education was paid through a financial aid “work of art”, and the NACME Scholarship proved to be a reliable source to complete the picture”
Anthony E. Clayvon
 

Craig K. Phillip

TITLE: Senior Network Engineer, AT&T

EDUCATION: Bachelor's of Science and Master's of Science from Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science in New York City majoring in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Design and Thermal Sciences

EXPERIENCE: As a network engineer Craig provisions, maintains, and troubleshoots high-bandwidth data, voice, and internet circuits between Fortune 500 firms and AT&T’s world-class MPLS internet backbone.

“I spent my formative years playing with Lego’s, reading comics, exploring, watching PBS and just being curious. It’s really this curiosity to understand the Creator’s creation that got me on the engineering path. Mechanical Engineering, specifically, was the field that would put me close to the aerospace sector which I found fascinating.“

“I was awarded a NACME scholarship during my second year in college after doing well academically. It was a godsend in that it prevented me from having to take out student loans and enabled me to concentrate more on my studies.”

Craig offers the following advice to potential engineering students, “The engineering field requires a focused student who is disciplined, persistent, resilient, and likes a challenge. The coursework involved is quite rigorous but rewarding in its culmination. I would strongly suggest to take AP courses in high school, seek out help at the first sign that a concept or procedure does not click, Most importantly, remember your sacrifices now will pay huge dividends in the future when you get that engineering diploma in your hands.”

“Furthermore, keep in mind that life is not formulaic so maintain a flexible and faith-filled view on your engineering journey by exposing yourself to the arts and serving your community.“

“The NACME Scholarship was a godsend in that it prevented me from having to take out student loans and enabled me to concentrate more on my studies.”
Craig K. Phillip
 

Valeria A. Gonzalez

TITLE: Technology Consulting Senior Analyst, Accenture

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering and a Master of Engineering in Engineering Management, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

EXPERIENCE: Working at Accenture under the Defense Logistics Agency, Valeria supports requirement gathering efforts, functional design of the systems to be delivered to the client, and serves as a contact point between the technical team and Accenture clients.

Valeria Gonzalez always knew she wanted to be an engineer, and for most of her childhood that meant being an astronaut. "I have always wanted to be in a field related to science or technology. This idea became very strong during my junior year of high school, but I did not know what type of engineering I wanted to pursue. That was decided when I first walked into the industrial engineering lab at RIT." says Gonzalez.

“I chose industrial engineering because it is a very broad engineering field and gave me the opportunity to explore different areas without having to switch majors. I believe the same is true in consulting, I decided to work for a technology consulting firm because it gave me the same flexibility.”

“I always wanted to go to college. How I was going to pay was not as clear. NACME was a much needed support system. It connected me to peers who were going through similar situations, encouraged me to connect with professionals, and allowed me to grow my network. NACME was a reason to stay connected with my peers, hear their stories, and help each other. I felt like someone was looking out for me and that gave me a sense of comfort."

She has this advice for students looking to go into an engineering field, “Engineering isn’t about how smart you are, but how much time you are willing to put on to learn and master something. Hard work does pay off; the feeling as you walk on stage at graduation is worth every effort and that is the biggest reward not only for yourself but for everyone that supported you along the way.”

“NACME was a much needed support system. It connected me to peers who were going through similar situations...”
Valeria Gonzalez
 

Tamra L. Dicus

TITLE: Chemical Engineering Patent Examiner, United States Patent and Trademark Office

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science, Tuskegee University, Chemical Engineering

EXPERIENCE: As a Chemical Engineering Patent Examiner, Tamra Dicus protects the interests and rights of the public and assists applicants in their pursuit of securing patents on their dreams.

“I have always loved chemistry and have had a natural curiosity about substances,” says Dicus. “I didn’t always desire to be an engineer simply because I didn't know enough about the profession. I felt that I had the aptitude to excel but I needed to learn more about the field of engineering. As such, I can say that it REALLY pays to talk to your peers, teachers, and professors, and seek the advice of others with experience in the area that you are considering. “

“The NACME Scholarship meant everything to me! Simply put, I wouldn’t have been able to attend Tuskegee University without the funding that I received from this scholarship. I am sincerely grateful for what NACME has meant to me and my professional life. The NACME Scholarship was the single most important factor for me being able to attend the college of my choice.”

As for Tamra’s advice to students, “Stay focused on your studies freshman year. By establishing a work ethic and emphasis on academic excellence, I was able to attain a cumulative GPA of 3.7/4.0 my freshman year, which set the tone for my remaining years at Tuskegee.”

“In closing, I am reminded of the quote from George Washington Carver, esteemed former Professor of Tuskegee Institute, ‘There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation.’ These words guided me while at Tuskegee and still serve as my lamppost in my career and life.”

“The NACME Scholarship was the single most important factor for me being able to attend the college of my choice.”
Tamra Dicus
 

Elkin Mejia

TITLE: Clinical Engineering Manager, TriMedx

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science and Master of Science, Lehigh University, Mechanical Engineering

EXPERIENCE: Elkin currently works at TriMedx were he manages a $4 million operating budget and an entire team of Biomedical Technicians who conduct, inspect, and maintain all the medical equipment for the Clinical Engineering Departments of two hospitals and six outpatient clinics.

Elkin never considered a career in engineering until his high school guidance counselor invited him to a NACME presentation. The door to his future swung open as he learned about the many career paths engineers can take. “Suddenly, all the tinkering I had done when I was younger made sense,” says Mejia. “I was attracted to mechanical engineering because I enjoyed, and still do, learning how things are designed and built.”

His connection with NACME continued at Lehigh University through a NACME Scholarship and mentoring. “My parents could not even dream of sending me to college, let alone one of the top private universities. But NACME’s support, both financial and mentoring, changed the path of my future and has been the cornerstone for me getting to where I am now. NACME not only offered financial support, but they also provided me with exceptional guidance and mentoring throughout my college years. I definitely owe a great deal to NACME and to their scholarship program.”

He recommends that students seek out mentors to decide which engineering concentration is the best fit. “Talk to NACME Alumni and find out what their day-to-day job tasks are and why they decided to study that specific type of engineering. As an engineer you can apply the skills that you develop while in school to several industries, which provides you more options for long-term career goals.”

“NACME’s support, both financial and mentoring, changed the path of my future and has been the cornerstone for me getting to where I am now”
Elkin Mejia
 

Shani Allison

TITLE: Program Management Analyst, Ford Motor Company

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science, The Pennsylvania State University, Electrical Engineering, 2001; Master of Science, University of Michigan, Engineering Management, 2010

EXPERIENCE: Shani Allison’s position has her leading cross functional teams (engineering, manufacturing, purchasing, finance, and others) that resolve vehicle level program issues on super duty truck programs, manage sourcing processes, and lead prototype builds and production launches.

“My parents inspired me to go into engineering. My father was a mechanical engineer in the nuclear industry. He introduced me to the engineering field.” She decided to major in electrical engineering because she liked the challenge of trying to see electrical current flow through parts and systems. “Not being able to see it challenged my problem solving abilities. That and the fact that I was always interested in Legos and puzzles when I was growing up!”

Shani is grateful for her NACME Scholarship. “It relieved a lot of stress by supplying financial help while in college. Also, the two summer internship experiences I got through NACME put me ahead of my peers. By having previous work experience I was able to find success quickly and transition into the workforce smoothly, which allowed me to pay it forward sooner than later.”

Shani has great hope for the future and offers this advice to students, “Engineers make a world of difference and help shape the future. Once you graduate college with an engineering degree, there are endless opportunities. Thomas Edison is credited as saying, ‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.’ I would tell them that the hard work does pay off because bold ideas are turned into reality.”

“The two summer internship experiences I got through NACME put me ahead of my peers. By having previous work experience I was able to find success quickly.”
Shani Allison
 

Folake Jeyifous

TITLE: Field Engineer, Baker Hughes

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science, Prairie View A&M University, Chemical Engineering, 2014

EXPERIENCE: Houston native Folake Jeyifous has an exciting job as a field engineer working on oil rigs, as a team of engineers obtain directional data and formation evaluation information to help companies understand what is in the well.

She started college as a biomedical engineering major and later learned about the other engineering disciplines by interacting with her peers and through classes. “Chemical engineering caught my attention. I especially liked the possibilities that are within the oil and gas fields because of how much goes into attaining those resources. This led me to change my major from biomedical engineering to chemical engineering”

“My advice to students who are considering a STEM field or engineering is; stay driven, stay focused. The sky really is the limit. You may come up against some obstacles, but you are never alone as an engineer.”

Folake is thankful for her NACME Scholarship. While it helped her achieve her ultimate goal of achieving her engineering degree, “it also let me know that I was doing my very best. You didn’t just get the scholarship. It had to be earned and you had to be selected for it.”

Folake also has very high hopes for her future. “One day, I’d like to open a community center to teach inner city youth about engineering and the other STEM disciplines. In college I would visit kids and a lot of them didn’t even know what an engineer is or does. I would like to help change that and open up kids’ minds.”

“It (the NACME Scholarship) also let me know that I was doing my very best. You didn’t just get the scholarship. It had to be earned and you had to be selected for it.”
Folake Jeyifous
 

Bill Shelmon, Jr.

TITLE: General Manager of Vehicle Performance Development, Toyota

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, from Tennessee Technological University; MBA, Wayne State University

EXPERIENCE: Bill Shelmon did not know he wanted to become an engineer when he was in school. He only knew that he had a passion for math and science. It wasn’t until his father and his high school guidance counselor suggested engineering as a career path that he learned what it is engineers do. “I did not grow up with any immediate family members who were engineers, nor had engineers as role models. My father was a production manufacturer, so he was familiar with engineers and the work they do and he thought this would be a great fit for me.”

Now as a mechanical engineer with a degree from Tennessee Technological University, he works for Toyota as the general manager of vehicle performance development, and ensures that vehicles are equipped with the latest features that are in demand by the market, and that all of the components function cohesively. “We have to find the right balance between what the market wants and the functionality of the automobile. There are many aspects to consider when putting together the new design of a vehicle.”

“The advice I would give young students today is; get a solid foundation in math and science. Don’t shy away from the math and science courses. They help you develop the critical thinking necessary to do well in engineering. The other thing is as you pursue engineering; make sure you have the determination and the passion for it. You will encounter difficulties along the way and if you do not have the determination, it will become too easy to give up.”

“The NACME Scholarship meant that I did not have to worry about paying for college. It helped me concentrate on the important things rather than having to figure out how to cover paying my expenses.”
Bill Shelmon
 

Gavin Guy

TITLE: Design Engineer, NASA, Johnson Space Center

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science, University of Houston, Electrical Engineering, 2014

EXPERIENCE: Gavin Guy has transformed what started out as curiosity initiated by a Lego set he received from his mother, into a career. "The Legos definitely peaked my interest in the problem solving aspects of engineering; I always had a vision of something I wanted to build and would spend hours trying to figure out the right pieces I needed to make things come together." The recent University of Houston grad started working at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in July as a design engineer, where some of his responsibilities include assisting with development of design concepts, layouts, schematics, and interfaces. He completed a year-long Co-op with NASA prior to being hired as a full-time employee.

While in school, Gavin was in the PROMES program at the University of Houston. It is there that he first came learn about the NACME Scholarship. “I got to know a lot of the NACME Scholars through this program. They were great mentors for me. The scholarship helped a lot with paying tuition, but what helped the most was being surrounded by the NACME Scholars,” says Gavin. “It was helpful to see other students work towards achieving goals similar to my own.”

As for advice for young students considering a STEM education and career, Gavin says the most important thing is perseverance. “Early on, there are parts that may seem tough but you need to stick it out. Find successful people and ask them questions…find out how they succeeded. Ask for feedback along the way, use this advice and don’t be afraid to work hard.”

“Find successful people and ask them questions…find out how they succeeded. Ask for feedback along the way, use this advice and don’t be afraid to work hard.”
Guy Gavin
 

Ahmad Ibn Qaadir Shaheed

TITLE: Project Manager, Enterprise Products.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston; MBA, University of Houston

EXPERIENCE: Ahmad Ibn Qaadir Shaheed is a project manager for Enterprise Products—a major natural gas and crude oil pipeline company—is responsible for building and maintaining the infrastructure that allows the company to transport products to and from various locations.

Shaheed earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Houston, thanks in part to the scholarship support he received from NACME. “I initially came to Houston with the intent of getting my degree and going to work for NASA, but that changed.” In addition to the scholarship he received from NACME, Shaheed also got his first internship through NACME after his sophomore year at AMOCO (the company merged with BP in 1998). “The internship put me on to the energy industry. I liked it so much I have been in the energy industry since then.”

In addition to the new direction, Shaheed said that NACME’s support provided him with financial freedom during his college years. “When I finished school, I didn’t have student loans… I am thankful that NACME existed and gave me a chance. I loved that there were people out there, who I did not know, who were interested in seeing me graduate.”

“My advice to young kids is this, ‘a STEM career is the best way for you to find a job that will give you the comfort of living your dreams…and will allow you to give back to the community. These are careers in which you can impact the world on a much bigger level.’”

“I am thankful that NACME existed and gave me a chance. I loved that there were people out there, who I did not know, who were interested in seeing me graduate.”
Ahmad Ibn Qaadir Shaheed
 

Aaron Henry

TITLE: Systems Engineer, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems

EDUCATION: Bachelors of Science, Electrical Engineering, Drexel University, Masters of Science, Technical Management, Johns Hopkins University

EXPERIENCE: Aaron Henry wasn’t sure what he would be until his senior year in high school. He always earned good grades and possessed great communication, interpersonal, and analytical skills applicable to many career fields. During his senior year in high school, he narrowed his career options to three possibilities; lawyer, architect, or engineer. Then he attended a summer camp at Penn State University, “that sold me on becoming an engineer.”

During this summer camp, Henry got to attend classes and work on projects, just as entering freshmen would do. “I enjoyed working on the challenging projects where we would have to apply math and science in solving problems in team environments. This was my very first exposure to engineering and I was hooked from the start.”

“My family was not financially positioned to put me through college, so I was determined to find a scholarship,” said Henry.

“NACME has provided me with invaluable support throughout my college years at Drexel University,” Henry said. “I was truly honored and blessed to have been given the financial support to attend the university of my choice.” Henry also said that in addition to the financial support, he is thankful for the mentoring and coaching he received from the NACME staff. “The NACME staff was my home away from home, my extended family, giving me the added strength and courage to believe in myself and push harder to achieve my life goals which I will never forget.”

“NACME provided me with invaluable support … I was truly honored and blessed to have been given the financial support to attend the university of my choice.”
Aaron Henry
 

Eysha Shirrine Powers

TITLE: Cryptographic Software Developer, IBM, Poughkeepsie, NY.

EDUCATION: B.S., Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.

EXPERIENCE: Eysha Shirrine Powers, a NACME Alumna works for IBM in the System z Crypto & Security division. For the last 10 years, she has been responsible for mainframe cryptography and security, developing software products to protect sensitive data.

Powers knew that she was destined to go into the STEM fields, and did not let much deter her from achieving her dreams. “If you have a real passion for these fields, you shouldn’t let anything stop you. You should never feel ashamed or embarrassed that you are good at math or science. I have always been into math and science. I have always been proud to be a geek,” she said. “When I started college, I was part of the Women in Math, Science, and Engineering program. Sadly, by the end of the first year, I noticed a lot of people dropped out because of how challenging the work was.” Powers said she also felt the pressure of the coursework, but rather than give up, she changed her entire approach. “I had to ask for help and sought out tutoring. This was really different for me. I never needed help to understand the material in high school, but in college, it was a different situation.” It was a struggle, but her hard work paid off.

“For me, the NACME Scholarship was such a blessing. I came from a low-income home as my mom tried to raise three kids and go to school to become a nurse. There was no way I could have afforded college tuition on my own. My schooling was pretty much paid for through scholarships like this one. Getting support from NACME and other organizations like it was a big encouragement. It meant people out there believed in me and that was a big deal.”

“If you have a real passion for these fields, you shouldn’t let anything stop you. You should never feel ashamed or embarrassed that you are good at math or science.”
Eysha Shirrine Powers
 

Erick Jones, Ph.D.

TITLE: Associate Professor, Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Director RAID (Radio Frequency & Auto-ID Deployment), Program Director, Alfred P. Sloan Legacy MPHD Program, University of Texas at Arlington.

EDUCATION: B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, 1996; M.S., Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 1998; Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2004.

EXPERIENCE: Dr. Jones is uncovering fresh uses for and advancing existing applications for radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. Some of the research focuses on improving manufacturing processes and improving traffic congestion; other investigations could easily have walked off the pages of the science fiction books that Dr. Jones loves to read. “I’m working with NASA to see if we can monitor brain wave patterns to determine if a person has adequate focus for important tasks such as driving a train or car. If not, we can then send messages to their phone to say, ‘pay attention,’ or ‘wake up.’” Taking an ingestible pill may one day help doctors monitor drug adherence and intake, while an RFID-based patch could help reduce the spread of TB and monitor active cases.

Industrial engineering appealed to him for many reasons. Chief among them is the fact that it requires you to do better each day and to improve upon what was built before. With NACME’s support, Jones was able to focus on his studies and to pay for the calculators and computer “that allowed me to be competitive in my classes.” His appreciation and affection for NACME is palpable. “Whenever NACME calls, I’m there,” he says.

With NACME’s support, Jones was able to focus on his studies, “that allowed me to be competitive in my classes. Whenever NACME calls, I’m there,” he says.
Erick Jones, Ph.D.
 

Sandra Begay-Campbell

TITLE: Principal Member of the Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM.

EDUCATION: B.S., Civil Engineering, University of New Mexico 1987; M.S., Structural Engineering, Stanford University, 1991.

EXPERIENCE: Sandra Begay-Campbell, a member of the Navajo Nation, leads Sandia’s Tribal Energy program providing technical assistance to Native American tribes pursuing renewable energy developments. “My role is to work with and help native people think through their sustainable energy options and find the best solution for their needs,” she says. Her natural problem- solving skills, love of math, and drive to use those talents to improve lives led Begay-Campbell to engineering. And with NACME’s financial support, she was able to focus on her undergraduate studies.

Begay-Campbell is proud of the many prestigious awards she’s received, including the American Indian Science and Engineering Society’s (AISES) Lifetime Achievement Award. She’s equally proud of the Department of Energy (DOE)-supported summer internship program that she founded in 2002. The program offers Native American college and graduate students the chance to participate in technical projects that support the Tribal Energy Program. “For minority engineering students, role models, mentors, and programs like NACME and The National GEM Consortium are absolutely necessary,” she says emphatically. She echoed those words at the DOE Congressional Forum on Minorities in Energy held in Washington, D.C., on November, 19, 2013, telling the audience that to succeed and excel in engineering, minority students still need the financial and academic support that NACME and organizations like it provide.

"For minority engineering students, role models, mentors, and programs like NACME and The National GEM Consortium are absolutely necessary"
Sandra Begay-Campbell
 

Griselda Bonilla, Ph.D.

TITLE: Manager, Materials and Reliability Sciences Group, IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY.

EDUCATION: B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, 1996; M.S., Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 1998; Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2004.

EXPERIENCE: Until she went to college, Griselda Bonilla couldn’t afford a computer of her own. Now, she heads up a team whose primary focus is researching and evaluating the potential, durability, and reliability of novel materials for the next generation of computer chips. Since joining IBM 10 years ago, Bonilla and her colleagues have facilitated solutions for three generations of computer chips and additional technologies built into IBM’s high-end, high volume servers used by banking and other industries, as well as game processors. “We’re breaking the frontiers of science and tech, building devices, wires, and chips with billions of transistors and working at scales that are very small,” she says.

For Bonilla, breaking barriers is familiar terrain. She was the first in her family to graduate from college, an achievement that she says she “could not have accomplished without the support of NACME and other scholarships.” In 2006, her Ph.D. dissertation was awarded “Best Ph.D. in Particle Technology” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Working at IBM in a field she loves “inspires and challenges me every day,” she says. And she’s about to welcome another challenge. Her first child, a girl, is due at the end of March. Bonilla wouldn’t mind having another engineer in the family.

She was the first in her family to graduate from college, an achievement that she says she “could not have accomplished without the support of NACME
Griselda Bonilla
 

Raymond C. Dempsey, Jr.

TITLE: Vice President, External Affairs, BP America Inc., Washington, D.C.

EDUCATION: B.S., Industrial Engineering, Kansas State University, 1990; MBA, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 2001.

EXPERIENCE: Growing up in a small Kansas town, Ray Dempsey, Jr. didn’t know any engineers. It wasn’t until his high school math scores attracted the attention of engineering colleges that engineering as a career first appeared on his radar. After researching the profession, Dempsey opted for industrial engineering, swayed by its wide-ranging curriculum. The breadth of his engineering education has served him well since he joined BP (then Amoco) in 1990. For more than 20 years, he’s held an array of positions from design engineering and operations, to financial and strategic roles, and earned an MBA along the way. That broad background, along with his knowledge of the company and the industry “contributed to my being tasked with representing my company in three Congressional hearings as we worked through the oil spill in the Gulf Coast,” says Dempsey. “While it was a very challenging time for BP—and for me—I’m very proud of the way that we responded, and that we remain committed to meeting our responsibilities to the Gulf Coast.”

He’s also remains committed to NACME. “Their financial support made a difference in my ability to stay focused on my studies and to complete my education. That was true for me 25 years ago—it must be even more true for the NACME Scholars of today,” he says.

“As a NACME Scholar and beneficiary, as well as a NACME Board Liaison, I understand the need and the challenge we face to shape an engineering workforce that looks like America.”
Raymond C. Dempsey
 

Kathleen D. Sanchez

MAJOR: Biomedical Engineering

INSTITUTION: Syracuse University

ACADEMIC LEVEL: B.S. Candidate, Class of 2014

EXPERIENCE: When she was a junior in high school, Sanchez and a few classmates created a marketing plan to launch and produce a fake cancer drug they’d developed. Sponsored by Novartis, the project set her on her future path. She was hooked on the intricate process of drug development and production. “Pursuing Biomedical Engineering is the best decision I ever made,” she says.

GOALS: Last summer, with help from NACME, Sanchez secured an internship at Merck & Co., Inc., where she won an award of excellence for her skill in facilitating efficient interdepartmental communication and streamlining sterilization procedures. Her talents and tenacity made a big impression on the company. Merck invited her to return for the summer of 2013. Sanchez is on her way to accomplishing her goal to improve drug development and production systems.

"My goal is to work in clinical research to develop better drugs and drug delivery systems while reducing production costs."
Kathleen Sanchez
 

Hunter Brown

MAJOR: Civil and Environmental Engineering

INSTITUTION: University of Washington

ACADEMIC LEVEL: B.S. Candidate, Class of 2014

EXPERIENCE: At 32, Hunter Brown, a member of the Kenaitze tribe from Kenai, Alaska, is 10 years older than most of his classmates. In that decade, he started a business (still going strong) and spent time in Washington, D.C., working as a legislative aide in Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-Wa.) office. When he heard that Dan Evans, former governor of Washington, started out as a civil engineer, his interest was piqued. “I decided to get into Civil and Environmental Engineering because I wanted to help enact social and environmental change on a big level,” he says. With financial support from NACME, Brown was able to attend the University of Washington. “It’s my biggest accomplishment to date,” he says.

GOALS: Brown aspires to build greener cities using sustainable materials, practices and designs “to build our cities to account for everyone’s needs rather than for the needs of a select group.” Ultimately, he wants to work in the public sector. For that, he’ll turn to NACME’s website where scholars can connect with donor corporations. “That’s another huge benefit of NACME,” he says.

"Civil engineers have a huge impact on society. I want to be in a position to bring equality to bear on urban and municipal planning."
Hunter Brown
 

Steven M. Santana

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering

INSTITUTION: Cornell University

ACADEMIC LEVEL: Ph.D. Candidate, Class of 2014

EXPERIENCE: How do you “interrogate” a cancer cell? First, you have to capture it. That’s no easy task. Steven Santana is on the case. Working with a renowned research team at Cornell, he is constructing microfluidic devices that capture circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients. These CTCs are studied— interrogated—to better understand the biology of metastasis and assess how tumor cells respond to different chemotherapeutic agents. Santana’s vital role in this research wouldn’t have been possible without his Alfred P. Sloan Minority Ph.D. Graduate Scholarship. “I would not be a graduate student,” he says. “And I wouldn’t have the financial freedom to focus exclusively on study, research and collaboration.”

GOALS: In between college and grad school, Santana earned a master’s degree in education and taught math in inner city schools in Los Angeles. He remains “very concerned with education and social justice.” After completing his Ph.D., he plans to continue his research in microfluidics and cancer while teaching at a college level. He hopes to engage and encourage students trained in science and engineering to take their expertise into public schools to inspire and teach the next generation of engineers.

"It is my hope that these technologies advance our understanding of how cancer metastasizes and will help researchers and clinicians inprove patient outcomes."
Steven Santana
 

Christopher T. Jones, Ph.D.

TITLE: President Northrop Grumman Technical Services.

ACADEMIC DEGREES: Georgia Institute of Technology, B.S., Aerospace Engineering; University of Dayton, M.S., Aerospace Engineering, and Engineering Management; and University of Maryland, Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering; NACME Alumnus

EXPERIENCE: Some kids dream of flying planes. Dr. Jones always knew he wanted to design and build the airplanes. A degree in aerospace engineering gave him the opportunity to pursue that passion. The kid who started out building aircraft models graduated to designing sophisticated military aircraft and missile systems, and overseeing support personnel based around the world. Along the way he served in the Air Force, earned two masters degrees and a Ph.D.

GOALS: “NACME was a key part of the scholarships that paid for my undergraduate degree,” says Dr. Jones. And now as a member of NACME’s Board of Directors, he’s helping the organization in its mission to increase minority representation in engineering. “It’s a full-circle moment,” he says.


"Engineering is boot camp for the brain. It gets your brain in shape, teaches you how to think and how to learn."
Christopher Jones
 

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