NACME Press Releases

Johnson Austin Named Penn State Outstanding Engineering Alumna

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                   Contact: Brit Byrnes
Friday, April 3, 2015                                                                                                                                  (914) 539-4010, ext. 243

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Johnson Austin Named Penn State Outstanding Engineering Alumna

White Plains. N.Y. - -The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME) is pleased to announce that Saundra Johnson Austin, Senior Vice President for Operations at NACME, has been named an Outstanding Engineering Alumna by The Pennsylvania State University College of Engineering. Ms. Johnson Austin earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Penn State in 1986.

Since it was established in 1966, the Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award has recognized graduates who have reached exceptional levels of professional achievement and is the highest honor bestowed by the College of Engineering.

Ms. Johnson Austin will receive her award, along with 11 other recipients, at a ceremony on April 14 at the Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State’s University Park campus. “I am honored and grateful to be recognized as an Outstanding Engineering Alumna,” says Ms. Johnson Austin.  “My years at Penn State, both as a student and a faculty member, have been cornerstones in my career. I have also known and admired many of the other alumna who have received this award over the years, which only adds to my appreciation.” 

She began her career at Bechtel Power Corporation in Gaithersburg, Maryland, where she worked in project controls, estimating, and business development.

In 1994, she became director of the Minority Engineering Program in the College of Engineering at Penn State. In 1998, she was recognized with the National Society of Black Engineers’ Golden Torch Award for Minority Engineering Program Director of the Year and the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA) Outstanding Contribution by a Minority Engineering Program Administrator Award.

Johnson Austin left Penn State in 2000 to become head of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science at the University of Notre Dame.    
In 2005, she was named executive vice president of the Community Partnership for Lifelong Learning in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Later she served as the first president and CEO of St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from 2008-2010.

She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s Executive MBA Program.

In her current role at NACME, she supports the president and CEO on key organizational and strategic direction and is responsible for the execution of programs, research, communications, and engineering public policy. She currently resides in White Plains, New York.

Saundra Johnson Austin112


 About NACME: Since its inception in 1974, NACME has stayed true to its mission: To ensure American competitiveness in a flat world by leading and supporting the national effort to expand U.S. capability through increasing the number of successful African American, American Indian, and Latino young women and men in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.

NACME Alumni hold leadership positions in industry, medicine, law, education, and government. With funding from corporate, foundation, and individual donors, NACME has supported more than 24,000 students with more than $142 million in scholarships and support, and currently has more than 1,300 scholars at 51 partner institutions across the country. NACME is also implementing a middle school through community college strategy to increase the proportion of underrepresented minority students in STEM disciplines.