Written by Capt. Lucinda Cunningham and Chief Warrant Officer Cory Jones
The U.S. Coast Guard was “At the Intersection of America’s Future” at this year’s 33rd annual Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Global Competitive Conference. The conference brought together 12,000 STEM professionals from across the nation to Washington, D.C., Feb. 7-9, 2019.
The event is held to inspire young Americans to pursue an engineering education and to recognize the achievements of senior military leaders within the STEM professions. BEYA is one of the nation’s largest events honoring the contributions and achievements of African- American admirals, generals, members of the Senior Executive Service, as well as academic and private industry leaders.
Adm. Karl Schultz had the distinct honor of kicking off the 8th Annual Stars and Stripes Youth Flag Mentoring Event that included over 160 active duty flag officers, and Senior Executive Service (SES) leaders who volunteered to mentor over 500 high school students and encourage STEM education. The youth mentoring continues year-round with the Sustained Mentoring Program.
This year’s award recipients included: Rear Adm. Erica Schwartz, Service Military Award Winner, SES; Albert Curry, Jr., Senior Executive Service Award Winner; Chief Petty Officer Malia Chasteen, Senior Enlisted Award Winner; Cmdr. Royce James, Ph.D., Professional Achievement Award, presented during the 2019 BEYA STEM Awards Gala; Lt. Allice Gholson, Modern-Day Technology Award.
The BEYA STEM Student Leadership Awards Ceremony & Dinner presented U.S. Coast Guard Academy winners: First Class Cadet Nicholas Woolfolk, BEYA Student Community Award; Second Class Cadet Angelou Dunton, BEYA Student-Athlete Award; and Third Class Cadet Maylis Yepez, BEYA Student Military Leadership Award.
U.S. Coast Guard Officer Trainee Camarie Rogers, CSPI Student attending Hampton University, won the GEM Student Leadership Award during the Historically Black Colleges & Universities Engineering Deans Power Breakfast & Award Ceremony.
This year’s Conference allowed the Coast Guard to showcase our engineering STEM talent during seminars focused on partnering with, and developing major institutions, as well as Coast Guard engineering careers and scholarships.
Rear Adm. William Kelly, keynote panelist for the “fireside chat”, focused on lessons in leadership, while Coast Guard civilian personnel and recruiting command partnered for an onsite career fair.
There isn’t a corner of technology or engineering that the Coast Guard doesn’t touch. We use drones to study the Arctic and to catch smugglers in the Western Hemisphere. Cyber technology, vessel inspections, and the expansive infrastructure used by the Coast Guard keeps people safe.
When our cutters head first into a storm or our helicopters fly over homes in Houston, engineers are there behind the scenes working to ensure Coast Guard assets are always ready to face the challenge.
We understand that making the U.S. Coast Guard an “Employer of Choice” in part begins with attracting and retaining top STEM talent and developing partnerships across various enterprises. There is no one size answer to the Coast Guard’s complex maritime challenges, but within the service, engineers help to propel us forward to maximize readiness today and tomorrow.