Meet Our Awardees

STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Stars Illustration

This award recognizes outstanding STEM education and outreach efforts that help to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders while furthering the mission of the Department of Defense

AEF Award Icon (sml)Albert Einstein Fellowship pThe Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to serve in the national education arena.
DoD SMART SEED Grant Icon (sml)DoD SMART SEED Grant pThe SEED program competitively awards research grants up to $100K per year for up to a maximum of three years to help support promising SMART scholars establish a foundational research / engineering effort in their area of expertise as they transition from the pursuit of their Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) to an active Department of Defense (DoD) professional.
DoDDoD STEM Ambassador pThe DoD STEM Ambassador Program recognizes outstanding educators and promotes STEM learning across the nation.
SMART Scholar & Mentor of the Year Icon (sml)SMART Scholar & Mentor of the Year pThis award recognizes SMART scholar and mentor pairs who demonstrate exemplary achievements during the pursuit of their SMART-sponsored degree.
STEM Advocate of the Quarter Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter pThis award recognizes outstanding STEM education and outreach efforts that help to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders while furthering the mission of the Department of Defense.

AWARD TYPE

Albert Einstein Fellowship

DoD STEM Ambassador

SMART Scholar & Mentor of the Year

STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Elizabeth “Libby” Hite
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Elizabeth “Libby” Hite

STEM Outreach Program Manager
U.S. Navy, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Elizabeth “Libby” Hite manages the STEM Outreach Program at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS) engaging students throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Libby brings with her 16 years of experience managing local, state, and national grant programs. As a proud AmeriCorps alum and former staff member at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), Libby has put her time and energy into her volunteer efforts serving on various nonprofit boards and leveraging the power of volunteerism in the community. She currently oversees the efforts of more than 300 volunteers through the PNS STEM Outreach Program. In 2021, the STEM Outreach Program reached approximately 14,000 students, teachers and parents in collaboration with 134 community partners. The STEM Outreach Program harnesses Libby’s passion for inspiring and engaging the next generation of the STEM workforce, in particular girls and young women exploring STEM fields. In addition to program oversight, Libby personally participates in numerous STEM Outreach initiatives such as: speaking to students at career fairs and expos, facilitating STEM-in-a-Box workshops for elementary aged students, assisting SeaPerch remotely operated vehicle (ROV) builds, and coordinating large-scale STEM Pop Up events at area high schools at the 2021 Thunder Over New Hampshire Airshow.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Yolanda Tanner
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Yolanda Tanner

Coming Soon

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Kelly Thompson
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Kelly Thompson

Co-Director
STENaval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic

Ms. Kelly Thompson is Co-Director for the STEM Outreach Program at the Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic (NIWC Atlantic), where she has been employed since 2008. Ms. Thompson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from the College of Charleston in 1995, followed by a Master of Arts in Computer Resources Information Management from Webster University in 1999. Over her professional career, Ms. Thompson has specialized in a variety of STEM fields including as a financial analyst for multi-million dollar projects, a graphic designer and interface architect for a software design firm, as well as working as the Project Manager for a variety of technical projects related to health systems. While working for NIWC Atlantic, Ms. Thompson was introduced to the STEM Outreach Program and realized her passion for working with students, educating them about their opportunities in STEM. This passion led her to her current position, which has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating a successful program revamp to incorporate virtual learning into the STEM Outreach Program. In addition to Program oversight, Ms. Thompson personally participates in numerous STEM Outreach initiatives such as speaking to students at Career Fairs and expos, mentoring local elementary school FIRST Lego League teams, and teaching at the NIWC Atlantic annual Cyber Security Summer Camp. She earned the 2015 SSC Atlantic STEM Outreach of the Year award, the 2018 Joint Base Charleston STEM Award, and the 2021 DoD STEM Advocate of the Quarter for Quarter 4. Ms. Thompson resides in Summerville, SC with her husband Stephen and their two dogs Cody and Elloree.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Tonya Hamann
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Tonya Hamann

Co-Director
Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic

Ms. Tonya Hamann is Co-Director of the STEM Outreach Program at the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic. Beginning as a contractor nearly 30 years ago, Ms. Hamann today is NIWC Atlantic’s Robotics Lead, coordinating team grants, recruiting and training mentors for over 100 teams annually, and planning Robotics Program kickoffs statewide. She also oversees internships, cybersecurity camps and job shadow programs as well as other event support, including career fairs. Ms. Hamann works closely with local school districts, collaborative partners and federal organizations to promote STEM outreach in the community.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Erica Borgers Klonkowski
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Erica Borgers Klonkowski

Biochemist
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD)

Ms. Borgers Klonkowski is a PhD Candidate at George Mason University, where she is working towards her Doctorate in Biochemistry, following on to her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology. She has just over 10 years of chemistry/biochemistry experience in the government. She has been with the Navy since 2011 and is currently a Lead Scientist in the Concepts and Experimentation Branch in the Electromagnetic & Sensor Systems department. Ms. Borgers Klonkowski strives to improve the decontamination of surfaces in which Navy and Marine Corps service men and women are in constant contact. She has been most recently involved in virus decontamination research that the Navy is using to combat the coronavirus responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic. She is also working to mimic enzymatic biochemical processes with machinery to provide novel biological sensors for the Navy Fleet forces. Ms. Borgers Klonkowski has also been involved in preparing to release online science demonstrations and explanations in 2022 on the YouTube platform. Ms. Borgers Klonkowski has been active in STEM outreach in schools, at work, and online since 1995.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Wayne Jordheim
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Mr. Wayne Jordheim

Non-Traditional Programs Office Engineering Lead
Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Keyport (NUWCD Keyport)

Mr. Wayne Jordheim has 33 years of technical and managerial experience across many of the technical areas at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Keyport (NUWCD Keyport). He is currently the Non-Traditional Programs Office engineering lead, managing Navy, Office of Secretary of Defense and Joint Services station-wide rapid fielding projects and proposals and assisting engineering professionals of each branch guide their training and tool set development. Mr. Jordheim works closely with Office of Naval Intelligence, National Security Agency, and multiple other entities in academia and the Intelligence Community to solve technical problems and develop new capabilities. He is currently leading several efforts within the Foreign Material Exploitation community to use Keyport technical expertise to assist in developing, manufacturing, and logistical support of engineering solutions specifically for Navy Intelligence work. As a previous engineering manager, he directly supervised the Mechanical/Electronic Engineering Applied Technology Branch at NUWCD Keyport, overseeing engineers in various rapid prototyping and fabrication projects with disciplines that included cable and circuit board design and manufacture, solid state gyro design/development/manufacture, metal trades manufacturing, and additive manufacturing and repair. This position involved recruiting, hiring, and mentoring over 100 engineers in direct hire and intern positions, including supporting intern rotations within the organization.

Examples of how Mr. Jordheim is inspiring and cultivating the next generation of STEM leaders, include:

  • Founding member of SeaPerch, Remotely Operated Vehicle High School Challenge activities where U.S. Navy civilian employees from NUWCD Keyport, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, and Naval Submarine Base Bangor mentor students in Grades 6-12 on the construction and testing of underwater vehicles.
  • Chairman of the North Kitsap Career and Technical Education engineering advisory committee and works closely with the engineering faculty of North Kitsap High School district in Washington State throughout the school year for curriculum development and student projects.
  • Co-founded a For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics team at Central Kitsap High School (Team 3223) 11 years ago and still an active member.
  • Sponsor of multiple Engineering Senior Design project teams at Washington State University, Olympic College campus in Bremerton, WA. For the past 5 years worked with faculty and students to define the project, scope the project to something that can be accomplished in the limited time the students have, and proving technical direction and engineering mentorship during the school year.
  • Multi-year mentor and sponsor of Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC) projects for university undergraduate engineers to participate in Navy sponsored design projects.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Tim Meiedzinksi
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Tim Meiedzinksi

Engineering Team Lead, Mechanical Instrumentation Branch
Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD)

Mr. Miedzinski is the engineering team lead for the Mechanical Instrumentation Branch at Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD). He leads a team mechanical engineers through project initiation, design, analysis, fabrication and installation of various instrumentation suites on naval aircraft. In addition, he develops training and growth potential for the organization. This is where his mentoring with growingSTEMS and The RoboBees shows in the workplace. Mr. Miedzinski currently serves as a board member of growingSTEMS and the lead robot mentor for the high school robotics team (The RoboBees).

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Adam Wechsler
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Adam Wechsler

Philadelphia SeaGlide Team – Data Scientist
Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD)

Adam Wechsler is a data scientist for the Machinery Research & Silencing Division at Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD). His focus is on predictive analytics for condition-based maintenance, but often performs data analyses for teams throughout the organization. He has served in this position since 2017. Prior to this Mr. Wechsler had earned a bachelor’s degree in Statistics from University of Florida and a master’s degree in Math Education from Florida International University and had worked as a high school math teacher for 16 years. He began his work for NSWCPD after earning a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Florida International University.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Kyle Verrinder
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Kyle Verrinder

Philadelphia SeaGlide Team – Mechanical Engineer
Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD)

Mr. Kyle Verrinder is a Mechanical Engineer working on turbomachinery dynamics and fluid mechanics research and development in the Advanced Machinery Integration Branch at Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD). He currently manages and operates the Advanced Fan Test Facility (AFTF) supporting research, design, testing, and engineering (RDT&E) of current and future turbomachinery concepts and auxiliary subsystems such as advanced fan systems, flow control for turbomachinery systems, air flow measurement and visualization, and psychrometric monitoring. Kyle has been a member of the NAVSEA civilian engineering workforce since 2009. He began his career at NAVSEA headquarters in the Marine Engineering Directorate, NAVSEA 05Z. While on this assignment, Kyle supported various in-service, new construction, and R&D projects across the directorate. In 2012, Kyle transferred to Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division, where he began working in the Power Transmission Branch as the In-Service Engineering Agent for Rudder Equipment, where he managed equipment installations, maintenance, repairs, and sustainment projects for the rudder systems on all classes of surface ships. In 2016, Kyle began working in the Advanced Data Acquisition Prototyping Technologies and Virtual Environments (ADAPT.VE) Laboratory in the Advanced Machinery Integration Branch, focusing on projects related to leaser metrology and reverse engineering for obsolete parts. Kyle began working part-time with the AFTF during his time in the ADAPT.VE lab, and in 2017 transferred fully to support the work in the Advanced Fan Test Facility. Kyle holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from The Pennsylvania State University, focusing studies on Machine Design and Dynamics. Kyle plans to pursue a Master’s of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering to gain further technical knowledge to support his work with turbomachinery flow and fluid dynamics.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Dr. Gregory Anderson
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Dr. Gregory Anderson

Philadelphia SeaGlide Team – Mechanical Engineer
Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD))

Dr. Anderson is currently assigned to the Strategic Cyber-Physical Initiatives Lab at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD). He has been with NSWCPD since 2000; he received B.S. degrees in both Mechanical and Fire Protection Engineering in 1995, a M.S. in Fire Protection Engineering in 1996, and a Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2008, all from the University of Maryland, College Park. In his time with NSWC, he has worked on a wide variety of projects, including thermal management of power electronics, investigating accelerated wear in marine diesel engine crankshaft bearings, and testing particle fracture in packed beds subjected to shock loading, as well as many others. As part of the SCPI group, he has assisted in teaching several sessions of the Iron Chef course, a three-day introduction to the basic concepts of cyberphysical security, which consists of two days of lectures and a one-day hands-on exercise He has been involved in multiple community and STEM outreach efforts. From 2014 to 2019 he served as the Technical Papers Committee Chair for the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Advanced Machinery Technology Symposium (AMTS) and the ASNE Intelligent Ships Symposium (ISS). In 2019, he joined the SeaGlide team and delivered the Arduino training class for the 2019-2020 season. In 2020, he served as a robot inspector for the FIRST Robotics Competition, before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic In 2018, he begin teaching Computational Fluid Dynamics as an adjunct professor in the Mechanical Engineering department at Villanova University, and in 2020 he developed a brand new Additive Manufacturing graduate course for Villanova.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Tiffany Owens
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Tiffany Owens

Lead System Safety Engineer for the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)
Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD)

Tiffany Owens currently serves as a Lead System Safety Engineer for the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) in Dahlgren, VA. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Microelectronics Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She spent 13 years working in the semiconductor industry before entering into government service. Since joining NSWCDD she has provided system safety engineering support and worked as a safety lead engineer on several programs and projects including the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System, various Unmanned Ground Vehicles and the Electromagnetic Railgun. She currently serves as a Principal for Safety for a naval laser weapon system.

Tiffany has a strong passion for STEM outreach and is active in the community with many organizations and projects to expose and encourage others to pursue careers in STEM as she has. She performs community STEM demonstrations, has organized STEM conferences, served as a panelist, facilitated design activities, serves as a robotics team coach and other roles for various community and school organizations. Tiffany has been recognized for her technical and community contributions through numerous awards including Richmond Style Weekly’s ‘Top 40 Under 40’ Honoree, Naval Surface Warfare Center Distinguished Community Service Award, Richmond Joint Engineer’s Council Community Service Award, Black Engineer of Year Modern Day Technology Leader Award, Women of Color STEM Conference Community Service Award, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Upsilon Omega Chapter ‘Hidden Figure’ Award for Engineering, University of Buffalo Science Technology Enrichment Program Graduates Excelling in Milestones of Success Award and the International System Safety Training Symposium Conference Best Paper Award for her paper ‘System Safety Considerations for Unmanned Ground Vehicles.’ She resides in Richmond, VA with her family and enjoys spending time with family, community service, dancing and crafting.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Steven Corbin
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Steven Corbin

Chief Engineer for the Maneuver, Surveillance and Engagement Division
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane)

Steve Corbin currently serves as Chief Engineer for the Maneuver, Surveillance and Engagement Division at Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC Crane) in Crane, IN. Corbin began his career at Crane as an undergraduate intern and became a full-time Crane employee after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rose-Hulman in 2002. He also has a Master of Science degree in Engineering Management from Rose-Hulman Institute of technology. He has been an employee at NSWC Crane since he started as an intern his freshman year of college. The majority of his career at NSWC Crane has been supporting Marine Corps systems, with a short stint working with Strategic Systems Programs Navigation.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Bill Porter & Dan Flisek
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Science Brothers Honored

Bill Porter and Dan Flisek, an electric and entertaining duo of Navy scientists, were recognized as the 2016 Third Quarter DoD STEM Advocate Winners. The performing troupe known as the “Science Brothers” travel to elementary schools in the Panama City, FL area to perform stage shows with entertaining demonstrations from the fields of chemistry, physics, and electricity. They have inspired thousands of students and in the Florida Panhandle and beyond, gaining national attention. They have performed in front of a crowd of over 2,000 at Washington, D.C.’s USA Science and Engineering Festival. Beyond the stage, they mentored a group of students at Florida State University, who built an electromagnetic disk launcher to demonstrate how electrical energy can be used to propel objects. The Science Brothers were honored for their commitment to STEM outreach in their community by Ms. Mary Miller, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and Dr. Melissa Flagg, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Shanda Johnson
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Shanda Johnson

Outreach Program Director
Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

Shanda Johnson, Outreach Program Director for Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), oversees STEM outreach across SSC Atlantic’s sites in Charleston, New Orleans, and Tidewater. Johnson received the STEM Advocate of the Quarter Award for her success engaging parents, educators, and students, promoting STEM career paths. She organized robotics competitions, cyber camps, impacting hundreds of students annually. Johnson champions minority and underserved students through initiatives like Girls Day Out, introducing hundreds of 8th and 9th grade girls to STEM career opportunities. Johnson collaborates with colleges, local businesses, and the mayor’s office, expanding opportunities like “My Brother’s Keeper” summer camp. Her dedication has led to hiring STEM Outreach Program participants, making her a standout advocate for STEM outreach in the Department of Defense. Johnson also emphasizes cybersecurity in SSC Atlantic’s STEM Outreach Program and helped to establish a week-long, hands on, interactive cyber camps at all three SSC Atlantic locations, educating more than 200 students annually. SSC Atlantic’s Charleston location also hosts the Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition, an intense cyber network “attack and defend” competition.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
Dr. John DiCecco
STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)Dr. John DiCecco

Dr. John DiCecco, of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, received the 2018 first quarter Department of Defense STEM Advocate of the Quarter Award. DiCecco’s commitment is demonstrated in his leadership and mentoring which extend to Division Newport-sponsored outreach and the Naval Sea Systems Command community. Dr. DiCecco has participated in many activities that help equip teachers and students with the resources they need to enhance their expertise in STEM. Since 2009, he’s actively supported the SeaPerch program, enhancing it with advanced sensor applications for underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). He created the Undersea Technology Apprentice Program (UTAP), offering high school students a three-week engineering apprenticeship. Dr. DiCecco is deeply involved in Bring a Child to Work Day and Bring a Future Engineer to Work Day events. Beyond this, he volunteers his personal time to judge at local and state science fairs and robotics competitions, furthering STEM education and outreach efforts.

STEM AOQ Award Icon (sml)STEM Advocate of the Quarter

Pamela Joselyn
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