Black Engineer of the Year honoree inspires youth to excel in STEM

There’s more to receiving a Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) award than being a winner, says Aaron Brundage of Sandia National Laboratories.

“The intent of the award is to provide guidance to young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),” he says. “It gives them a role model.”

Brundage was named a 2013 BEYA Minority in Research Science Emerald Honoree in the category of Most Promising Scientist – Government. “I’m honored to be part of something that is bigger than the award itself,” he said. “At Sandia, I have the privilege of doing world-class research, working with and being mentored by the best minds in the country and using the best facilities in the world.”

BEYA awards recognize the nation’s best and brightest engineers, scientists and technology experts. They are a program of the national Career Communications Group, an advocate for corporate diversity, and part of its STEM achievement program. Brundage will receive his award at the 28th BEYA conference Feb. 6 in Washington, D.C. The event precedes National Engineers Week.

Brundage works in modeling and simulation of energetic materials, penetration mechanics, thermodynamics, and combustion and shock physics. He first came to Sandia as an intern in 2002 while earning his doctorate in mechanical engineering at Purdue University. He also has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

Brundage feels strongly about giving back to his community. He serves on the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico. In 2011, he and his wife founded a nonprofit, Tools for Learning Outreach Services, that provides workshops in partnership with schools and community programs. Their STEM education programs, intended to reach children who are underserved, at-risk or underrepresented in STEM disciplines, provide hands-on activities and opportunities for learning through play.

Brundage also brought STEM to underrepresented youth in the sixth through 12th grades by volunteering for eight summers as an instructor for HMTech, Sandia’s summer science and engineering program, and by teaching ACT courses at the University of New Mexico.

Brundage is a former director and chairman of the New Mexico section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and is a member of the society’s K-11 Technical Committee on Combustion.

Jeff Isaacson, Sandia’s vice president of Defense Systems & Assessments, said Brundage “is the epitome of the type of researcher we need to deliver innovative solutions to some of our nation’s toughest technical problems.”

“There is more that makes Aaron an exceptional employee — the desire and ability to teach mathematical and scientific concepts to the next generation,” Isaacson said. “Aaron is active in our community promoting STEM at the elementary through post-secondary levels.”

Brundage said role models are most effective when they work directly with youths and offer hands-on experience. “Our job is to share our stories to inspire the next generation and help them understand what they can achieve,” he said.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies and economic competitiveness.

-Sandia National Laboratories

Soyuz to launch astronauts for a year long mission

Expedition 43 Soyuz Rollout

The first one-year crew for the International Space Station is set to launch today. NASA Television will provide extensive coverage of the launch and the crew’s arrival to the orbital laboratory.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend a year living and working aboard the space station and will launch with cosmonaut Gennady Padalka. The trio will become part of the station’s Expedition 43 crew.

NASA TV coverage will begin at 2:30 p.m. EDT March 27, with launch scheduled for 3:42 p.m. (1:42 a.m. Saturday, March 28 in Baikonur) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The trio will ride to space in a Soyuz spacecraft, which will rendezvous with the space station and dock after four orbits of Earth. Docking to the space station’s Poisk module will take place at 9:36 p.m. Friday. NASA TV coverage of docking will begin at 8:45 p.m.

Hatches between the Soyuz and the station will be opened at approximately 11:15 p.m., at which time Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA and his crewmates, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), will greet Kelly, Kornienko and Padalka. Hatch opening coverage begins on NASA TV at 10:45 p.m.

Kelly and Kornienko will spend a year on the space station to better understand how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space. Data from the expedition will be used to determine whether there are ways to further reduce the risks on future long-duration missions to an asteroid and eventually Mars.

The crew will support several hundred experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science — research that impacts life on Earth. Data and samples will be collected throughout the year from a series of studies involving Scott and his twin brother, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. The studies will compare data from the genetically-identical Kelly brothers to identify any subtle changes caused by spaceflight.

Padalka will spend six months aboard the outpost, during which he will become the first four-time station commander and record holder for most cumulative time spent in space.

U.S. News & World Report Presents The Fourth Annual STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference

Though jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are on the rise nationwide, the majority of the future labor pool – women, Latinos and African-Americans – shows disproportionately little interest in pursuing STEM careers. To help solve this crisis, U.S. News & World Report will bring together leaders in education, industry and policy for the fourth annual STEM Solutions conference, taking place Monday, June 29 – Wednesday, July 1.

The theme of this year’s conference – “Teach, Inspire, Hire: Discovering and Growing America’s Diverse Talent Pool” — is a call to action, and the program will put a special emphasis on increasing the ranks of women, minorities, veterans, and other underserved and underrepresented populations in STEM careers. The keynote and breakout sessions will highlight the solutions, best practices, and model programs making an impact across the nation. The 40 breakout sessions will allow attendees to explore in-depth topics such as “Recruiting and Retaining Minorities in Your Workforce,” “Progress on the Gender Front in STEM,” “Improving Teacher Prep,” “Cultivating College Access and Completion,” “Engaging Parents in Their Children’s STEM Educations,” and “Beefing Up Career and Technical Education.”

Taking place in San Diego, a global hub for important STEM industries such as telecommunications, biotechnology, medicine and defense, the conference will also highlight topics unique to the local economy, including cybersecurity, veterans and STEAM.

To date, more than 50 leaders in STEM and diversity are confirmed, including:

Wanda M. Austin, Ph.D., President and CEO, The Aerospace Corporation
Andrea Beaty, author, “Rosie Revere, Engineer”
Gary R. Bertoline, Ph.D., Dean, College of Technology, Purdue University
Sarita E. Brown, President, Excelencia in Education
Kimberly Wright Cassidy, Ph.D., President, Bryn Mawr College
John Ewing, Ph.D., President, Math for America
Antonio R. Flores, Ph.D., President and CEO, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
Jean Hernandez, Ed.D., President, Edmonds Community College, Lynnwood, Washington
Blake Irving, CEO, GoDaddy
Brian Johnson, Ph.D., President, Tuskegee University
Fredi Lajvardi, Teacher, Carl Hayden Community High School, Phoenix
Arthur Levine, Ph.D., President, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Michael Lomax, Ph.D., President and CEO, UNCF
Cindy Marten, Superintendent of Public Education, San Diego Unified School District
Anna M. Park, CEO, Great Minds in STEM
Jerome S. Parker, Ph.D., President, Delaware County Community College, Media, Pennsylvania
Arva Rice, President and CEO, New York Urban League
Ricardo Romo, Ph.D., President, University of Texas at San Antonio
Phil Schmidt, Ph.D., Vice President for Compliance and Accreditation; Dean, Teachers College, Western Governors University
Telle Whitney, Ph.D., President and CEO, Anita Borg Institute
Kim A. Wilcox, Ph.D., Chancellor, University of California, Riverside
Joan C. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law; Founding Director, Center for WorkLife Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law

For a full list of speakers and agenda, please visit

U.S. News will release the second annual U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index, the only comprehensive index of its kind that tracks key economic- and education-related STEM activity in the United States over time. Profiles of the speakers, sessions and solutions discussed at the event will be featured on the U.S. News STEM hub,, alongside U.S. News’ perennial STEM content, including the Best High Schools for STEM and the Best Jobs for STEM.

Members of the media interested in attending the conference or receiving embargoed information about the U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index should contact U.S. News & World Report’s Lucy Lyons ( You can also follow the conversation on Twitter via @STEMSolutions, and by using the hashtag #STEMsolve.

SOURCE U.S. News & World Report

Lake Jackson, Texas native serves aboard USS George H.W. Bush



Lake Jackson, Texas native serves aboard USS George H.W. Bush

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joshua Treadwell, Navy Office of Community Outreach

A 2008 Brazoswood High School graduate and Lake Jackson, Texas, native is serving on one of the world’s largest warships, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush.




Petty Officer 1st Class Gregory Harris is a machinist’s mate aboard the Norfolk-based ship, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and one of only ten operational aircraft carriers in the Navy today. Named in honor of former President George H.W. Bush, the carrier is longer than 3 football fields, at nearly 1,100 feet long. The ship is 252 feet wide and weighs more than 100,000 tons. Two nuclear reactors can push the ship through the water at more than 35 mph.

As a sailor with numerous responsibilities, Harris said he is learning about himself as a leader, sailor and a person. He added that it is an exciting time to be in the Navy, and serving aboard a ship is something he never expected to be doing just a few years ago.

“I’ve learned a lot of leadership skills on board this ship,” said Harris. “My team of young sailors amazes me everyday.”

“I fix anything on board that requires refrigerant,” Harris explained. “We have to cool off equipment that is vital to keeping the ship working properly.”

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS George H.W. Bush. Approximately 3,200 men and women make up the ship’s company, which keeps all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors. Another 2,500 or so form the air wing, the people who actually fly and maintain the aircraft.

“I never cease to be impressed with the type and quality of work that goes on aboard this ship each day,” said Capt. Andrew J. Loiselle, the carrier’s commanding officer. “The USS George H.W. Bush team is filled with highly qualified young adults – in many cases, 19 and 20 years old – and they’re out here running a complex propulsion system safely, serving as air traffic controllers, operating sophisticated electronics, launching and recovering aircraft when we’re underway, and keeping this floating city alive and functioning. I can’t express how proud I am to be a part of this team. They performed at the highest level, day in and day out during our recent 9-month combat deployment and are continuing to do so here at home. Their professionalism, dedication and commitment to excellence are second to none.”

USS George H.W. Bush, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea. Powerful catapults slingshot the aircraft off the bow of the ship. The planes land aboard the carrier by snagging a steel cable with an arresting hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft. All of this makes the George H.W. Bush a self-contained mobile airport and strike platform, and often the first response to a global crisis because of a carrier’s ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Harris and other USS George H.W. Bush sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

“I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do as kid, serve my country and learn critical job skills,” said Harris.


“Why Being There Matters”

On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.

NASA Challenge Invites Students to Help Design Journey to Mars Systems



College students have the opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation for NASA’s journey to Mars by designing systems for future space habitats and exploration systems through the agency’s Exploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge.



The challenge is designed to engage students directly in the design, research and development of functional components of future habitats. As NASA develops missions to send astronauts to destinations far into the solar system, such as an asteroid and Mars, a habitat to sustain the crews pioneering deep space environments will be needed.

The challenge also will help develop strategic partnerships with universities in order to increase knowledge in critical exploration capabilities and technology risk reduction activities.

To apply for the challenge, student teams must submit their plans for designing, manufacturing, assembling and testing systems for evaluation by engineers and scientists in NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, which leads and oversees the agency’s human space operations in low-Earth orbit and beyond. Applications for the challenge will be accepted through April 30.

This year’s challenge includes a broad array of topics such as power distribution systems, deployable structures, habitat architectural layout studies and food production systems. Previous projects have included a remotely-operated plant growth system and a deployable airlock structure.


The X-Hab Challenge is part of a continuing effort to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. Exposing students to engineering and design processes used in the aerospace industry will benefit both NASA and the participants.


The challenge is managed by the National Space Grant Foundation for NASA. Teams selected for the challenge will receive a monetary stipend to assist in producing functional products based on their designs.



For more information on the 2016 X Hab Challenge application process, visit:



For more information on NASA’s journey to Mars, visit:



General Motors Chief Diversity Officer addresses the gathering at the graduation of the first Shifting Gears

GM, Raytheon and Army Graduate First “Shifting Gears” Soldier Auto Technicians
General Motors Chief Diversity Officer addresses the gathering at the graduation of the first Shifting Gears: Automotive Technician
Training Program class Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at Fort Hood, Texas. Created as a
multi-year partnership between GM, Raytheon Company and the U.S. Army, the program
provides and empowers transitioning soldiers with the skills required to secure careers
as GM service technicians. (Photo by Steven Noreyko for General Motors)

GM, Raytheon and Army Graduate First “Shifting Gears” Soldier Auto Technicians

GM, Raytheon and Army Graduate First “Shifting Gears” Soldier Auto Technicians
General Motors, Raytheon Company and the U.S. Army participate in the graduation
of the first Shifting Gears: Automotive Technician Training Program class Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at Fort Hood, Texas.
Created as a multi-year partnership between the two companies and the Army, the program provides and empowers transitioning
soldiers with the skills required to secure careers as GM service technicians. (Photo by Steven Noreyko for General Motors)

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