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Women's History Month Role Models

Robyn De Wees | Corporate Promotion of Education
By USBE Online
Mar 4, 2014, 20:57

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Robyn De Wees is passionate about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). She wants students to embrace STEM subjects because they can expose them to a world of opportunity.

“After taking my first computer class in 10th grade, I wanted to study engineering but wasn’t sure which discipline,” she said. “Once I took the only programming class we had in high school, I began to look into computer science. As soon as I saw computer engineering offered at The Catholic University of America, I knew.”

Mentoring is important to De Wees as well. She is a mentor at the University Of Maryland Baltimore Campus Center for Women in Technology program.

De Wees also serves in Northrop Grumman’s Mentoring Matters program. She currently mentors three women, sharing lessons she’s learned.

“I love seeing the results of mentor and protégé relationships,” she said.

De Wees leads a team of more than 50 engineers and data specialists. Her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt experience contributes to her success as a mission assurance leader. She is sought after to provide support for risk-opportunity management, measurement analysis and problem resolution.

“As an intern,” she recalled, “I was entrusted to work with our most difficult customer [and] accidentally deleted his database. After a few deep breaths, I told him what I had done and that I would stay until the data was re-entered. He smiled and told me I could return to my office. As I took the one-block walk, which seemed like a mile, I knew my bosses would soon learn of my mistake.”

The following has stuck with her since:

1.) Sometimes you have to be your own coach.
2.) We’re human and will make mistakes.
3.) When we make a mistake, own up to it and develop a plan to correct the situation.

Much later in her career she was reminded of the experience and added a fourth rule: Support people who work for you―most of what they do will be good and a mistake can usually be fixed.

De Wees is co-chair of the Northrop Grumman Information Systems sector’s African American Task Group Employee Resource Group. The group’s objective is to create a diverse workplace by attracting and retaining Black professionals.
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Promoting STEM

The development of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers is integral to America's advancement. Career Communications Group publications--US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology magazine and Women of Color magazine--offer a blueprint for continued growth and success in STEM fields by highlighting progress and people at all stages of the STEM pipeline; from the college student taking his first engineering courses to the senior executive managing the projects that will change the ways we live.

About CCG

A Unique Company Providing Unique Opportunities Career Communications Group, Inc. was founded 25 years ago with a unique mission: To promote significant achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics professional careers. We are a socially conscious diversity media company that recognize the mandate to inspire and promote excellence in our youth by telling the stories of the thousands of unheralded people striving for success. The people we reach provide top employers a unique opportunity to fulfill their mission of hiring this country’s most promising talent. We offer inspiring magazines, award-winning syndicated television programs and national conferences to reach hundreds of thousands of students and professionals who share these traits: A determination to succeed and the commitment to be personally responsible for that success. Their attitude of self-empowerment creates a unique hiring environment for companies and other organizations seeking top talent to diversify and strengthen their workforce.