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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.
A virtual spokesperson for black technology, BlackEngineer aspires to serve as leading news and information provider on the advancements in black technology with deep insights into black engineering, black entrepreneurs, black education, and historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). In fact, BlackEngineer is one of the very few to promote the achievements of black technology. The Black engineer of the year awards (BEYA) is one of our successful ventures to promote black technology, progress and achievements made in black technology, and the sentiments of the Black community in the US, the UK, Caribbean, and Africa.
Black technology entrepreneurs are increasingly providing the horsepower that drives the global economy. Over the last two decades, black entrepreneurs have created more jobs, and contributed much more to the economic expansion of the Black community as a whole, than any black pastor or politician. Black entrepreneurs are taking risks and building businesses that generate economic growth and increase prosperity in underserved areas, as more minority-owned and minority-focused businesses emerge, willing to serve the financial needs of Black entrepreneurs. US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine's annual list of Top Black Technology Entrepreneurs reflects the expanding scope of leading Black entrepreneurs in information technology, homeland security, and defense.