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Last week, the White House announced the appointment of Bevlee Watford, Ph.D., to serve on the National Science Board (NSB). The board is an independent body of advisors to the President and Congress on policy matters related to science and engineering and education in science and engineering.

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In addition to preliminary reports, the NSB publishes policy papers or statements on issues of importance to U.S. science and engineering. The NSB is made up of 25 members appointed by the President. Members serve six-year terms.

Dr. Watford has spent over thirty years in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. She has had a distinguished career at Virginia Tech, touching the lives of thousands of students through mentoring, community- and network building, and more.

As founding executive director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED), she has worked to broaden participation through outreach and student support activities. She has secured more than 17 million dollars in funding and support for CEED and other student initiatives. Her research activities have focused on recruitment and retention in engineering, emphasizing students of color.

CEED received the 2010 Claire Felbinger Diversity Award from ABET, which accredits science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology programs.

In 2011, they received the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)-ExxonMobil Impact award for implementing research-based efforts to improve retention. In addition, based on CEED’s activities, the College of Engineering was recognized as a Bronze Exemplar institution by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Deans Diversity Recognition program.

From 2005-2007, Watford served as a program manager in the Division of Undergraduate Education for the National Science Foundation, returning from 2013-2015 to serve as program director for broadening participation in the Division of Engineering Education and Centers. In 2010, she was elected as a Fellow of ASEE and served as ASEE president for 2017-2018.

Watford was the 2004-2005 President of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network and has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Administrators. In addition, during the 36th annual BEYA STEM Conference, Dr. Watford received the Educational Leadership Award for outstanding contributions to the college-level promotion of education.

Since May 2022, Victor McCrary, the 2011 BEYA Scientist of the Year, has been serving as vice chair of the NSB, the policymaking body of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and an independent advisor to Congress and the President of science and engineering policy. The Biden-Harris Administration also re-appointed McCrary to serve a second six-year term on the NSB.

During his first six years of service, McCrary championed and led the development of the board’s report, The Skilled Technical Workforce: Crafting America’s Science and Engineering Enterprise; guided NSB’s Vannevar Bush and Public Service awards recommendations, and led NSB’s implementation of Vision 2030, including by engaging with a multitude of science and engineering communities.

McCrary currently serves as vice president for research and professor of chemistry at the University of the District of Columbia. Previously, he was vice chancellor for research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the first vice president for research and economic development and professor of chemistry at Morgan State University.

Before that, McCrary was the business area executive for science & technology and principal at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where he directed internal research and development funding to develop new core competencies and innovations in the areas of national security and space technologies for civilian and military applications.

He started his career at AT&T Bell Laboratories-Murray Hill as a post-doc and then Member of Technical Staff before being tapped to be a program manager with the Advanced Technology Program and becoming the first chief of the Convergent Information Systems Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

At NIST, McCrary led the first efforts to develop industry standards for electronic books, where he was a co-recipient of the US Department of Commerce’s Gold Medal for his actions. He is a former national president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.

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