Two years ago, Dr. Charles Johnson-Bey won a Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) for Community Service. On a Baltimore radio show broadcast during Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Dr. Johnson-Bey was asked about his passion for representing his employer, Lockheed Martin, at community organizations that reach kids in every corner of America. Click here to listen.
“It’s important to reach all the kids in all the playgrounds,” he said. “I’m from Baltimore city, East Baltimore in particular, and people take it for granted there’s nothing in that area, nothing of value there. But what this conference does is show that there are kids who are smart, who come from families that love them, and have the ability to achieve. It lets people know where to find scientists, technologists, and engineers. (BEYA) is one place you can go,” he added. “Kids can see people that look like them and see themselves represented.” Click here to listen
Dr. Johnson-Bey’s job involves visiting schools and mentoring young men and women aspiring to careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). As a former professor at Morgan State University in Baltimore, he works to motivate and inspire students.
It’s “to let them know what they can do. And to let them know that dreams are possible,” he said on the Larry Young Show. “That they can use these tools, this education to get where they want to go and continue to improve their standards of living for both themselves and their families,” he added. “I work with a lot of programs that go from elementary through high school through college. I do it every day and I love doing it.” Click here to listen
Dr. Johnson-Bey’s outreach is getting results. In 2017, he was nominated by Lockheed Martin, one of the largest employers of scientists, engineers, and technicians, for a Black Engineer of the Year Award. He was described as “one of the most outstanding STEM mentors and volunteers” at Lockheed.
“It was a big gala,” he said of his award presentation at the BEYA STEM Conference.. “I had my whole family there–my three kids, my wife of 27 years. Walking out on that stage and hearing all the love that came from the audience–students that I had when I was a professor at Morgan, folks that I had worked with for years– I thought about all the hard work that goes in when you’re dedicated to your craft and to helping young people,” he said. Dr. Johnson-Bey was himself an award presenter at BEYA in 2019. Click here to listen
In Baltimore, Lockheed supports programs like Project Lead the Way, a partnership with PLTW’s Launch, Gateway and Engineering programs, which are used in K-12 schools across the United States.
“One of the things we did at Poly was to have kids, during their classroom sessions, learn about math in music,” he said. The Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, fondly known as Poly, is one of the oldest high schools in the city.
“We talk about the mathematical foundation of music and how you pull it together,” Dr. Johnson-Bey explained. “We also talk about what you can do with sound, how can you make sound and create ideas. Or what kind of music can you create to make people feel better in a crowded environment? These are the kinds of things where we invest in our kids, invest in ideas, that we as a community can do and do better. It helps kids see that what they can do has value,” he said. Click here to listen
At the 2020 BEYA STEM Conference in Washington D.C., Dr. Johnson-Bey will be hosting two seminars focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math for pre-college students.
“A lot of time, people think ‘I don’t look like that or I don’t like math that way.’ But if you tell someone you’re going to give them five dollars in their paycheck and you give them four, they count pretty good then, right? We want people to understand that it’s math in finance. It’s math in dance. It’s math in Art. It’s math in video games. A lot of video games are trending towards augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). A lot of our kids play video games and we want them to know you have space here to expand your thoughts and dreams,” he said.
He urged parents in Baltimore and in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia area to attend and bring their children to the BEYA STEM Conference. “The BEYA Conference helps us grow, helps the community grow and network,” he said. Click here to listen
For 34 years, the BEYA STEM Conference has worked to encourage young people to see a path to their goals and careers through their passion, education, and hard work. Each year, STEM leaders and professionals gather to inspire and motivate a new generation of college graduates who will help build the economy of the 21st century.