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The Professional Achievement awards at BEYA go to mid-career STEM professionals who have increased revenue for their employers, saved money and time, identified problems and solved them, introduced new ideas or innovations, or developed systems and implemented them within their work projects. “Researcher, innovator, clean energy champion, a leader in energy equity for all,” are just a few of the words used to describe Roderick K. Jackson, Ph.D., during the Professional Achievement in Government Award segment at the 2022 BEYA Gala.

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Dr. Jackson is a distinguished member of the research staff, laboratory program manager for building technologies research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The initiatives he works on help improve our homes, schools, and offices, by making them more energy efficient. His professional achievements include publishing many high-impact journal articles, receiving a GEM National Consortium Alumni of the Year Award, and being invited to testify at a Congressional hearing on building technologies research for a sustainable future.

“I’m standing on the shoulders of giants,” Jackson began in his acceptance speech. “My father was one of sixteen children and all eleven brothers became home builders. Construction was a deep passion for my daddy, so much so, that he introduced it to me when I was only three years old. My first job was to pick up stray nails on a worksite. While my passion for science, engineering, and energy, led me to a career in mechanical engineering, the legacy my dad and his ten brothers established was never far from my heart. Throughout my twelve-year career at the DOE (Department of Energy) national laboratories, I’ve been able to marry my love for energy innovation with my family’s legacy. My father passed away on January 19th, 2021, so it’s a tremendous honor for me to be recognized with this award for a career so deeply rooted in his legacy.”

Dr. Brandice Weathers is a materials research engineer in the center for corrosion science and engineering at the United States Naval Research Laboratory. She has spent over ten years developing innovative methods and mitigating environmental effects on marine materials and systems to ensure they maintain operational endurance. Brandice has expertise in reducing corrosion in marine environments. Her work has not only impacted the technology on navy ships and submarines, it has also informed navy design requirements.

“I’m a driven person,” Brandice said in her acceptance speech. As someone who has had to perform in competitive environments, one constant is said someone is always smarter, funnier, more innovative. And that’s okay because there will never be someone who’s more me than me, or more you than you. My greatest successes as an engineer have come when I was intentional about bringing my unique talents, experiences, culture, and perspectives to my job. I hope to inspire others to know that they do not need to look outward to achieve success. You already have the gifts of talent, drive, and uniqueness within yourself.”

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