The Entrepreneurial Fellow award presented at the annual BEYA STEM Conference is designed for the owner of a minority-owned scientific, engineering, or technical company. Stella McDonald is a project engineer at Jacobs. She is also an experienced chemical engineer and played a key role in the Jacobs Homeland Security Department, which supported the Office of Research and Development Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response.
Eager to make a difference, McDonald was at the forefront of research related to bacterial decontamination of Bacillus anthracis surrogates research, under a contract Jacobs had with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
But she rapidly pivoted to a new field of research to address and enhance the EPA’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by undertaking research projects to devise strategies for alleviating contamination concerns during a viral outbreak.
McDonald is also active in her local community in Durham, NC, where her efforts focus on mentoring youth through volunteer work with a local nonprofit. She takes every opportunity to share her knowledge with junior engineers and scientists with whom she works and has trained every new hire who has worked on homeland security research.
“When I joined Jacobs, I was eager to make a difference,” she said in a recorded video beamed into the 2023 HBCU Engineering Dean Recognition Event at the just concluded BEYA STEM Conference. “I want to thank the entire team at Jacobs for their support and dedication. I’m grateful to have had the chance to work with such a talented and passionate group of individuals, a benefit from being an active member in my local community: mentoring youth and giving back through volunteer work. I will always remain committed to sharing my knowledge and experience with the next generation of engineers and scientists. I believe that with hard work and dedication, we call to make a positive impact.”