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Nominees for the senior technology award at BEYA work in research and development and translate scientific discoveries into invention. Award winners lead R&D teams at the forefront of innovation. They serve as a role model and leader for minorities and women.

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Cedric Mann embodies the qualities of the prestigious award for senior technology fellow. He is a consulting engineer, systems architect, and technology fellow at Northrop Grumman; Cedric provides radar expertise for multiple classified programs in the advanced field of algorithms for onboard processing. He has a strong background in signals processing and systems architecture, enabling him to innovate and contribute pivotal processing techniques that support multiple programs of national importance. He also brings space acquisition experience to the Intelligence community and the Department of Defense. Additionally, Cedric has achieved a fellow technology status at Northrop Grumman. He is respected by his colleagues and customers and is an active mentor to junior engineers in the Northrop Grumman professional mentoring program.

“Believing in yourself is key to success—failure is only an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. I am honored to receive this award because I’m a first-generation engineer in my family and the youngest of nine children. I always enjoyed building thongs as a child, so engineering was a natural fit. Although challenging, by having an opportunity to attend university and graduate in engineering and graduate programs, I was able to build the confidence to master the challenging courses with support from my family, mentors, and especially my wife.”

As a quality lead at Sandia National Laboratories, Danielle Stephenson leads a team of system engineers to prevent, detect, and reduce the risk of nuclear weapon deterioration. In addition, she is a principal research and development engineer and subject matter expert for surety engineering and weapons quality staff and the communication hub for customers. In addition to professional development, Ms. Stephenson has been deeply involved in her community, participating in events that increase interest in STEM education and careers.

“Throughout my 15-plus year career, I have consistently asked myself the following questions: Am I making n impact, and am I fulfilled in my career? Asking myself these questions has helped me realize the importance of exposure, preparation, persistence, and the ability to adapt. These moments of self-reflection have given me a better understanding of my interests and skillset, allowing me to challenge myself without fear of the outcome. It is essential to reflect and check in with yourself and your goals from time to time. I’m incredibly grateful for my parents, husband, teachers, advisors, and mentors who have helped shape my STEM career.

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