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The Dave Barclay Affirmative Action Award is named after one of BEYA’s pioneers in the defense industry. Barclay was a corporate officer and advocate for workforce diversity in the 1990s. The award celebrates individuals who have shown a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Allan G. Sonsteby is the executive director of the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State University. He is a leader in research, development, management, and federal acquisition in academic, industrial, and government environments.

He oversees Penn State Applied Research Laboratory, which has around 1,500 research faculty, staff, and students who receive more than $415 million of sponsored research awards annually.

Dr. Sonsteby has previously served as the senior scientist and chief scientist of the Naval Information Warfare Activity. He was also the chairman and U.S. representative for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) technical panels.

Additionally, he recently completed a four-year appointment on the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and was awarded the Commander Public Service Award. He is also a founding trustee of the Intelligence and National Security Foundation, which works to promote high standards within the national security community.

“Diversity, equality, inclusion, and belonging are the strength of our nation”, said Sonsteby in his acceptance speech. “When we infuse DEIB throughout society, we can accomplish anything as a Department of Defense university-affiliated institution. The Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State supports the security of our nation by maturing science and technology into capability. We can achieve this if we have ready access to a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent. Diversity brings together different identities, and celebrating those differences unlocks greater problem-solving and innovation.

I’m very proud of our STEM outreach program, which has been providing underrepresented minorities with summer internships working alongside scientists and engineers for almost 30 years. This program has added hundreds of future STEM leaders to our nation’s pipeline of domestic, diverse STEM talent. However, we must do much more because diversity is critical and imperative to ensuring our nation’s security. Diversity is a force multiplier, and it creates an impact.”

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