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The Legacy Awards are presented annually at the BEYA STEM Conference to honor individuals who have volunteered in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) community and have shown excellence in the STEM workforce.

These awards celebrate the contributions of men and women who have won the Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) since 1987.

Veronica L. Nelson, the executive director of Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE), will receive the 2024 Eugene DeLoatch Legacy Award in February.

She expressed her gratitude for the recognition and thanked Abbott, Boston Scientific, and IBM for the nomination in an email to the AMIE community of academic deans and corporate representatives.

She also acknowledged the support of all the partners who submitted letters of recommendation to the BEYA Selection Committee.

Nelson has been recognized for her passion, dedication, leadership, and work with the 16 ABET-accredited HBCU Schools of Engineering and partnership with AMIE Partners as the executive director of Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE) over the past 6.5 years.

She emphasized that this recognition would not have been possible without the support of the AMIE community.

One of the first recipients of the Eugene M. DeLoatch Legacy Award was Jonathan Jones, a fermentation improvement engineer at Dow AgroSciences. He was recognized for his dedication to STEM outreach in local communities.

DeLoatch, who retired in 2016 after serving 32 years as the head of Morgan State University’s Mitchell School of Engineering, became the inaugural dean when it was launched in 1984.

His remarkable career as an educator played a significant role in increasing minority representation in engineering, and he was named the Black Engineer of the Year in 2017.

Notashia Thomas received the 2022 Dr. Eugene DeLoatch Legacy Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to STEM. She began her career at CACI in 2006 as a software tester and has emerged as a leader in her field.

Currently, she is a product manager for the HighView technology group program. Her systems engineering team drives innovation through her leadership and delivers significant results. In addition, she volunteers with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) organizations, including Black Girls Code. She is focused on building pathways for young people of color to become tech leaders.

“I was raised in a single-parent household by my mother, who has a strong work ethic,” Notashia said, nodding to her mom, who was in the audience. “She was determined to see her two daughters succeed. In my senior year of high school, my computer teacher encouraged me to pursue a degree in computer science, but I was apprehensive.” With support from her teacher and family, Notashia gained confidence in improving her failing grades in advanced calculus. She went on to ace every mathematics class in her computer science course during college. Fast forward, she finds great joy in inspiring and motivating a new generation to pursue STEM degrees.

The Engineering Deans Breakfast at BEYA has been the place for special recognition honorees to receive Legacy Awards. The upcoming BEYA STEM Conference takes place February 15-17, 2024, in Baltimore, Maryland, and on the BEYA digital twin experience (DTX) platform.

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