Submit Your Article Idea

Dr. Lydia W. Thomas received the top Black Engineer of the Year award in 2003, becoming the second woman to win the annual award that recognizes distinguished men and women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

She served as the CEO of Noblis, a nonprofit science, technology, and strategy organization that primarily works for the federal government.

Before that, she worked at the MITRE Corporation for over two decades, where she retired as a senior vice president and general manager. Dr. Thomas is a member of the Mueller Water Products board and the University of Maryland Global Campus Ventures Board.

Dr. Thomas introduced the namesake award at the 2024 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Engineering Deans Recognition event during the 38th annual BEYA STEM Conference.

During this event, she presented Asma Abuzaakouk, a first-generation American, as a pioneering advocate for inclusion and diversity at MITRE during her 20+ year career.

Dr. Abuzaakouk developed the federal inclusivity index tool aligning with Executive Order 1435, aiding leaders in understanding barriers and fostering inclusion by leveraging big data such as EES.

She educates others on the neuroscience of inclusion, highlighting its biological benefits, and promotes STEM for girls. Dr. Abuzaakouk received the Silver Presidential Award for volunteerism with the Girl Scouts.

Dr. Abuzaakouk expressed her gratitude after receiving the award from Dr. Lydia Thomas, saying, “I am humbled to accept this award in your honor. I’m so grateful for your sponsorship and support. This tribute honors not only your legacy but also your sharing it with me, and I appreciate you being that candle that lights another candle in the dark. I will honor your legacy and continue to be a spark in the dark to brighten the path of others as you have done for me. On my journey, I seek to be a role model for everyone seeking dignity, equity, determination, social justice, and liberation. This award is a testament to my progress. I’m reminded of the Shirley Chisholm quote: ‘If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.'”

leave a Reply

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial