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Retired United States Army four-star general Johnnie E. Wilson is one of the founding fathers of BEYA Stars and Stripes, which is an integral part of the annual BEYA STEM Conference. He last served as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command from 1996 to 1999.

During the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Engineering Deans Event, which was held at the 38th annual BEYA STEM Conference in February, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s interim dean of engineering, Dr. Stephanie Luster Teasley, presented the 2024 Johnnie Wilson Legacy Award to Tiffany Spence.

Tiffany Spence, a display systems and voice communications branch chief at the Missile Defense Agency, has made a name for herself in the world of engineering. 

Her journey began when she discovered her love for math and science. She pursued her passion by earning a degree in computer engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Her accomplishments go beyond her professional achievements. She is also a dedicated mentor and advocate for diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Spence has served as a mentor to countless young people, encouraging them to pursue careers in engineering and providing guidance along the way. In addition to mentoring, she is involved in several organizations that promote diversity in STEM. She is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

“It’s an honor to receive the General Johnnie Wilson Legacy Award,” Spence said. “When I think about legacy, I think about impact. Legacy encompasses your mark on others, community, relationships, and accomplishments. It captures the essence of who you are at your core. In the world of STEM, I want my legacy to be synonymous with one word: better. With everything that I do, I want to leave it better because on the other side lies transformation, growth, and new challenges. And that’s where the real impact happens in the world of STEM.

People, processes, and technology have played an integral part in Spence’s career. While the process has fostered breakthroughs and technology has provided tools, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds with different skill sets has allowed her to broaden her perspective, foster creativity, and develop interpersonal skills that have greatly impacted her career.

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