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Legacy Awards, presented annually at the BEYA STEM Conference, honor a winner’s voluntary work in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) community, as well as excellence in the STEM workforce.

Before 2016, Legacy Awards were in a special recognition category. The awards were renamed to honor BEYA’s legacy dating back to 1987.

Legacy awards were introduced at BEYA’s 30th-anniversary conference to celebrate the scientific and technical contributions of men and women who have won the Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) since 1987. For more than five years, the Engineering Deans Breakfast at BEYA has been the place for special recognition honorees to receive Legacy Awards.

The following information highlights the recipients of various awards in the aerospace and engineering fields.

The Rodney C. Adkins Legacy Award for Business Transformation honors Rod Adkins, the 2007 Black Engineer of the Year, who played a significant role in transforming IBM and developing strategies for a new era of computing, new markets, and new clients.

Verett Mims, assistant treasurer in Boeing’s global treasury operations, was one of the first recipients of this award. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Southern University A&M College and a master’s degree in physics from MIT.

In February 2018, Mims received the Rodney Adkins Legacy Award from Boeing Global Services CEO, Ted Colbert, and Adkins himself. The award recognized Mims’ contributions.

The following year, the award went to Paul F. McKenzie, a technical specialist in the tracked combat vehicles software program at General Dynamics Land Systems. McKenzie founded the Dynamic Network of African Americans (DNA2) to empower and support African Americans at General Dynamics Land Systems.

The Walt W. Braithwaite Legacy Award is named after the 1995 Black Engineer of the Year, Walt W. Braithwaite. Braithwaite was instrumental in bringing computer-aided design to Boeing and introducing networked design/manufacturing systems for the company, changing the way airplanes are designed and produced.

In 2020, Myron Fletcher received the Walt Braithwaite Award for his contributions to the aerospace industry. Fletcher was the first engineer to deliver qualified space hardware to the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

Steven Handy, a section supervisor at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, won the William R. Wiley Legacy Award for Research Science in 2017. The award is named after William R. Wiley, who believed in the ability of research to drive development and change people’s lives.

The Admiral Michelle Howard Legacy Award was given to Dr. Darryl A. Boyd, a research chemist at the Naval Research Laboratory, Department of the Navy. Boyd is an active member of various scientific organizations and advocates for community STEM outreach. He regularly participates in volunteer STEM events all over the country and is a science instructor for Roots Public Charter School and STEM director at the Transformational Education Adventure (TEA) Center.

Boyd is also the owner of Science Made Simple LLC and the founder of www.DrBoydTheChemist.com, where he posts original content, including science videos, fun science facts, and blog posts about science.

Corey Randolph was awarded the Edward T. Welburn Legacy Award in 2020 for his remarkable journey from being an intern at Nissan to becoming the lead electrical engineer for the Nissan Leaf. He now serves as a valuable resource in the zero-emissions technology development team of Nissan Technical Center of North America.

The award was presented to him by Gerald Johnson, the executive vice president for global manufacturing at General Motors and a two-time BEYA winner himself. The Edward T. Welburn Legacy Award is named after the first Black Engineer of the Year in 2015, who made history at General Motors as the first African American to hold the position of chief designer at any automaker in the world.

The Arlington W. Carter Legacy Award was presented to Sydney Hamilton, a structural design engineer at Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Hamilton has always been passionate about flying and began her career as an airplane structural design engineer for the wing and fuselage structures.

She progressed to become an airplane service engineer supporting airplane repairs before transitioning to Boeing Space & Launch as a mechanical design engineer. There she developed and maintained the largest database of additive manufactured analysis at Boeing.

Hamilton also co-founded Boeing Generations to Generations, a group dedicated to improving workplace culture across rich, multi-generational talent, and is the president of Dramatic Results, a non-profit organization. She is an IF/THEN ambassador for the American Association of the Advancement of Science.

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