For 34 years, BEYA has been at the forefront of providing career opportunities for young talent in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). BEYA is a community of innovators, game-changers, and mentors who help break down barriers. A common thread that runs through hundreds of thousands of stories (1986 to date) is the sacrifice of men and women who laid the groundwork for individual success that changed the course of history.
Every honoree that crosses the BEYA stage has a story of triumph and tribulation to tell. Many tales begin with once upon a time, someone believed in me. Or, someone saw what was possible before they saw it in themselves. Maybe they wanted to walk in the footsteps of their parents. Or fulfill their grandparents’ dream to see them be the first in their family to graduate college. The communities BEYA winners speak of are spread across the United States and the world. They are supportive in difficult times; determined, courageous, and resilient.
“I am so grateful to be in the position to be a voice, a solution, a mentor, as we all are, and to use our abilities and experiences to be positive influences not only with those new to STEM but also our colleagues,” said the 2019 Black Engineer of the Year Award winner Anthony Mitchell at the 2020 BEYA Gala.
Mitchell, executive vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, gave the traditional Pass the Torch remarks at the gala before the award was presented to the 2020 Black Engineer of the Year, Lieutenant General Bruce T. Crawford, Chief Information Officer/G6, U.S. Army.
“The past 12 months as Black Engineer of the Year have deeply resonated with me and taught me I never want to stop growing,” continued Mitchell. “My travels throughout the country, speaking with people of all ages and stages, have given me an even deeper understanding of my responsibility and purpose in ensuring I’m more directly engaged in finding paths, opening doors, and helping the underserved discover their potential. For they are people with promise.
“BEYA is a profound platform, and I can’t help but reflect on the blessing this experience has been for me. Those who know me well know I’m basically a behind-the-scenes-kind-of guy. Taking center stage is not what I normally do. So I have to say that crisscrossing the country in the spotlight as an in-demand speaker was a stretch for me. But I wouldn’t have traded a moment of it.
“I had the opportunity to talk strategically and problem-solve with leaders in academia, government, business, and the military. I met with students and wanna-be students, exchanging views, and talking about how to reach their dreams and goals. They told me that to compete, it is vital we marry leadership skills with their engineering education. We immediately saw eye-to-eye on this, because the importance of deepening one’s personal leadership capacity has always been relevant to me.”