Dr. Nandi Leslie’s trailblazing journey as a mathematician at Raytheon earned her recognition as this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Technical Contribution in Industry Award at the BEYA Gala held on February 15 in Washington D.C. The award is granted to individuals in the workforce and they are nominated for these awards by their employers.
Dr. Leslie is the first black woman to achieve the honor of Engineering Fellow at Raytheon. That means she is in the top 3 percent of all Raytheon engineers. Leslie is helping to develop cybersecurity solutions to protect America from ever-emerging threats. An expert in several advanced, technical fields, such as 5G, AI, data analytics and cybersecurity, she is continuously called upon to provide her counsel and technical acumen on R&D programs, business pursuits and customer programs.
Dr. Leslie also applies her leadership, innovation, and wisdom outside the workplace. She has published more than 40 papers, including in the IEEE Globecom.
In her spare time, she went to Senegal in West Africa, to teach a graduate school course on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cybersecurity to masters’ degree students at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences.
“My parents are professors,” Leslie said during her acceptance speech at the 2020 BEYA Gala. “My mom is a sociologist, and my dad is a mathematician. I have six siblings—five of them are older than me, and all are professionals with degrees in law, computer science, mathematics education, political science, chemistry, and philosophy. My family has helped shape my academic and career paths. They have consistently expressed that higher education can yield financial growth and successes in my life and, more broadly, in the African American community. I became an applied mathematician in hopes that my quantitative insights and predictive analytics will promote a more sustainable, clean, and just society. Thank you for recognizing my hopes and dreams.”