BEYA Team 2023

BEYA ’23 Honors MITRE Standouts in STEM

A record 13 MITRE innovators—the most in our 37-year association with BEYA—earn recognition for their work in science, tech, engineering, and math.

A thought leader in the field of computational social science. A leader working to improve health outcomes for our country’s veterans. A data scientist who works at the intersection of human factors engineering and aviation safety analysis.

These are just three of the 13 MITRE innovators honored at the 37th annual Becoming Everything You Are (BEYA) conference and awards ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 11. The awards recognized the excellence among science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals from underrepresented populations.

This is MITRE’s 37th year partnering with the BEYA Conference and Awards, owned and produced by Career Communications Group.  Since 1985, MITRE has engaged with BEYA in creating and lifting STEM learning and networking, celebrating excellence, and showcasing the career opportunities within these quickly evolving fields.  

Your efforts represent the very best that MITRE has to offer.

Kathleen Federico, SVP, Chief People, Brand, and Communications Officer

“Our initial strategic goal 37 years ago was to increase MITRE’s visibility in the STEM and high-tech communities and create an environment for learning and career development across the STEM field,” says Kathleen Federico, senior vice president, chief people, brand, and communications officer, and opening speaker at this year’s celebration.

“Today, that strategic goal is even more important as we stay committed and engaged with BEYA in our shared work to enhance retention, engagement, and overall representation of underrepresented talent at MITRE and across STEM.”

Celebrating our Awardees

BEYA recognizes dozens of STEM professionals from many companies each year. MITRE’s 13 honorees in 2023 represent the highest number recognized in the history of our BEYA engagement. We feted them with a MITRE-focused celebration, attended by many from senior leadership, MITRE trustees, and award winners’ guests.

BEYA awards spanned several categories, including Modern-Day Technology Leaders; Science Spectrum Trailblazers; the Most Promising Scientist; Outstanding Technical Contribution, and Research Leadership.

The Modern-Day Technology Leader Award recognizes the bright talent shaping the future of engineering, science, and technology. This year’s winners are:

  • Dr. Sabin Ahmed, microeconomics, principal
  • Lariel Feliciano, principal enterprise solutions architect, Enterprise Transition Planning and Execution
  • Abdul Noor, associate biomedical engineer, Emerging Engineering and Physical Sciences
  • Kunal Sarkhel, artificial intelligence, lead, Hazard Identification

The Science Spectrum Trailblazer Award recognizes those cutting new paths for others in science, research, technology, and development. They distinguish themselves by constantly setting their sights higher, striving to innovate and open doors for others. This year’s winners are:

  • Rodney Bollie, Communications Network Engineering lead
  • Corrina Brown, Next Gen Cyber Capabilities group lead
  • Michael Clark, project leader, Applied Mission Solutions
  • Nikki Grimsley, principal group lead, Software Engineering
  • Dr. Nicholas Kasdaglis, project leader, Operational Innovation and Modernization
  • Dr. Ali Obaidi, principal data engineer, Data Environments and Engineering

BEYAs Most Promising Scientist award went to Houda Kerkoub, project lead in Mission Oriented Investigation and Experimentation and senior aviation data scientist for MITRE’s Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) Program. Over the last two years, Kerkoub significantly advanced a human factors-centric research problem identified by the Commercial Aviation Safety Team in 2013—performing innovative research to support the Federal Aviation Administration with its mission to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.

The Outstanding Technical Contribution award was given to Nalini Ambrose, MITRE’s Veterans Affairs (VA) Enterprise Integrated Health Systems and Strategy department manager, for her research in clinical quality and informatics. Ambrose worked to identify, develop, grow, and effectively execute solutions for VA administration and policy challenges.

The award for Research Leadership went to Bianica Pires, lead modeling and simulation engineer. She studies ways to use social simulations to influence policy in a way that impacts the American public across domains such as defense, healthcare, and climate change.

Developing the artificial societies internally enables us to collaborate with and transfer knowledge to our government sponsors.

A Commitment to Excellence: Impact and Support

Each of our awardees exemplifies the rich diversity of background, talent, and experience that enables us to deliver the exceptional value for which MITRE is known. They also recognize the invaluable support they received along the way.

Stephanie Turner, vice president of inclusion, diversity & social innovation, and host for the evening, shared a special thank you to the family, friends, leaders, and colleagues, who have given their support and encouragement to all the awardees. “You play such an important role in the successes of our winners, and we are so grateful that your part of our MITRE community,” she said.

Federico reflected upon the 37 years of impact that our BEYA-MITRE awardees have delivered already: “Having been chosen from so many outstanding nominations, your efforts represent the very best that MITRE has to offer. Each of you has achieved science, technology, engineering, and mathematics excellence that leaves an impact on our company, our colleagues, our sponsors, and the nation.

"As a company founded at the intersection of advanced technology and vital global concerns, it's your ingenuity, tenacity, and commitment to excellence that will continue to drive our organization forward now and in the future.”

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PHOTO: MITRE officers and trustees celebrated our BEYA honors with award winners. They are: front, center: Stephanie Turner, VP, Inclusion, Diversity, and Social Innovation, Bianica Pires, Nikki Grimsley, Julie Bowen, SVP, Operations and Outreach, and Chief Legal Officer; back row, from left: Yosry Barsoum, VP, director, Center for Securing the Homeland, MITRE Trustee Lance Collins, Rodney Bollie, Nicholas Kasdaglis, Abdul Noor, Ali Obaidi, Nalini Ambrose, Kunal Sarkhel, Houda Kerkoub, Sabin Ahmed, Lariel Feliciano, Corrina Brown, Michael Clark, and Cedric Sims, SVP Enterprise Innovation and Integration. (Photo by Nate Hoff)