Ms. Lisa Laurendine from the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) was recently honored as the 2018 third quarter winner of the Department of Defense (DoD) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education and Outreach Advocate of the Quarter Award. Laurendine was recognized for demonstrating exemplary STEM education and outreach advocacy in her community in support of the Department’s STEM mission to inspire the next generation of young Americans.
In terms of K-12 initiatives, Laurendine currently serves as the MDA STEM Program Champion for its supported program, Society for Science & the Public fairs. These are national science and engineering fair competitions for students in Grades 5-12 designed to inspire the nation's young scientists, engineers, and innovators. Laurendine serves as an internal resource for potential volunteers, answering questions about volunteer roles and duties, recruiting volunteers, and providing onsite support for volunteers on activity day.
Additionally, Laurendine established the Alabama Modeling and Simulation Council Special Award in 2007, which is presented at the Alabama Science and Engineering Fair. Through her participation over the past 10 years, wherein she reaches out to local and state students each year, she has helped promote Alabama youth interest in modeling and simulation and, by extension, the growth of the modeling and simulation industry in Alabama.
Laurendine has also supported many college STEM initiatives, including leading the effort to select seven engineering students for the 2017 Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation Scholarship for Service Program. In her mentorship role, Laurendine established site visits to missile defense hardware and platforms to provide interns an authentic learning experience detailing the overarching critical technologies of the Ballistic Missile Defense System and the vital role engineers play in ensuring mission success.
Laurendine has also supported the NASA/Orbital ATK Launch Contest, in which 40 college teams participated and networked with the NASA Lead to coordinate MDA STEM involvement for Fiscal Year 2018. By nurturing young minds and attracting new hires to MDA, she helps establish the talent base for the future workforce.
Laurendine’s dedication towards STEM advocacy and her ability to engage students of all academic levels has helped MDA and the Department advance in its STEM-related mission and goals. Her work continues to inspire and secure the Nation’s future workforce talent of innovators and researchers who will develop cutting-edge technology solutions to help solve the most critical technological challenges.