BEYA 2019 honoree spotlight: Quana Frost
The 2019 Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. from Feb. 7-9. The conference is an annual opportunity for professional training and networking with some of the top engineering employers, as well as a career fair for students seeking professions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). At this year's conference, 10 distinguished Leidos employees will be recognized for their career achievements. Each week leading up to BEYA, we'll profile two of our honorees here on Insights.
Quana Frost has always been intrigued by information technology (IT), a passion that has fueled her pursuit of knowledge as well as her career path.
“Being the imaginative child that I was, I was never satisfied with just the surface level explanation of ‘how things worked.’ I wanted to know how, what, who, and when. After my first introduction to computers, I felt that there was limitless potential to what I could actually make computers do,” she reflects.
After graduating magna cum laude with a B.S. in management information systems at Norfolk State University and magna cum laude with an M.S. in information systems and technology from Johns Hopkins University, Quana began her career in a government intelligence agency before transitioning over to industry.
Her professional roles have ranged from software engineer to team lead to information systems security engineer, but throughout her career she has always focused on applying her knowledge and expertise to keeping the United States safe from adversaries.
“The work that I do is critical to our national security. Striving for excellence ensures that I am doing my part in protecting our nation,” says Quana. “Threats to our national security will be perpetual; hence, there will always be a need to be at least one step ahead of our adversaries. This requires us to be innovative, to constantly learn, and to be the necessary change to keep our country protected. These things, inherently, push us to be excellent and the recognition for them marks that achievement.”
In her current role, Quana has served as the lead of the Protected Key Management Architecture (PKMA) program’s security engineering team for four-and-a-half years. She leads the team, which has numbered as many as 10 at times, to ensure success in meeting all government customer requirements for the PKMA system. During this period, she has led her team through three Development Test and Evaluation (DT&E) tests, several security verification-specific events, and numerous government-led operational assessments.
The recognition from BEYA provides a sense of accomplishment for all the passion and hard work that I put into my career. I am grateful for the honor and recognition and forever indebted to all of my mentors and colleagues who have inspired me along the way. This award highlights an opportunity for me to be the example for the eight year old sitting behind the computer today asking the same questions I used to.
Due to Quana’s leadership, Leidos entered the most recent round of security verification testing on schedule and successfully completed it two weeks ahead of schedule. During a major milestone test event, Quana’s team identified an operating system flaw, and Quana quickly came up with a solution by working with the integration and test teams to create a script that would remedy the flaw. Additionally, she demonstrated the ability to quickly respond to new direction and changing priorities when the government introduced new testing requirements and tools during a critical test event a few days prior to testing.
Overall, the security engineering portion of PKMA has done very well, receiving recognition from the Air Force end-customer at the conclusion of their assessments. The main intelligence customer has also expressed pleasure at the performance of Quana’s team. This is a direct reflection on the efforts that Quana has brought to the program as a scrum master and lead engineer for her team.
In recognition of her exceptional professional accomplishments, Quana will be honored with a Modern-Day Technology Leaders award at the 33rd annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Conference.