Leading Leidos Women: 18 to be honored at Women of Color STEM Conference
18 Leidos employees – the largest cohort in company history – will be recognized at the 2020 Women of Color (WOC) STEM conference and awards Oct. 8-10 in Detroit, Mich. Two will be honored with Technology Rising Star awards, 14 with Technology All-Star awards, one with the Outstanding Technical Contribution in Industry award, and one with the Professional Achievement in Industry.
The WOC STEM conference and awards are focused on the development of women in STEM careers and ensure that the superior achievements and importance of these outstanding women are highly visible to all conference participants. Our 18 winners embody the very best of Leidos – commitment, innovation, and excellence in their field. It’s fitting that our largest cohort of winners to date will represent Leidos at the 25th anniversary of the conference.
Read more about the 18 esteemed women below:
Outstanding Technical Contribution in Industry
Dr. Carol Brevett, Principal Scientist
Dr. Brevett demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to technological achievement as well as serving as a role model and inspiration to the advancement of women in science and technology. She says that she is motivated by the challenge of solving a problem and implementing a solution.
Professional Achievement in Industry
Dr. Rayna Matsuno, Life Scientist
Dr. Matsuno's inspiration for her role as Lead Epidemiologist comes from her late father. "Even though my dad passed away nearly ten years ago, he continues to be the biggest influence on my career. When he was diagnosed with metastatic bladder cancer in 2010, I was still a doctoral student studying cancer epidemiology. Every day, I’d walk from the cancer center where I worked to the hospital where my dad was receiving care. He passed away in his sleep just a month before I successfully defended my dissertation. That experience gave my career a whole new meaning, and everything I do now is, in some way, me honoring my dad."
Josina Woodruff, Engineering Manager
Josina serves as the Deputy Chief Engineer and Systems Engineering Lead for a contract with the U.K. Office for National Statistics and Northern Ireland Research and Statistics Agency. She encourages people interested in pursuing a STEM career to “go for it because the opportunities within STEM are endless and there is something for everyone.”
Vasu Peterson, Solutions Architect
Vasu’s first solution architect assignment was in 2015, where she networked across Leidos to identify and understand innovative engineering concepts beneficial to her program, which propelled her into a career as a lead engineer on multiple projects. She simultaneously serves as a subject matter expert for developing solutions for large complex environmental performance-based remediation proposals.
DeChanta Walker, Enterprise Services Manager
DeChanta has delivered enterprise IT solutions and services to federal customers for more than 30 years. She has managed projects and programs covering as many as 70,000 end users with 300+ staff, technologies from workstations to networks, and services from mission applications to support systems.
Rita Chavez, PRoject Manager
For the past 10 years, Rita has served as the Leidos program manager for a highly technical and mission-critical program. In support of her community, Rita volunteers in her local school system, coaches Odyssey of the Mind and Lego Robotics teams, and helps to raise money for academic scholarships in the Philippines.
Letisha Spaulding-Smith, Information Systems Security Officer
Over the past 20 years, Letisha has worked in a variety of IT roles in the public and private sector. She started her professional career in the United States Army. In 2018 Letisha joined Leidos, where she currently serves as an information systems security officer and cybersecurity engineer in support of the 1st Armored Division.
Candace Ellerbe, Test Manager
Candace has over 17 years of experience in testing and quality assurance roles in information technology and industrial production environments for the government agencies and commercial clients. She currently supports the VA Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP) Integration Support and Software Support Services program as a Functional/Business Systems Analyst and Test Manager.
Stephanie Alley, Intelligence Analyst
Originally from Laos, Stephanie is a long-standing veteran member of the Leidos Toponymist (Human Geography Linguist) and GeoNames team. She constantly advises fellow Toponymists on effective processes and procedures, in addition to reassuring new team members of the importance our team plays in mission satisfaction.
Arlene York, TRICARE Global Training Manager
Arlene has more than 19 years of experience supporting the TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP). She has placed great value in mentoring in her career and enjoys training, sharing information, and helping others to be the best that they can be, just as her managers have believed in her.
Vanessa Smith, Project Manager
Vanessa has over 20 years of combined experience in the field of Information Technology and Services. She has a proven track record of delivering critical, high-visibility projects where the results often exceed client expectations. Her passion for her field stemmed from her first BASIC computer programming class in high school.
Sandra McDaniel, Software Design Engineer
The Key Management System (KMI) Sandra supports is an agile development program with a steady stream of new customer requirements and challenging deadlines. Sandra’s technical proficiency on this highly complex and distributed system began several years ago as a system engineer assigned to a multifaceted software development team, where she was responsible for analyzing government requirements and generating user stories for agile programmers.
Nicole Mathern, Aeronautical Analyst
Nicole developed a strong sense of community and country and enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school, going on to serve and receive multiple honorable positions and awards including several Army Achievement awards, the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Aviation Badge, and the Army Leadership Award. Now, as an Aeronautical Terminals Specialist on the FLIP program, Nicole processes aeronautical safety of navigation updates to DoD terminal publications.
Donna Jones, Senior Systems Engineer
Donna has a proven track record for outstanding technical leadership in her more than 30 year career as a Systems Engineer and manager on both domestic and international Air Traffic Management programs. She started her career as a Reliability, Maintainability, and Availability (RMA) system engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Host Computer System (HCS), which was the first FAA modernization program to replace approximately 25-year old technology. She currently supports the Transportation Solutions business development and capture team.
Melissa Strohmeyer, Engineering Director
Melissa has more than ten years of proven outstanding technical leadership and expertise, serving on projects including the FBI Next Generation Identification program, International Air Traffic Management SkyLine organization, and now the Terminal Flight Data Manager program. She is an effective leader who fosters an inclusive environment in her organization, drives teamwork, and knows how to develop a trusting relationship built on performance and integrity.
Surafiel Berek, Software Engineer
Surafiel leads the 30-person Leidos Aviation Safety Management System Environment (ASKME) Program team, which developed a unifying capability for safety stakeholders across the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Aviation Industry to automate the management of complex workflows that track airworthiness safety directives and certification of aircraft components and systems prior to deployment in the National Airspace System.
Technology Rising Star
Audrey Lambert, Deputy Program Manager
As the Deputy Program Manager for the Army Corps of Engineers Information Technology (ACE IT) contract, Audrey is responsible for the operational support of the cyber, enterprise service desk, and field operations teams that provide enterprise-wide services to more than 37,000 end users. Prior to her current role, she served as the senior manager for the project management team on the ACE-IT program. Outside Leidos, she volunteers at Manna House and House of Harvest, two organizations that provide meals and food to those less fortunate, and the Bridge Ministry, which provides Sunday church services for the homeless.
Technology Rising Star
Regina Cer, Bioinformatics Division Chief
Regina has more than a decade of wet lab experience in DNA sequencing and molecular cloning. She also has many years of hands-on bioinformatics experience in high-throughput next generation sequencing, data analysis, databases, and visualization. Through Regina’s work supporting the Naval Medical Research Center’s Biological Defense Research Directorate and her contributions to the peer-reviewed paper “Characterizing Phage Genomes for Therapeutic Applications”, she has been instrumental in the development of a cutting-edge approach to submitting potentially life-saving bacteriophage therapies for the Federal Drug Administration’s approval.