How I Became an Engineer – US Black Engineer


Trena Lilly has two decades of experience analyzing naval offensive and defensive weapons, sensors and combat systems. Its operational analytics are used to provide government decision makers with the critical information they need to make decisions that affect the future of the U.S. Navy. (Photo credit: Johns Hopkins University APL)

In recognition of her dedicated service to the combatant, Lilly was elected a Fellow of the Military Operations Research Society (MORS). She is the first black woman to hold the position of president of a section of the MORS. She also represents the values ​​of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as a senior professional staff member.

“My mother was an educator, so I developed a love for learning very early in life,” Lilly said while receiving the John D. Harris II Legacy Award at the BEYA STEM conference in February. “She was also a single mother of four, so watching her work every day taught me the importance of hard work and dedication. I also have a natural curiosity. I want to understand how things work and what can go wrong. be done to improve them. Thus, engineering became a natural choice for me. My mother is no longer with us but her influence is still felt. I thank the Johns University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Hopkins for the opportunity to continue to learn and influence future technologies.”

According to the APL at Johns Hopkins University, alongside its technical leadership, Lilly has led several successful initiatives to foster diversity and inclusion at the APL. She was a member of the Laboratory’s Women and Minorities Advisory Council and the Employee Resource Group on Promoting Unity and Empowering Staff; led the creation of the APL’s “Light the FUSE” award for excellence in diversity and inclusion, and participates in community activities through the Lab’s STEM Program Management Office.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in engineering mathematics from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Lilly holds master’s degrees in systems engineering from George Washington University and technical management from University of Maryland University College.

John D. Harris most recently served as Vice President of Business Development for Raytheon Company and General Manager of Raytheon International, Inc., where he oversaw worldwide sales and marketing, international affairs and government relations. He was also responsible for developing and leading the execution of Raytheon’s global business strategy.

Harris joined Raytheon in 1983. Throughout his career he has held positions of increasing responsibility. In 2010, when he received the Black Engineer of the Year award, he was named President of Raytheon Technical Services Company.

Harris was Raytheon’s Executive Diversity Champion from 2007-2008, leading the executive diversity leadership team and providing strategic direction for the company’s overall diversity and inclusion efforts.

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