VICKSBURG, Miss. – From studying how fish can protect Soldiers to supporting tactical military planning, four researchers at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) have been honored with Women of Color (WOC) STEM awards — an annual, national-level recognition of significant contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Vickey Moore, Dr. Reena Patel and Lulu Edwards were selected as WOC Technology All-Star Award winners, while Barbara Pilate was awarded the New Media Leadership Award in Government.
For Moore, a research computer scientist in the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL), news of the award came with a mix of emotions.
“I was surprised, grateful, yet humbled to be recognized with such an honor of this magnitude,” Moore said. “The WOC Technology All-Star award doesn’t only signify my service, but is a testament of the excellent opportunities being afforded, as well as the positive team support I’ve encountered throughout my career at ERDC.”
The Port Gibson, Mississippi, native earned her bachelor’s from Alcorn State University and her master’s from Mississippi State University. At the ERDC, she has led a $5 million per year effort to research military ground vehicle performance and analysis, as well as led a team to develop explosive threat representations.
Patel, a research mathematician in ITL, is originally from India, where she received a master’s in mathematics and a bachelor’s in science from Bangalore University, before earning a doctorate from Mississippi State University.
“I am humbled to be considered among this amazing group of women,” Patel said. “I find the opportunity of working with a diverse range of scientists and engineers very rewarding, and I’m excited to be a part of teams that deal with solving challenging problems.”
Patel’s research was inspired by the paddlefish, a freshwater fish with a long, paddle-like cartilage snout that can withstand tough stresses and dissipate energy. She leads a team of researchers who use mathematical models to develop strong, yet lightweight structural systems — much like the snout of the paddlefish — to protect American Soldiers.
Lulu Edwards, a research engineer in the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, grew up in Starkville, Mississippi, and earned a bachelor’s from Mississippi State University and a master’s from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.