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ON THE SHELF - Reviewed by Robin Tatu

Ray Haynes

Ray Haynes

Drum Major for Diversity


As an engineer and educator, Ray “Doc” Haynes was destined to devote his career to championing diversity. It’s literally in his DNA: Cherokee (Deer Clan) on his mom’s side, Mexican on his dad’s. “Diversity was part of my life from birth,” explains the retired Northrop Grumman recruiter and Cal Poly professor, who grew up on the border in Nogales, Ariz. Ditto engineering—his father, uncle, and brother were all engineers. “I basically followed the family profession,” says Haynes, who earned a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Arizona, then rounded out his education with a master’s in systems engineering, an M.B.A., and a Ph.D. in operations research management. “I just wanted to be called ‘doc’ like my grandfather and namesake.”

Coming from a diverse community taught Haynes the importance of helping people overcome their differences by treating them with “respect and honesty.” It also may have buffered him from discrimination as he climbed the corporate ladder as an engineer and manager. (Haynes did encounter segregation, however; his parents had just enrolled him in third grade in their hometown of Claremore, Okla., when the principal came in and asked his teacher to move him to the “Indian” classroom.) On leave from TRW to teach in Cal Poly’s graduate engineering management program from 1989 to 1999, Haynes saw the need to “reach further down the education pipeline to find future engineers” and to encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to pursue engineering. He has worked tirelessly toward that goal ever since, not only on ASEE’s leadership team but also as an adviser to minority engineering and science associations, industry, and schools. Now retired, Haynes continues to push the K-12 envelope as STEM education director for DaVinci Schools, a group of industry-sponsored startup California charter schools that combine project-based learning with college-prep curriculum, internships, and student presentations. Middle school students, for instance, might build trebuchets to solve quadratic equations, or create flash animations to analyze projectile paths. Haynes also is forging K-12 STEM opportunities at Arizona’s Cochise College. Diversity, he says, is like any other design challenge. In his experience, “a sense of humor and ready smile helps to bridge any real and/or perceived differences in individuals and goes a long way towards mitigating the challenges of working, living, and studying together.”


AdamsStephanie Adams

Leader and Mentor


Whether it’s for veterans, women, minorities, or the odd person out in a team project, Stephanie Adams will figure out a way to make engineering education work. She might urge colleges to award course credit for military technical training, for instance, or tell professors they can’t just stick three or five students together and expect a seamless unit. If there’s a theme that runs through the career of this interdisciplinary engineer and ASEE leader, it’s a commitment to the student whose promise might get overlooked in the normal course of things, to the detriment of both the student and engineering. Mentoring figures high in her approach, as underscored by the Holling Teaching/Advising/Mentoring Award she received during her decade at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “I would not be where I am today without a whole lot of people,” Adams says. “Therefore, I have an obligation to help those behind me, both professionals and students.”

The daughter of educators – her father’s climb into college administration took the family from Virginia Beach, Va., to Syracuse, N.Y., and then to South Bend, Ind. – Adams at first hoped to become a doctor, then got excited about biomedical engineering while recovering from knee surgery in the ninth grade. She went on to major in mechanical engineering. After a series of internships at 3M Corp., her interests turned toward systems and industrial engineering, and then to education. Her doctorate at Texas A&M combined engineering, management, and education, giving Adams the language to express as an educator “things that I knew intuitively.” With a break for a National Science Foundation/AAAS fellowship in Washington, she moved between teaching, administration, and research at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and Old Dominion University and now heads the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering. Her series of awards over the years includes the 2008 DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award from ASEE. A gregarious yet forceful presence at ASEE conferences, Adams chairs the Public Interest Council I and is nearing the end of a two-year term on the Board of Directors. She will serve on the Nominating Committee next year. Expect to see her playing key roles at ASEE into the future.

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