ERDC Scientist earns Black Engineer of the Year Award

Published 3:44 pm Monday, February 20, 2023

Abdul Mohamed, a researcher from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), was recently chosen to receive a 2023 Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA).

The BEYA recognizes African American scientists and engineers around the country who are shaping the future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as promoting diversity and inclusion in the STEM pipeline.

Mohamed, a computer scientist in the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) Scientific Software Branch, has been an employee of the ERDC for 19 years. He was awarded the Modern-Day Technology Leader Award and received recognition virtually at the 2023 BEYA STEM Conference during the Technology Recognition Event on Friday, February 10. 

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“I felt honored and surprised when I found out that I received this award,” Mohamed said. “It is definitely gratifying to be recognized by your colleagues.”

As a college undergraduate student, Mohamed attended a BEYA conference and career fair where he was able to gain experience by interviewing for a summer internship. 

“To receive this award makes me feel like my professional career has come full circle,” he said.

Mohamed’s love for STEM began in high school when he discovered that he enjoyed numbers. He thought of pursuing an accounting degree, but while he was in the dual degree program at Jackson State University, he decided to major in mathematics. Later, he received his computer engineering degree from Mississippi State University. 

Mohamed’s advice to African American students interested in STEM is to take advantage of all available resources.

“Local community organizations or schools may offer in-person workshops or summer programs to expose African Americans to STEM,” he said. “Establishing a solid foundation in STEM at a young age will definitely help in the long run.”

In his day-to-day role, Mohamed works in application development — which spans from web applications to desktop client applications. He is excited about a new cutting-edge technology called edge computing — an architecture that offers computation and data storage closer to the data source. 

“ITL recently announced that a new Edge Computing Facility will be completed soon, which will enhance our visibility in this growing space,” Mohamed said.

“Every day when I come to work, I am able to serve my country from a civilian perspective,” he added. “It’s interesting and fulfilling to work on projects that help support the mission of our warfighters. I’m not out in the field as an active military person — I’m playing a behind-the-scenes role, and I’m happy with that.”

Mohamed credits his team and supervisors for creating an awesome work environment at ERDC. 

“We just have a good time working with each other and are constantly learning and trying and solve problems,” he said.

“I am glad to see young scientists within the ERDC recognized on a national level such as this,” said Dr. David Pittman, director of the ERDC. “It speaks well of Abdul, ITL and our organization.”