ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (October 15, 2015) - An Army senior engineer was recognized as a 2015 STEM Military/Civilian Hero for his commitment to protecting the warfighter and promoting education and outreach, during the 27th Annual Hispanic Engineers National Achievement Awards Conference, or HENAAC, Oct. 15.
Great Minds in STEM, a non-profit organization that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, educational awareness programs for students from kindergarten to career, recognized Dr. John Suarez, a senior research engineer at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, for his outstanding technical achievements.
“Working with STEM programs has given me the ability to do something greater than myself,” Suarez said. “It is an honor to be celebrated in the Hispanic community and a privilege to serve the Army and the youth of our generation.”
As a child, Suarez found interest in becoming an engineer but often thought it was out of reach. “I never exceled at math and science in school so I knew I had to work harder to get where I needed to be,” he said.
While most kids his age were playing sports and getting together with friends, Suarez was hitting the books and honing his knowledge of math and science to ensure his dream of becoming an engineer came true. “Being honored as an engineer is something I never thought I’d be able to achieve, but is proof that hard work and determination can pay off.”
He hopes the same determination will ring true for the children he mentors. In his role with STEM education and outreach, Suarez uses his own upbringing for inspiration to help children tackle obstacles that may be in the way of their goals. “Helping someone in their journey and letting them know that big things can happen no matter what the circumstances may be is an important aspect of being a role model,” he said.
Suarez said volunteering in the STEM education and outreach programs allows him to extend beyond his everyday job and give freely with encouragement and creativity.
Over the last several years, Suarez has participated in annual conferences, workshops and information sessions that help students make informed decisions on their STEM career path and educational options. He has also served as a judge for competitive research projects for college-bound students.
“John’s commitment to STEM education and outreach is admirable,” said Ralph Troisio, supervisory electronics engineer for CERDEC’s Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate. “He provides exemplary skills and resourcefulness, which are sufficient to warrant recognition and I am proud to have nominated him for the prestigious award.”
Suarez has an extensive educational background in radio-frequency electrical engineering and primarily performs technical research and development in support of Soldiers.
His abilities are highly applicable to the various disciplines comprising the Army mission of protecting soldiers both at home and abroad, said Moses Mingle, senior staff engineer at CERDEC I2WD.
“John has demonstrated the ability to analyze and interpret military needs, and find technical solutions to satisfy those needs,” Mingle said. “A leader in more ways than one, John is an inspiration to subordinates, peers and superiors.”
In 2014, Suarez received a patent for his work on optical interference cancellation, and has applied for six patents across several different areas of electronics, control systems and instrumentation.
Suarez said his mission for the future minds of CERDEC, young and old, is to ensure they take pride in what they do.
“One day you could design a technology that could save a soldier’s life,” Suarez said. “That’s engineering with a purpose and something to be proud of.”
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