Legacy STEM Pioneer: Benjamin Bradley

black STEM pioneersAs a slave in the mid-19th century, Benjamin Bradley was bright and embodied great mechanical talents, according to the University of California Irvine. His master secured a position for Bradley as a helper in Annapolis’ department of Natural and Experimental Philosophy, never realizing the slave would become one the great black STEM pioneers. Of the many inventions he created, one would be the key to unlocking his door to freedom. Using excerpts from James Haskins’ “Outward Dreams: Black Inventors and Their Inventions,” the University of California Irvine reveals that after selling his model steam engine, Bradley was able to build “an engine large enough to drive the first cutter of a sloop-of-war at the rate of sixteen knots an hour.” Literate in algebra and geometry, Bradley eventually used his wages to buy his own freedom.

Today’s STEM Leader: Aressia McDonald

black STEM pioneers

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Though she is still only a few years out of undergraduate work at Jackson State University, Aressia McDonald is one of the next-generation black STEM pioneers to watch. Following only one year of working with Lockheed Martin, McDonald was named the 2016 Lockheed Martin Black Engineer of the Year. As one of today’s innovative black STEM pioneers, McDonald has gained a lot of recognition, as the company’s chairman, president and CEO Marillyn A. Hewson recalled how Lockheed Martin recognized the candidate’s potential immediately. “Like a lot of the people we meet at BEYA (Black Engineer of the Year Awards), Aressia really impressed us. We made her an offer on-the-spot and she accepted a position  as part of our Engineering Leadership Development Program.” There is no doubt her success will continue and we will see great contributions from McDonald in the future.