Earlier this week, the Federal Triangle Partnership, consisting of the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, hosted its annual program commemorating the 2013 National Black/African American History Month. The 2013 national theme is “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.”
The keynote speaker was Ms. Gwendolyn Boyd, appointed by President Obama to serve as a Member of the Board of Trustees, Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Ms. Boyd was the 22nd National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the nation’s largest African American public service sorority. She is also an engineer at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff. She has been a prominent advocate for women's equality and for the recruitment of African Americans into science and engineering. In addition to her current responsibilities at APL, she is responsible for the coordination and development of Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) initiatives, which include the implementation of the APL Technology Leaders Summer Internship Program. That program identifies students who aspire to careers in Engineering and Computer Science from HBCU/Minority Serving Institutions and Hispanic Serving Institutions.
Ms. Boyd is a graduate of Yale University’s School of Engineering, where she was the only woman and the only African American among her program's 25 students. She also serves on the ministerial staff at Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in Fort Washington, Maryland.
In her remarks, Ms. Boyd spoke about the importance of empowerment and the fact that so many more opportunities are available to everyone than in previous generations. She challenged the audience to be inspired by previous generations that did so much with fewer opportunities and resources. She encouraged everyone to be mindful of the next generation and to get involved in local community service efforts. For example, she noted, participating in a mentoring program, offering a word of encouragement or serving as a role model can change a young person’s life. She was especially passionate about encouraging children to follow their passions and celebrating their intellectual ability and sparks of curiosity. Ms. Boyd believes that devoting time to the development of future generations emulates what others have done in the past to make the biggest difference in our community and country; and it has the biggest impact on making the world a more empowered place.