For Immediate Release
February 20, 2012
Danielle Hilliard of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., was awarded the Black Engineer of the Year Community Service Award at the organization’s STEM Global Competitiveness Conference on Feb. 18 in Philadelphia.
A project manager in APL’s Air and Missile Defense Department, Hilliard was honored with the award for her volunteer efforts in the community, including work with students in Howard and Prince George’s counties and with the local chapters of the Maryland Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program.
Hilliard joined APL in 2001 and has held a variety of roles, including leading the Standard Missile 3 Block II B program, an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense project, a Missile Defense Agency Sensors program and numerous strategic investment studies for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Outside of work, Hilliard consistently volunteers for many community outreach programs and focuses her efforts on youth and promoting their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
She commits up to 12 hours a week to judge public school STEM competitions in Howard County and Prince George’s County, and helps with activities like Girl Power — an annual APL-sponsored event to familiarize middle and high school girls with STEM careers, which will be held March 11 this year. She also volunteers with programs like MESA, MentorNet and Project Lead the Way. “I have always been interested in community service and began volunteering through my church as a child, helping elderly and homebound people,” says Hilliard. In addition to working with youth, Hilliard also volunteers with the elderly through a Coalition of Geriatric Services program called “Food on the 15th.”
“Ms. Hilliard is a key engineering leader on a cutting-edge, high-technology missile program and is professionally engaged day-to-day in rocket science,” says Thomas Eubanks, APL’s Ballistic Missile Defense program area manager. “Yet, more importantly, she routinely makes time in her ambitious schedule to improve her neighborhood schools and her community.”
Conrad Grant, head of APL’s Air and Missile Defense Department, added that Hilliard “has always amazed me with her ability to make critical contributions to complex technical challenges while carving out personal time for community.”
Hilliard, who has school-aged children, serves on the boards of three parent-teacher associations and as chair of a cultural arts program. She was recently awarded a lifetime membership in the Maryland Parent Teacher Association.
Hilliard attended Tuskegee University, where she served in the volunteer Teacher Cadet program, teaching mathematics to high school students. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in aerospace science engineering, she joined the Army Reserves and started an engineering mentoring program for the Tuskegee Alumni Association, pairing professional engineers with current undergrads to help them choose careers.
The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.