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August 28, 2014

APL Staff Members Receive Women of Color Technology Awards

Dawnielle Farrar-Gaines
Nykia Jackson

Dawnielle Farrar-Gaines (top) and Nykia Jackson (bottom) will receive 2014 Women of Color Technology Awards for their accomplishments in STEM-related fields. (Image credit: JHU/APL)

Two staff members of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory will receive 2014 Women of Color Technology Awards for their accomplishments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related fields.

Dawnielle Farrar-Gaines of the Research and Exploratory Development Department, and Nykia Jackson of Asymmetric Operations, will be among those honored in October during the 19th Annual Women of Color STEM Conference in Detroit.

Farrar-Gaines, a senior electrical and materials engineer, received a Technical Innovation-Industry award. During her 14 years at APL, she has provided creative solutions to problems across many disciplines, including micro- and nano-materials, piezoelectric and multifunctional materials, sensors, microscopy, microelectronics, and packaging. Particularly notable is her work on middle ear technologies to advance hearing restoration; her management of the microelectromechanical systems electronics box and radiator project; and her leadership in the development of a piezoelectric composite used to reduce noise in aircraft engines during takeoff and landing.

“These are but a few examples of the technically innovative projects that Dr. Farrar has led or made significant contributions to,” said APL’s Dale Clemons, who nominated Farrar-Gaines for the award. “Her technical passion, particularly in the field of biomedical-related materials science, has served her and the community extremely well.”

Farrar-Gaines is also a professor at the Johns Hopkins University G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering. She has authored or coauthored more than 30 papers, holds one patent (with four pending), and has produced a book chapter. She volunteers for a variety of outreach efforts. She has five degrees: a Ph.D. and an M.S. in materials science and engineering, as well as an M.S. in electrical and computer engineering, from Johns Hopkins; a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park; and a B.S. in physics from Lincoln University.

Jackson, an engineer with extensive experience in image processing and feature tracking algorithms, was selected as a 2014 Technology Rising Star. She served as an intern in the APL Technology Leadership Scholars (ATLAS) program in 2000, and returned to the Laboratory in 2008 as a systems engineer in the Applied Information Sciences Department. She is now a project manager in Asymmetric Operations, overseeing tasks to identify and evaluate commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and near-COTS detection technologies for improvised explosive devices. Jackson is also the coordinator for the ATLAS program, which this summer experienced a twofold increase in participants. She has a B.S. and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Morgan State University and an M.S. in applied biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins.

Media contact: Paulette Campbell, 240-228-6792,

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