Press Release

APL Systems Engineer, Cybersecurity Expert Receives Women of Color Technology Award

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 14:57

Melissa Wong, a systems engineer and cybersecurity expert at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Maryland, has been awarded the 2017 Women of Color Award for her accomplishments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related fields.

Introduced in 1987, the Women of Color STEM recognition program is designed to create a network of role models who can serve as inspiration to others, and provide women and ethnic minority groups with better access to STEM careers by showing them what it takes to get hired and to keep moving upward in their organizations.

Wong, whose award is in the “Special Recognition” category, is a former U.S. Air Force Captain who has also worked as a civil servant with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Security Agency, and as a contractor with Lockheed Martin. She joined APL in 2005 and has had a significant impact as a STEM professional and a leader supporting mission-critical government programs.

She led a team of 10 engineers to develop a new networking equipment modeling and simulation capability, incorporating real-time hardware-in-the-loop. This effort was lauded by the sponsor as an example of how best to run this type of program, and it was measured against 50 other such programs. As the assistant program manager for APL’s Global Data Fusion efforts, Wong led a large portion of the organization to provide critical software capabilities and inputs to the Multi-Intelligence Working Group.

“Ms. Wong is a tremendous example of the power of women and minority professionals in the technology fields,” wrote APL’s Eric Naber in nominating Wong for the honor. “Her technical contributions have enabled tangible operational impacts for our sponsors [and] her leadership has moved teams to accomplish more than they thought possible.”

Ms. Wong earned a Bachelor of Science in computer and systems engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University, and a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.

She is the latest in a long line of APL staff members who have been recognized with Women of Color Awards, including — most recently — Camille Daniel (2016) and Xiomara Calderón-Colón, Gina Marshall-Johnson and Deanna Green.