Press Release

National Security Community Honors Johns Hopkins APL’s Arribas Starkey-El for Mentoring Leadership

For his deep commitment to mentorship at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Jaime Arribas Starkey-El was recognized by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) with the Edwin H. Land Industry Award. The award celebrates the accomplishments of early- and mid-career professionals who work in industry on intelligence, defense and homeland security issues.

INSA lauded Arribas Starkey-El for developing the skills, capabilities and leadership potential of peers and junior colleagues in the defense, intelligence and homeland security communities.

A data scientist and software engineer in APL’s Asymmetric Operations Sector (AOS), Arribas Starkey-El identifies indicators of threats to the health and safety of civilians and military personnel. He then develops cyber-physical systems, software applications and machine-learning models to automate the detection of these threats and facilitate more effective responses. He has been recognized by Laboratory leadership for furthering APL’s competency in blockchain technology and helping to maintain APL as a thought leader in cybersecurity.

He is also an active mentor and has been involved with the APL Technology Leadership Scholars (ATLAS) program for the past six years. ATLAS is a year-round 10- to 12-week internship program open to undergraduate and graduate students from historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic serving institutions and Tribal colleges and universities. The program embeds interns in technical work groups at APL, providing students with valuable professional development experience and the opportunity to forge meaningful connections. Arribas Starkey-El served as a team member in 2016, co-led the program for two years until 2019 and then led the program until 2021.

“This recognition affirms my core value of service, and I hope it can inspire others,” said Arribas Starkey-El, who in 2021 mentored 11 students from the ATLAS program. “I am very grateful to have been nominated and chosen by the INSA selection committee.”

INSA will recognize Arribas Starkey-El at its INSA Achievement Awards in Arlington, Virginia, on Feb. 16.

STEM Leadership

Upon joining the ATLAS leadership committee, Arribas Starkey-El oversaw an ambitious enhancement of ATLAS’ offerings, including professional development workshops, performance coaching, career panels, mentoring, networking activities and social events. As ATLAS co-lead, he instituted improvements to boost participation in the program and enhance its value to participants. His early initiatives included rebranding and new recruitment efforts and expanding program offerings to improve the intern experience.

Recognizing the variety of STEM work at APL, and determined to reach more students and create more opportunities for professional learning and development, Arribas Starkey-El led the charge in 2018 to open ATLAS to all STEM undergraduate and graduate students year-round. Initially, ATLAS was only open to junior and senior undergraduate students during the summer.

In 2020, ATLAS engaged 164 schools and received eligible applicants from 75 institutions. This was largely due to Arribas Starkey-El’s self-initiated marketing and rebranding efforts, as he helped shape the program into a recognizable brand within the Laboratory as well as in the academic community.

“From his visionary leadership of the ATLAS program to his one-on-one mentoring roles and his contribution as a data scientist, Jaime has had a direct and lasting impact on APL’s contribution to national security,” said Dan Simon, who leads APL’s Cyber-Physical Systems Development Group and nominated Arribas Starkey-El for the INSA award.

Arribas Starkey-El joined APL in 2015 as an engineer as part of the Laboratory’s two-year rotational Discovery Program in which select recent graduates engage in various assignments spanning multiple technical organizations across the Laboratory. In the same year, he was one of two staff members to develop a sensor device called NoverFlow, designed to help municipalities keep better track of waste management. The device was created as part of the AT&T Mobile App Internet of Things Government Solutions Hackathon in Washington, D.C., and garnered three awards, including “Best Government Solution App Overall” and “Best Fleet Management App.”

In 2021, Arribas Starkey-El’s successful efforts to create new paths for others in science, research, technology and development were honored with the Science Spectrum Trailblazer award at the 35th Black Engineer of the Year Awards and STEM Global Competitiveness Conference.