February 14, 2022
Mizzou Engineering has formed a new Inclusivity, Diversity and Equity Alumni Advisory Council to advise faculty and staff within the college on programmatic IDE initiatives. The group will serve as a resource for retreats, gatherings and open forums while also helping raise funds to support IDE initiatives.
“We’re grateful to this group of outstanding professionals who are committed to supporting our students,” said Noah Manring, Dean and Ketcham Professor. “We look forward to learning from their experiences and incorporating their ideas into our curriculum and programming.”
Members of the Council include:
Dr. Ward Chambers (EE ’67) is a Cardiologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Professor in the Department of Health Services Research and Administration in the College of Public Health. His research interests include health economics, workplace wellness strategies and patient education. Chambers is currently a consultant for the Federal Aviation Administration Medical Certification Division and Executive Director of International Health and Medical Education at UNMC.
“While there there are many moral reasons for our diversity efforts there is also a practical one,” Chambers said. “We cannot make maximum progress as a society if we exclude a significant intellectual proportion of our population from education.“
Kevin Johnson (BS ME ’87) is Vice President at Gillette, where he leads the legal department. After graduating from Mizzou, Johnson earned a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City before working as a patent attorney at P&G in various business categories, including an international business assignment in Europe. In his current role, he is heavily involved in leading the ally network supporting minority employees at P&G/Gillette in Boston.
“I’m honored to be a member of the Advisory Council,” Johnson said. “IDE is a passion for me.”
Craig Lalumandier (BS EE, BS CE ’89) is a Group Vice President in Charter Communications (Spectrum) Information Technology organization, where he participated in the largest merger ever in the cable industry. He has also worked in IT management and consulting, participating in numerous domestic and international initiatives across a variety of industries. Lalumandier is a member and Past President of the Mizzou Alumni Association.
“Diversity and inclusion should be at the forefront in everything we do today,” he said. “It provides a better environment for everyone and ultimately facilitates better ideas and solutions. I am excited to work with the other committee members to leverage my experiences to enhance those opportunities for our students and reinforce our school as a world class Engineering institution.”
Dr. Sharon Langenbeck (BS MAE ’74, MS MAE ’76, PhD MAE ’79) is President of Zonta International, a service organization that advocates for the equity, equality, education and improved conditions for women and girls around the world. She retired from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2008 where she was the section manager for mechanical engineering and a project element manager for the mechanical systems division. She is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at Mizzou Engineering.
“I am interested in sharing my professional and volunteer experiences to help Mizzou Engineering develop a meaningful and successful IDE program,” Langenbeck said.
Andre Logan (BS IE ’01) is Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Office of the Chancellor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Previously, he served as Chief Operating Officer at Portals Luxury Hardware. He earned an MBA with an International Business emphasis in 2010 from Rockhurst University. He serves on a number of Boards, including as Treasurer of Uplift Organization Inc. and American Cancer Society’s North Region Chairman’s Circle.
“I understand the importance of supporting and encouraging students before, during, and after college,” Logan said. “There are a number of ways alumni and professionals can be helpful to the success of students. Through my experience and desire to help students remove historical barriers, I feel my work on the IDE Alumni Advisory Council will help the college of engineering grow the underrepresented student body and focus on the success of those students.”
Michael E. Melton (BS EE ’81, JD ’84) is President and CEO of MEM Enterprises Group in Atlanta. Over the course of his career, he has worked as an engineer, attorney and business executive who is recognized as a legal and business leader who incorporates the viewpoints and skillsets of diverse individuals to achieve success. Previously, he worked in intellectual property law departments at Texas Instruments, MCI, Pitney Bowes and Motorola.
“I believe that inclusion, diversity and equity programs assist every student, faculty member and employee live each day as their true selves,” he said. “This creates an environment with higher degrees of engagement, learning, productivity and innovation.”
Adriana S. Ocampo (BS IE ’96) is Senior Manager of Portfolio Management & Strategy for Boeing’s Global Technical Operations. She serves on the National Board of Directors of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Board of High Tech High Heels North Texas. She is also on the Industrial Advisory Board of the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering and a member of the IMSE Hall of Fame.
“Women and ethnic minorities remain underrepresented in STEM fields,” Ocampo said. “It’s imperative to better understand the beliefs and experiences of underrepresented students pursuing STEM. Their mentorship experiences, environmental and psychological factors associated with participants’ decision to pursue STEM, such as family influences, academic mindsets, and attitudes towards STEM. Studies have shown that students who meet a STEM professional of their own gender and ethnicity are more encouraged to pursue STEM education. Similarly, media exposure to gender and ethnicity-matched STEM professionals are an effective encouragement as well.”
Dr. Sheri Smithey (PhD, AgE ’93) is Senior Vice President of the Nestle Purina Global R&D Network, having served in a number of roles at Nestle Purina PetCare for nearly 27 years. She is active in mentorship programs, including STEM outreach initiatives. Among her many career achievements, Smithey is known for identifying and developing talented individuals and supporting the growth of regional businesses with targeted innovations. She has received numerous awards, including the 2020 Missouri Honor Award from Mizzou Engineering and the 2021 Column Award for Distinguished Alumni from the College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources.
“All aspects of diversity are important,” Smithey said. “Diversity of thought, background, experiences, gender, orientation and culture makes us better whether it is in families, organizations, companies and countries. In engineering, fostering diversity starts early by encouraging and supporting individuals across different demographics by sharing the potential vectors of engineering careers and a path to success. The University has a key role to play in developing individuals in this process.”
Evelyn Watson (EE ’04) is Director of Continuous Improvement for Perdue Farms. Over her career, she has held manufacturing operations and engineering roles at various consumer product goods organizations and has worked with General Mills, Nestle and Pactiv. Throughout her career, she has focused on increasing the number of minority engineers by working closely with company IDE teams, mentoring and creating a minority-based scholarship at Mizzou.
“I am excited to join the IDE Advisory team to continue the work of increasing and supporting minority engineering students,” she said. “I remember the impact diversity and support had on my journey and want to be a part of that for generations to come.”
Michael Watson (CS/IT ’06) is Configuration Systems Analyst Principle at Ceridian Inc, a global human capital management software company. In addition to his role at Ceridian, he manages a diverse business portfolio under the MRKTBrands group of companies and serves as Co-Founder of BlackBrik Capital. Prior to Ceridian, Michael served as an IT Operations Management Software Consultant with ConfigureTek in the Greater Atlanta area.
“I am thrilled to join the IDE Advisory team as its work is critical to making Mizzou Engineering a more inclusive and diverse environment that prepares students of all backgrounds for success in the Engineering disciplines,” Watson said.