Tamara Crawford Wins Trailblazer Award

Alumna was also selected for competitive leadership program at Lockheed Martin

Tamara Crawford

As both a woman and a minority, Tamara Crawford has been a trailblazer in the world of professional engineering. And this month, the University of Mississippi alumna will receive a prestigious national award honoring her achievements.

Crawford (BSME 02) is the winner of 2014 Black Engineer of the Year Outstanding Achievement Award-Science Spectrum Trailblazer. This honor recognizes individuals who are shaping the future of engineering, science and technology. She will received the award during BEYA’s annual meeting Feb. 6-8 in Washington, D.C.

Recognized as those who not only continuously seek innovative products or lines of thought by breaking new ground in their careers, ‘Trailblazers’ award recipients are men and women who also actively create new paths for others in science, research, technology and development. Regardless of their career point, they distinguish themselves by constantly setting their sights higher, striving to innovate and open doors for others.

“It was surprising to learn I was nominated by my manager because our team had been recently restructured and we had only worked together for a short time,” Crawford said. “This award has served as a reminder to continue my endeavor of excellence because you never know who is watching.”

A Black Engineer of the Year Award is regarded as one of the national benchmarks of recognition in the engineering profession.

“This award differs from previous honors as it transcends gender and career levels to recognize my contribution to not only the engineering profession, but also provides validation that I am making a positive impact on the lives of others,” Crawford said. “Service is inextricably woven into the tapestry of my life. I must give back. I love witnessing the ‘light bulb’ moments for younger people … the realization they can be creators of technology, not merely consumers of it.”Crawford was also selected as a member of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Advanced Technical Leadership Program. ATLP exists to develop future technical leaders for Lockheed Martin Corp. The purpose of the two-year program is to accelerate the technical, professional and leadership development of selected intermediate career-level individuals through stretch assignments, strategic research projects, training, mentoring and networking.

The program’s four major components are stretch assignments, a strategic research project, community service and training. Additionally, ATLP participants attend periodic learning and networking conferences and participate in a mentoring relationship as a mentee to someone in higher levels of leadership within Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

Candidates were considered from across the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics locations in Texas, California and Georgia. Crawford’s credentials, nomination and panel interview performance solidified her qualification for this exclusive leadership development opportunity.

Crawford credits her Ole Miss engineering education for her success.

“I knew that an engineering degree earned from the University of Mississippi would be respected globally,” she said. “Ole Miss provides its students an amazing juxtaposition of experiencing a world-class education in your own backyard.”

The partnering of rigorous engineering study in a liberal arts environment has proven immensely beneficial to Crawford and her career, she said.

“Upon graduation, I was prepared as an engineer and a leader,” Crawford said. “Innovation, teamwork and the art of effective communications are key skills I developed as a students and continue to demonstrate as a professional.”

She serves on the Ole Miss Engineering Advisory Board and also serves as a Lockheed Martin representative on the board of directors for Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering, a statewide nonprofit organization that provides K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs to Texas students.