The critical engineering work of Dennisa Thomas

Sandia’s Dennisa Thomas spoke to IEEE Spectrum about her life as a systems engineer:

“When information about what you are doing is privileged—classified—you can’t talk about it,” says Dennisa Thomas, senior surety systems engineer at Sandia National Laboratories “But you can talk about the general understanding or expertise you have gained from certain systems and materials projects, and how you can transfer that knowledge and those skills to other spaces.”

One definition of surety, according to Thomas, is “a level of confidence that a component or system will operate exactly as intended, both under expected and unexpected circumstances.” This includes not just Sandia’s mandate to keep the United States’ nuclear stockpiles safe, secure, and effective, but now also tackling complex national security problems including homeland security, transportation, energy, and cyber-, chemical and biological defense.

She also discussed how she got into engineering and her work as a mentor and recruiter for Sandia’s Securing Top Academic Research & Talent for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (START HBCU) initiative. That’s a great (b)ac(k)ronym.

Shout out to Black female engineers (like Dennisa Thomas)!

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