The Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) is hosted at an annual STEM conference where students and industry professionals can come to together to network, learn and celebrate all the possibilities in the STEM fields. Basically, it’s the "Oscars of the STEM industry." This year, one of our extremely talented Bell 360 Invictus engineers, Debra Curry, will accept the Black Engineer of the Year Award for Community Service in the Industry.
"I've been doing community service my entire life. It's an innate part of who I am. And it's nice to be recognized because you want to make an impact on the less fortunate and showcase what we do for others to emulate," Debra says. As a leader in community service, Debra has gone from volunteering in the soup kitchens back in her home state of Washington to running the Bell African Ancestry Networking Group (BAANG), Bell's longest-standing employee resource group, for over a decade. Her motivation to serve the community started with her own personal role models.
"I'm from Everett, Washington. My dad is a retired Boeing mechanical engineer who worked on the 737, 747, 757, and lastly, the 777. My mom taught high school and middle school math. Both are retired." Not that it’s stopping them from changing the world. "Mom volunteers her time to drive patients for the American Cancer Society and Dad volunteers at the senior center. That example of giving and helping others has always been a part of who we were. We've had it in our DNA."
In Debra's personal life, she's been a foster parent since 2012. She was a major proponent in getting Texas State Bill 355 passed, a critical initiative that allocated more funds for foster and adoptive parent resources. She’s also very passionate about engaging with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to tap into their talent. "Last year, Bell hosted the career fair booth at BEYA and had several of the deans from many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to visit our Advanced Vertical Lift Center to network with Bell employees. Lots of relationships developed from this event," Debra says. "And it’s only the beginning of new partnerships and opportunities for Bell, Textron and the bright engineers at these HBCUs.”
Check out the video below to get to know Debra on a personal level!
Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 80 years, we’ve been reimagining the experience of flight – and where it can take us.
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