OSD salutes research lab's branch chief for national STEM push forward
November 8, 2012
- Honorable Zachary J. Lemnios, Assistant Sectary of Defense for Research and Engineering, recognized Dr. Paul Barnes for the STEM initiative he led.
ADELPHI, Md. (Nov. 8, 2012) -- Scientists within the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory know Dr. Paul Barnes as the leader of the Power Components Branch.
However, Barnes' role occasionally shifts throughout the year as a reservist, who is the chief of Advanced Technologies and Counter Intelligence at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering in Washington, D.C.
In his capacity with the Office of the Secretary of Defense as an Air Force Reserve lieutenant colonel, he led a joint team of service members that recently wrapped up national projects to develop scientists, technicians, engineers, and mathematicians (STEM), and he encouraged them to join government service. As a result of the STEM inititive, the Honorable Zachary J. Lemnios, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, awarded Barnes the Joint Service Commendation Medal during a ceremony on Sept. 7 at the Pentagon.
The work began nearly two years ago when Barnes took on an existing project to develop a challenge for college teams across the country to solve current operational issues facing the joint services. Additionally, he led a panel of more than 30 engineering leaders from academia, governmental and non-governmental agencies to select students for government sponsored fellowships.
"We wanted to make advances in getting students focused on military-related science and technology," Barnes said. "The goal was giving them something to get excited about."
Barnes has a personal interest in keeping scientists and engineers with passion at the research labs, having come to ARL from the Air Force Research Laboratory less than two years ago. But outside of the Department of Defense (DoD), he said he is aware of the vast amount of work industry does also to support DoD research. "If we can't get and retain the very best scientist and engineers, the research will suffer.
"Our military's competitive edge is in its ability to stay technologically advanced. As other countries come on par with a level of technological capability, it presents new challenges."
The White House has been working diligently to encourage student interest in STEM careers. Barnes efforts supported the administration's goal.
"I have been in the Army and received awards, and in the Air Force I have received some, but this is my first joint service award," Barnes said. "This time my work wasn't for one service, it was for everybody. That is what makes it extra special to me."