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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – It’s a piece of advice Dr. Donna Joyce gives that has brought her success in her own career – “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

It wasn’t by chance that the Army selected Joyce as the first-ever senior research scientist for protective technologies in 2019, it was the culmination of years of challenging roles and responsibilities that solidified her as the right choice.

“Since taking this position with the Army a little over a year ago, I have had the opportunity to work with highly dedicated, incredibly talented and mission focused people – just great people to work with on a common goal,” Joyce said. “I enjoy the daily challenge, learning, and staying up to speed with the changing field of microelectronics. I feel protecting our technical edge and advantage is meaningful work.”

Appointed ST on Dec. 8, 2019, Joyce joined the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center, after spending 15 years with the Air Force Research Laboratory. As the Army’s chief scientist for PT, Joyce provides scientific expertise and technical guidance in the research, development and transition of protective technologies.

“Protective Technology is a way to secure our most important capabilities, without interfering with their function – protecting the most vital systems and functions, similar to our immune system,” Joyce said. “PT is important to the Warfighter, as it protects our tech edge and lethality, providing and maintaining overmatch.”

A graduate of the University of Dayton, where she received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in engineering, Joyce’s expertise includes thin film electronics, security and reliability of microelectronics, and advanced circuit analysis tools. Growing up in Pennsylvania, Joyce knew from an early age she would pursue a career in a STEM field.

“I have always loved problem solving and was lucky enough to grow up in a family that encouraged it,” Joyce said. “I love nature and challenging work, so being a scientist always attracted me. Math and science were my favorite subjects.”

Throughout her career, Joyce has had mentors who encouraged and supported her as she pursued a variety of opportunities and challenging work. She offered the following advice to those wanting to follow a similar career path.

“Get good at something and then broaden your horizon,” Joyce said. “Take advantage of opportunities and challenges, and strive to improve your skills, take risks, continue learning, and believe in yourself.”


The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.