ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Yolanda L. Hinton was honored for her dedication in community service during the 2008 Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference Feb. 14-16.

Hinton is a mechanical engineer with ARL's Vehicle Technology Directorate located at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. ARL is a subordinate element of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

Maj. Gen. Fred D. Robinson Jr., commanding general, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, honored Hinton during a "Special Tribute to Education" during the 2008 BEYA Awards Gala Saturday night.

"We are proud to honor her [Hinton] for her exceptional engineering contributions, her pursuit of excellence, influence and devotion to the role of education in the Army, and for her recruitment efforts in growing the RDECOM scientific staff," said Robinson.

At the Historically Black College and Universities Engineering Deans' Breakfast that morning, Command Sgt. Maj. Hector G. Marin, RDECOM, presented Hinton with a "Special Recognition Award" for her extensive work in community service. Hinton has a rich history of serving her surrounding community, whether young or old, she finds a way to serve.

"I started doing community service when I was in high school," said Hinton. "Since then, I've just continued to stay involved with the community."

Hinton said she enjoys being a part of the process of learning. "Seeing young people realize what they can do; or when a child gets a concept he has been struggling with in school...that is why I do this, to help light their path as they realize their goals," said Hinton.

Hinton tutors and participates in a variety of community service organizations such as the National Technical Association and working with area schools to help open the minds of young people the world of science and mathematics. She also has an interest in the preservation of the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, as she is an active member of the Tidewater Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Students remain a focus for Hinton, as she worked at the career fair co-sponsored by RDECOM and the Department of Defense. Here, students had a chance to participate in activities related to the RDECOM mission and hone their professional development skills.

Being part of an Army organization, Hinton believes her work makes a real, tangible difference.

"Working for ARL gave tremendous focus to my engineering career," said Hinton. I know I'm here to support the Soldier in the field; I know that the techniques and products that I help develop and improve go towards a very critical cause- our nation's defense."

Robinson appreciates Hinton's dedication and heart as she continues to serve the Warfighter and her community. Having Army representation at a national awards conference speaks volumes about the quality of engineers working for RDECOM.

"She [Hinton] represents the tremendous talent that the Army has to offer through the brilliant engineers who dedicate their lives to something other than themselves. For her, it's not about the money, but because she just wants to serve," said Robinson. "She is as much of a Warfighter as any out there."