Dr. Leticia Pacheco from the Human Research and Engineering Directorate's (HRED) Fort Bliss Field Element in Texas is recognized by Great Minds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for her achievements and dedication towards protecting and serving the nation.

Pacheco will receive her award at the 24th annual Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) that is scheduled to be held Oct. 11-13 in Orlando, Fla. Great Minds in STEM, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization, is dedicated to advancing STEM education.

HENAAC award winners represent highly accomplished STEM professionals who have achieved both academic and professional success in their respective fields, and represent the best in their field as judged by a committee of professionals from industry, academia, and the government.

The impact that Pacheco has had on system design cannot be over emphasized. Input from her findings have appeared in a report to Congress, and have been seriously considered during the purchase of our nation's critical missile defense systems.
Pacheco is recognized for the following accomplishments:

• Identified and proposed mitigations for Weapon Safe. The implementation of weapon safe could cause a catastrophic fatal incident if not corrected.
• Observed Terminal High Area Air Defense (THAAD) system grounding shortfalls and lack of Soldier equipment to verify continuity. Mitigations being implemented.
• Provided human in control research that facilitated the design of displays. Participated in U.S. Soldier usability studies and generated a statistical analysis resulting in no significance between designs that could improve system performance. Pacheco's suggestions for additional research and design impacts system and Soldier performance increasing the capability to defend our nation.
• Collaborated with the Sentinel Program Manager and the engineering design team to incorporate human factors engineering recommendations that included the redesign of cable location, system access to lower possible accidents.
• Soldier situational awareness is essential to maximize system performance during conflicts thereby increasing national security. Pacheco highlighted a systems information inconsistency. This inconsistency did not allow the Soldiers the ability to discern if the system was operational or non-operational. Soldier workarounds were implemented and long term hardware and software fixes are being researched.

"It is an honor and privilege to receive this prestigious award and be recognized by my peers," said Pacheco. "It is a blessing to be a part of an outstanding organization, working with great individuals, and doing what I enjoy in support of our Soldiers."

Pacheco said the Soldiers do the difficult part. She also said that using engineering to influence weapon system design, being able to give back to the community, or serving as a mentor or role model is rewarding.

Pacheco will be recognized by HENAAC during The Salute to our STEM Military & Civilian Heroes dinner at the conference.

"Dr. Pacheco believes in giving back to the community," said Dr. Laurel Allender, director of HRED. "She creates opportunities for students to have a rich educational experience -- not only is Dr. Pacheco the consummate leader and professional, she is also an excellent science, technology, engineering and math role model."