Rockwell Collins engineer receives 2014 Luminary award

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For Gladys Yanez (pictured), the passion for engineering started at a young age as she handed her brother and father tools and spark plugs inside the garage at their Chicago home.

“I don’t think they knew how much they were teaching me when they would let me help them,” said Yanez, a senior engineering manager for Tactical Applications, Government Systems for Rockwell Collins. “There was something very fulfilling in seeing how you could take something apart, fix it and piece it back together.”

That passion led Yanez to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and eventually to Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. But it’s the work she’s doing outside of her four office walls that recently attracted the attention of a national science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) organization.

Yanez, who is active in mentoring FIRST® LEGO® League teams, tutoring second- and third-graders in math, volunteering as a judge for the Iowa Invention Convention and serving as the professional development chair for the Latino Employee Network at Rockwell Collins, was honored on Friday, Oct. 3, with a 2014 Great Minds in STEM™ Luminary award.

Luminary Awards are given to those who exhibit professional achievement and commitment to inspiring young students to consider careers in STEM. Yanez received the award during the 26th annual Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s the fourth consecutive year that a Rockwell Collins employee has been honored.

“While I’m incredibly honored to receive this award, I don’t volunteer for the praise,” said Yanez. “I truly believe our upcoming generations need exposure to science and mathematics. If I can help them develop a passion like I did, they are more likely to take ownership of that and use it in their careers.”

Story posted: November 3, 2014

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