Peorian Dr. Chris Jenkins Receives BEYA Award By Linda Butler

The 2022 Black Engineer of the Year Awards were announced at the Annual BEYA STEM Conference, February 17-19 in Washington, D.C. The Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) community is over 10,000 strong and offers K-12 and college students, career professionals, and employers unmatched opportunities to celebrate excellence and showcase STEM career opportunities.

Dr. Chris Jenkins, PhD and his wife LaTonya N. Jenkins were award recipients. The two were married in April 2021. Both are employed at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is one of three National Nuclear Security Administration research and development laboratories in the United States, managed and operated by the National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia. Both engineers are members of the technical staff. Chris Jenkins received the BEYA Peer Review Award for his research leadership. He has several patents in engineering. LaTonya Jenkins received a Science Spectrum Trailblazer Award which is given to men and women for shaping the future of engineering, science and technology.

Dr. Jenkins was introduced by Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, Alumni Committee Chair and President. Career Communications Group, Inc. (CCG) which was founded in 1985 with the mission to promote significant minority achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). As a minority-owned talent management company providing diversity and leadership solutions to individuals and organizations, they recognize the mandate to promote excellence among our youth by telling the stories of the thousands of unheralded minority engineers, technologists, and scientists who are striving for success.

Dr. Boyd stated, “Dr. Chris Jenkins has made significant contributions to several national capabilities during his tenure as a cyber security engineer at Sandia National Laboratories. A highly respected leader, he is at the forefront of the increasingly important and critical field of cyber physical and embedded systems cyber security. He has partnered with Purdue University over the last two years to determine the strength of the innovated, patent-awarded, moving target defense MTD algorithm he created.

His work has explored integrating MTD into real-time communication systems employed in space systems and other national security relevant architectures. Mobile threat defense (MTD) is sophisticated, dynamic protection against cyber threats targeted against mobile devices. With MTD, protection is applied to devices, networks, and applications. His current research represents Sandia’s national commitment to space systems and its strategic investment in the science and technology advancing resilience for contested space mission campaign.”

Dr. Jenkins graduated in 2000 from Richwoods High School. He attended the University of Illinois (Champaign), and the University of Wisconsin (Madison). He participated in the Tomorrow’s Scientists, Technologists, and Managers (TSTM) program at the Peoria Tri-County Urban League. His parents are Ted and Mary Jenkins. During his speech, Dr. Jenkins said he was truly grateful for the structure his parents set and the multitudes along the way that helped him to succeed.