Top Navy Scientists, Engineers Honored for Excellence

US Navy

WASHINGTON, DC - The finest in Navy and Marine Corps science and engineering were recognized June 12 at the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN RDA) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers awards ceremony.

Awardees, family members, and staff gathered at the Pentagon Auditorium in Washington, DC. The Honorable Nickolas H. Guertin ASN(RDA) personally recognized top scientists and engineers from across the Department of the Navy (DON) and highlighted their incredible accomplishments.

The award is named after former ASN(RDA), Dr. Delores M. Etter, who delivered a recorded message congratulating the award recipients. She encouraged all DON scientists and engineers to continue pursuing innovations that support America's fleet and warfighters, and to inspire future generations of scientists and engineers for DON science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) positions.

Both civilian and military scientists and engineers in the DON were eligible for these annual awards. All nominations were reviewed and scored by a panel consisting of senior executive leadership. Awardees were in the categories of Emergent Scientists and Emergent Engineers (no more than ten years of cumulative experience), Individual Scientists and Individual Engineers, Teams of Scientists and Engineers from a single command, and Teams of Scientists and Engineers collaborating across the Naval Research and Development Establishment (NR&DE), to include Department of Defense (DoD).

Recipients of the ASN(RDA) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award for 2024 are:



· Dr. Madeleine E. Harvey, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Newport Division

Led a dynamic team that researched, designed, built, and tested a novel distributed temperature sensor for oceanographic sensing onboard naval platforms enabling real-time decisions of acoustic sensor performance.

· Dr. Robert A. Younts, Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic

Completed the development of two prototypes designed to use optical and quantum approaches for resilient communications in contested environments.


· Mr. Christopher J. DiBiasio, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division

Used critical-thinking and innovation in the design, fabrication, deployment, and recovery of critical open-ocean, underwater infrastructure at Carderock's South Florida Ocean Measurement Facility. These efforts ensure the Fleet's underwater electromagnetic advantage.

· Mr. Daniel A. Gentile, NUWC Keyport Division

Designed, prototyped, and submitted a patent for a miniaturized data acquisition system for high-fidelity data sampling, incorporated as an Unmanned Undersea Vehicle payload.

· Mr. Trey J. Morris, Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)

Developed and deployed capability to use machine learning models that rapidly search vast ocean areas for surface vessels and automatically detect and classify them from imagery. This allows the warfighter to quickly identify and respond to maritime targets.

· Mr. Ramiro Rodriguez, NIWC Pacific

Advanced the state-of-the art in Adaptive Quantum Machine Learning through development of an algorithm for Network Traffic Classification and executed the first application to sense remote broadcast stations, a leap in quantum computing. This quantum technology advancement provides the DoD novel capabilities of dynamic scheduling, routing, and control mechanisms in networks to deliver traffic efficiently and reliably.


· Mr. Clinton F. Stammer, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) Increased the survivability of the F-35, directly resulting in increased mission success for the Fleet and allied partners.

· Dr. Todd H. Stievater, NRL

Demonstrated the use of photonic integrated circuits for leading-edge chemical detection and electronic warfare systems, and transitioned nanophotonic technologies for DoD applications.

· Dr. Michael D. Reddix, Naval Medical Research Unit (NAMRU) Dayton

Led the effort to develop a new Laser Eye Protection spectacle system for pilots and aircrew from requirement, through iterative research and development, laboratory and field testing, to Fleet acquisition.


· Mr. J. Russel Batman, Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC)

Designed, prototyped, and tested the patent pending Floating Inspection Sensor Elevator system to support waterfront inspections of deep-water or remotely located pile supported structures.

· Mr. Jonathan H. James, NIWC Atlantic

Established Java Script Object Notation schema application programming interface connections, enabling a rapid connection of Authorized Data Sources to Tactical Service Oriented Architecture.

· Mr. Michael K. Nappi, NIWC Pacific

Revolutionized the design and rapid execution of Zero-Trust, transformational cloud architecture spanning Unclassified and Classified enclaves across the Navy's network landscape.

· Dr. Richard O. Stroman, NRL

Conceived and led the development of energy-focused mission planning tools that extend the range and endurance of unmanned air vehicles through intelligent use of energy.


The SPY-6 Radar and Aegis Baseline 10 Test Team, Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS)

Executed comprehensive SPY-6 testing with Aegis Baseline 10 and subsequent data analysis. Conducted an extensive review of testing results and recommended fixes leading to a successful live-fire test event, which proved the effectiveness of the world-class radar system.

· Mr. Joseph E. Aust

· Mr. James J. Ciba

· Mr. Cory J. Willoughby

The Aurora Software Factory Joint Laser Deconfliction Safety Software Team, NSWC Dahlgren Division

Fundamentally transformed laser safety systems by innovating beyond the centralized, rigid approaches of the past through development of a groundbreaking, decentralized software-only solution using real-time satellite data for dynamic laser safe-to-fire zone calculations.

· Dr. Udayan V. Bhapkar

· Ms. Lindsey E. Klunder

· Mr. James L. Latourell

· Mr. Jack Smith

The Ground Air Transmitter Receiver Team, NIWC Atlantic

Developed an innovative solution to establish Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications via Ground Air Transmitter Receiver deployment establishing connections to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma for transmission of ATC communications, weather data, and outfitting an ATC Terminal Range Monitoring Control position.

· Mr. Luis F. Carvajal

· Mr. M. Todd Eckrich

· Mr. Christopher C. Nuckols

· Mr. Michael E. Pawlak

· Mr. Kevin V. Rowe

The Industrial Base Additive Manufacturing Team, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)

Rapidly deployed additive manufacturing as a viable manufacturing method for the Submarine Industrial Base. The team's efforts included the prioritization of alloys representing more than 70% of current critical submarine components, and installation of the first additive manufacturing components.

· Mr. Mike J. Bjornson

· Ms. Jennifer G. Gaies

· Mr. Jesse S. Geisbert

· Ms. Whitney B. Jones

· Mr. Ben A. Kneisel

· Mr. Mark H. Massie

· Ms. Erica H. Scates

· Mr. Matthew F. Sinfield

· Mr. Aaron Wiest

The Navy Experimental Diving Unit Decompression Team, NAVSEA

Developed advanced decompression theory and modeling and tested critical decompression strategies for the diving and submarine community to reduce risk, expand forward presence, and enhance warfighter readiness for the U.S. military and international partners.

· Dr. David J. Doolette

· Dr. Wayne A. Gerth

· LT Imelda R. Muller

· Dr. F. Gregory Murphy

· LT David M. Sherrier

The US Coast Guard IT Services Team, NIWC Atlantic

Developed and implemented a 5G Wireless Shore Tie solution providing low-cost, highly scalable wireless pier side connectivity which enables high-speed, reliable, and resilient data connectivity while entering, exiting, and in port.

· Mr. Horace Anderson III

· Mr. Cecil K. Williams

The North JCTD Technical Team, Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I)

Demonstrated the capability to automatically form and sustain Digital High Frequency Mesh communication networks across large geographical areas.

· Dr. Michael P. Daly

· Mr. Michael Luong

· Mr. James L. Mahan

· Mr. Francisco A. Raygoza

· Dr. John D. Rockway

· Mr. James A. Smith

· Mr. Joshua A. Stein

· Ms. Demi L. Truong

· Mr. Lawrence C. Verhelle

The Novel Metal Fuel Synthesis and Combustion Team, NSWC, Indian Head Division

Developed and utilized Constant Volume Combustion Vessel to parametrize combustion of novel metal fuels and additives and project propulsion performance at weapon scale.

· Ms. Emma K. Skekel

· Dr. Demitrios Stamatis

The Advanced Autonomous Air-to-Air Refueling System Future Naval Capability Team, Office of Naval Research (ONR)

Advanced the body of knowledge on a path forward for certifying autonomous functionality within Naval Aviation while supporting the ONR Advanced Autonomous Air-to-Air Refueling System Future Naval Capability through the publication of 15 peer reviewed papers.

· CDR Donald H. Costello III

· Dr. Levi D. DeVries

· Dr. Michael D. Kutzer

· Dr. Violet F. Mwaffo

· LCDR Jonathon K. Parry

The Regional Hearing Conservation Program Team, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED)

Developed, proved, and delivered a new DoD-wide hearing protection procedure, as well as determined the best hearing protection devices for protection against military-relevant impulse noise.

· Dr. Jeremy S. Federman, PhD, CCC-A

· Dr. Stephanie J. Karch, PhD, AuD, CCC-A

· Mr. Derek W. Schwaller

The SEA 05 Navy Deployed Additive Manufacturing Team, NAVSEA

Developed, tested, evaluated, and fielded additive manufacturing capabilities to afloat units and shore-based maintenance establishments.

· Mr. Bryan G. Kessel

· Mr. James S. Pluta

· Mr. Jake W. Robbins

· Mr. Lewis B. Shattuck

· Mr. Scott A. Storms

· Mr. Shaun M. Verrinder

The Station-Keeping Model Development Team, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Aircraft Division (NAWCAD)

Developed a model to rapidly and affordably calculate the persistent station-keeping capabilities of sea-based crewed and/or uncrewed aircraft.

· Dr. Sandra S. Beaulieu

· Mr. Matthew S. Cosner

· Mr. Alexander H. Phan

· CDR Chris A. Wenzel

· Ms. Emily J. Williams

The Compact Coronagraph Team, NRL

Designed, built, and prepared the Compact Coronagraph instrument for launch - the first operational space weather coronagraph ever to be flown.

· Ms. Yadira L. Bordlemay Padilla

· Dr. Michael T. Carter

· Dr. Damien H. Chua

· Mr. Nathan B. Rich

· Mr. Arnaud F. Thernisien


The Columbia Class Shaft Life Risk Assessment Team, Program Executive Office Attack Submarines (PEO SSN) / NAVSEA / NRL

Quantified the risk associated with the ability of the Columbia class shaft to meet a 12-year lifecycle requirement and developed, tested, and implemented several design solutions to mitigate and retire a critical program risk.

· Dr. Attilio Arcari

· Dr. Derek J. Horton

· Mr. Kevin C. King

· Mr. Edward J. Lemieux

· Mr. James R. Martin, Jr.

· Mr. Aidan J. Rischmann

· Mr. Richard A. Teichman

· Mr. Aby Thomas

The Target Damage Cards Team, NSWC Carderock Division / Naval Aviation Warfighting Development (NAWDC) Naval Air Station Fallon

Developed a new software tool called Target Damage Cards which has a major operational impact across five of the Navy's Carrier Air Wings. The tool, which was designed, built, and deployed in only two years, provides combatant commanders with improved capability to execute naval strike missions in a contested maritime environment.

· Mr. Benjamin G. Adam

· Mr. Luke C. Brownlow

· Mr. Grant K. Giftos

· Ms. Greta R. Ouimette

· Mr. Francisco J. Rivera Ruiz

The ASN(RDA) serves as the DON Service Acquisition Executive and has the authority, responsibility, and accountability for all acquisition functions and programs and for enforcement of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment procedures. The Assistant Secretary establishes policies and procedures and manages the DON's Research, Development, and Acquisition activities in accordance with DoD 5000 Series Directives.

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