NEWS | June 3, 2013

Paul Jaffe Named VADM Gravely STEM Diversity Champion of the Year

By Heather Miller

Paul Jaffe, an electronics engineer at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), has received the 2012 Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education and Diversity Champion of the Year Award.

The award was named for Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. Admiral Gravely was the first African-American to command a U.S. Navy warship, an American warship under combat conditions, and a major naval warship. He also was the first African-American rear admiral, vice admiral, and U.S. Fleet commander. In 2009 the Navy christened an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer in his name.

Mr. Jaffe participates in the Science & Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) by sponsoring and mentoring high school students at NRL. He has participated in this program for over six years, providing challenging assignments to many aspiring scientists and engineers. SEAP students have typically been from suburban schools in Virginia and Maryland. In 2010, Mr. Jaffe ensured that students from the District of Columbia were considered and selected as part of the SEAP workforce. Mr. Jaffe's SEAP students have represented several DC public high schools.

Mr. Jaffe interviewed, selected, directed, and mentored high school SEAP students in 2011. Among those students, one wrote a letter recalling Jaffe, The scientists I have interacted with at the Naval Research Lab have always been helpful and unimaginably amiable. Though out of them all, the most enthusiastic, accommodating, and encouraging scientist I have met is you. Throughout the whole process you always took out time to teach me and help me learn.

Mr. Jaffe has also led numerous STEM and diversity efforts at local schools. Jaffe is also an NRL coordinator for the Community Outreach Program at W.B. Patterson Elementary School, SW, Washington, DC. Through this program, NRL employees can volunteer to support the school in many ways. In addition, Mr. Jaffe manages the tutorial support program at the Patterson School located near NRL. Serving as a tutor and coordinator of a dedicated group of supporting volunteers in weekly tutoring sessions, scientists, engineers, and staff assist students in reading, writing, and mathematics skills, which are the foundation for future academic success. Committed to this program for over ten years, six being tutor coordinator, he firmly believes in this program as evidenced by his continued leadership.

In addition to Mr. Jaffe's support for SEAP and Community Outreach, he has provided supervision to Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) students for more than five years. Working in the STEP program, he provided the students with direct tasks in support of research activities and projects within the department. Jaffe challenged the students with complex technical problems and involved them in actual engineering research during their internships to increase their technical knowledge and engineering confidence.

Jaffe has been involved in the encouragement, mentoring, and education of aspiring scientists and engineers for over ten years. Taking a personal role in the education and outreach for the youth of the Washington, DC, region, he continues to be dedicated to the tutoring of local elementary students and has sponsored as many as 24 different high school and college students in the past seven years in summer internship programs at NRL.

Mr. Jaffe leads the Systems Integration Section of the Space Electronics Development Branch at NRL and is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the individual and integrated electronic systems of spacecraft hardware developed for the Naval Center for Space Technology. In addition to his duties as section head, Mr. Jaffe leads a large interdisciplinary team as the electrical segment lead for the WindSat-II weather instrument. He is also the principal investigator of a research project to advance technologies for space solar power.