Sandia materials scientist Jon Madison (in Sandia’s Materials Mechanics & Tribology Dept.) was recently named the winner of a Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) for Most Promising Scientist.

Sandia National Laboratories materials scientist Jon Madison says a key to his academic and professional success was listening to the adults in his life. “I don’t pretend to know everything,” he said. “I listened to the people who had my best interests at heart: my parents, my teachers, my mentors. I might not have understood or agreed with them, but just hearing what they were telling me provided opportunities later in life.” (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Sandia National Laboratories materials scientist Jon Madison says a key to his academic and professional success was listening to the adults in his life. “I don’t pretend to know everything,” he said. “I listened to the people who had my best interests at heart: my parents, my teachers, my mentors. I might not have understood or agreed with them, but just hearing what they were telling me provided opportunities later in life.” (Photo by Randy Montoya)

BEYA is a program of the national Career Communications Group, an advocate for corporate diversity, and is part of its STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) achievement program. The awards annually recognize the nation’s best and brightest engineers, scientists, and technology experts. Madison received his award at the 29th BEYA conference in Washington, D.C., which preceded National Engineers Week.

Jon Madison worked in the family business and decided it wasn’t for him. He wanted a career in science. Madison went to Clark Atlanta University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering science. He then headed to the University of Michigan to complete his master’s and doctorate in materials science and engineering. Madison was in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation initiative, a STEM scholarship program of the National Science Foundation. “They said from day one that I would go to grad school,” he said. “The expectations were high.”

He did summer internships at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., Washington State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “I was looking for mechanical engineering internships but ended up in materials research programs,” he said. “I got a lot of exposure and opportunity to see materials science in different ways. That’s when it clicked for me that I would like to pursue materials science as a career.” Madison joined Sandia in 2010.

See the Sandia and the BEYA news releases.