ARLINGTON, VA (January 19, 2022) – The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) today announced the six honorees who will receive the 2022 Achievement Awards at a February 16 ceremony at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, VA. Established in 2010, these awards recognize outstanding early to mid-career professionals in the intelligence, national security and homeland security communities, as well as senior leaders who inspire their success. INSA is the leading nonpartisan organization driving public-private partnerships to advance intelligence and national security priorities.
A committee comprised of INSA’s leadership and members of its Intelligence Champions Council (ICC) selected the following recipients:
- Jaime Arribas Starkey-El, Data Scientist and Software Engineer, The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab
- Edwin H. Land Industry Award - contractor and non-government employees
- Shadi Elreda, Special Agent, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
- John W. Warner Homeland Security Award - first responders and domestic government employees up to and including GS-13 and equivalent rank
- MSgt Elizebeth L. Harris, USAF, Operations Superintendent, All-Domain Overhead Cooperative Operations Group, Mission Integration Directorate, National Reconnaissance Office
- William O. Studeman Military Award - uniformed military up to and including 0-3 and equivalent rank
- Marylesa Howard, PhD, Principal Scientist, Nevada National Security Site, Department of Energy
- Sidney D. Drell Science and Technology Award - researchers conducting innovative scientific or tech R&D whose applications have potential to make significant impact in intelligence, defense and/or homeland security.
- Mary Ann Kissinger, Requirements and Integration Analyst, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
- Richard J. Kerr Government Award - civilian government employees up to and including GS-13 and equivalent rank.
- Cadienne Naquin Hopkins, Senior Business Development Manager, Altana AI; Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, The Command Purpose Foundation
- Joan A. Dempsey Mentorship Award - open to all public, private and academic sectors up to and including GS-15/o-6 and equivalent rank
“These remarkable individuals represent the best of the next generation of leaders in the intelligence and national security communities,” said INSA Chair Tish Long. “Their innovative spirit, passion, and leadership set new standards of excellence across their organizations and throughout the broader community. We are proud to recognize their achievements and to aid in the professional growth of such high caliber professionals.”
This year saw over 85 submissions, which reflect the importance of these awards and the broad range of accomplishments from early careerists across the IC. The 12th INSA Achievement Awards ceremony will take place Wednesday, February 16, 2022, at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, VA. LTG Scott Berrier, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, will deliver the keynote address.
The INSA Board of Directors established the Achievement Awards to broaden public recognition of the professionals who serve U.S. intelligence, national security, and homeland security missions with distinction. Each award is named for a recipient of the William Oliver Baker Award, which INSA presents annually to an individual for their sustained contributions to U.S. intelligence and national security affairs. This event is open to the press. Please contact [email protected] to secure press credentials.
Click here more information about the INSA Achievement Awards.
About the Recipients
Jaime Arribas Starkey-El
Data Scientist and Software Engineer
The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab
Jaime Arribas Starkey-El revolutionized the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Technology Leaders and Scholars (ATLAS) program, an internship and mentorship program open to students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities. Under his direction, ATLAS has become a cornerstone of APL’s efforts to build and grow a diverse workforce.
As co-leader of ATLAS, Mr. Arribas Starkey-El oversaw an ambitious overhaul of program offerings. He led the charge to improve the intern experience and expand eligibility to all STEM undergraduate and graduate students year-round. Mr. Arribas Starkey-El initiated a fresh rebrand of the program, including developing a recruitment video and marketing campaign that helped the program significantly increase its number of eligible applicants. He also quantified ATLAS’s impact by establishing processes for tracking data and disseminating reports to leaders and hiring managers across the organization. As a result, staff engagement in the program substantially increased and ATLAS currently boasts the highest conversion rate of any APL intern program.
An ardent workforce advocate, in FY21, Mr. Arribas Starkey-El mentored 11 students from the ATLAS program, conducted check-ins, career coaching, presentation practice, resource sharing and peer networking, in addition to facilitating the weekly activities for the cohort of 50+ interns. Additionally, during the pandemic, he spearheaded efforts to adjust ATLAS to remote and hybrid internship experiences, ultimately creating an entirely virtual internship program.
Special Agent, Homeland Security Investigations
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
Special Agent Shadi Elreda’s dedication to the mission, proven tenacity, and exemplary service perfectly embody Homeland Security Investigation’s core values of honor, service, and integrity. Whether defending American industry from strategic adversaries or thwarting illicit schemes involving transnational criminal organizations, he is highly regarded for consistently tackling tough challenges to ensure the protection of the homeland. Since 2019, SA Elreda led multiple investigations that thwarted efforts by bad actors to traffic weapons and technology. These resulted in the indictment, conviction, and sentencing of three Iranian nationals for the illegal export of aerospace technology, as well as a U.S. citizen for his role in exporting hundreds of firearms to a Balkan organized crime syndicate.
He serves as a member of the HSI Detroit Special Response Team, which handles the agency’s highest-risk law enforcement operations. Underscoring his commitment to the mission, SA Elreda recently graduated from the SRT certification course, a physically and mentally grueling basic operator training. Shadi Elreda has demonstrated initiative, willingness to take calculated risks, and his outstanding mastery of the subject material directly contributed to the success of HSI’s mission and the security of our Nation.
MSgt Elizebeth L. Harris, USAF
All-Domain Overhead Cooperative Operations Group
Mission Integration Directorate, National Reconnaissance Office
Through her demonstrated leadership, technical expertise, and professional dedication to the mission, Master Sergeant Elizebeth L. Harris, USAF, has fundamentally revolutionized the capabilities of the Mission Integration Directorate, National Reconnaissance Office. MSgt Harris serves as Operations Superintendent for the All-Domain Overhead Cooperative Operations Group and directs a 25-member team in 17 sensor integration efforts. In this role, she manages national and tactical interoperability challenges, data transport architecture, and enterprise-wide modernization. Additionally, MSgt Harris leads strategic engagement efforts between military services and foreign partners. Notably, she orchestrated an Allied sensor demonstration, which expanded CONOPS by synchronizing 12 air and sea assets, and ultimately boosted performance by 50%.
MSgt Harris has conducted numerous sensor capability tests and demonstrations. In coordination with the Navy Air Program, she led the first sensor test to determine the altitude and environmental survivability of an NRO cooperative sensor. This significant accomplishment resulted in the addition of the sensor on air platforms performing special access missions. A recognized leader and innovator, MSgt Harris has garnered many awards including the NRO Director’s Circle Award, presented to only the top 1.5% in the agency. MSgt Elizebeth Harris is a talented and selfless leader whose significant contributions to the national security mission are wholly deserving of the William O. Studeman Military Award.
Marylesa Howard, PhD
Principal Scientist, Nevada National Security Site
Department of Energy
Dr. Marylesa Howard embodies what it means to be a dedicated scholar, engaged community member, and esteemed role model. It is not only her intellectual contributions, but the depth to which she cares about her work, team, and country that makes her an invaluable member of the national security community. A lead researcher within the Signal Processing and Applied Mathematics group at the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site, Dr. Howard brings unrivaled leadership, and technical expertise to her scientific mission. Her innovative approach to image segmentation resulted in deliverables not previously achieved with image processing. Specifically, she led a three-year project that resulted in the development of a spatially-aware method for computer-detected material location. The tool developed in this project has been successfully deployed and licensed to several national labs, as well as MIT.
Committed to building the next generation of scientists, Dr. Howard seeks to mentor junior scientists and engineers through engagement in academic associations and programs. She has mentored multiple PhD candidates and serves as an advisor for doctoral research. Additionally, Dr. Howard leads a team of intern students each summer and facilitated virtual programs during the pandemic. A passionate advocate of diversity, she also leads the way in having company policies modified to improve equity and inclusion initiatives. Dr. Howard possesses extraordinary intelligence, unending energy, and humility that sets her apart. An empathetic leader who balances the needs of the mission with the professional development of her people, Marylesa Howard epitomizes all that the Sidney D. Drell Achievement Award represents.
Mary Ann Kissinger
Requirements and Integration Analyst
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Mary Ann Kissinger’s deep technical expertise, collaborative nature, and extraordinary can-do attitude make her a valued member of the Source Mission Integration Office at NGA. As the Integration Source Lead for three foreign partnerships, Ms. Kissinger directs a 30+ member team across NGA in the development of integration and sustainment plans for emerging sensors. In this capacity, she re-energized a partnership that had gone stale, resulting in a 50% increase in GEOINT sharing over the next three years.
Ms. Kissinger effectively works across organizational boundaries to address GEOINT collection needs for foreign partner initiatives. She partnered with the Collections Integration Program Office to identify cost-neutral technical solutions for the integration of data into existing collection tools, saving the government nearly $2M in redundant software development. During the global pandemic, Ms. Kissinger quickly stood-up an eight-person NGA Open Mapping Enclave Team that drove the identification of hundreds of transportation features in Libya and South America, supporting both DoD and humanitarian efforts. Additionally, she spearheaded a collection and analytic modeling tool, which will support a 300% increase in GEOINT data over the next decade.
A tireless advocate for the workforce, Ms. Kissinger volunteers at LGBTQ/PRIDE month celebrations, serves on an employee/diversity council, spearheaded studies on employee retention and culture, and planned and supported 20+ branch, division, directorate-level morale events. Ms. Kissinger’s willingness to take on challenging tasks, passion for advancing diversity initiatives, and professionalism in her dealings with foreign partnerships make her ideally suited for the Richard J. Kerr Government Award.
Cadienne Naquin Hopkins
Senior Business Development Manager, Altana AI;
Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, The Command Purpose Foundation
Cadienne Naquin Hopkins has used her extraordinary leadership ability, inclusive spirit, and unparalleled drive to help hundreds of women across the intelligence and national security community achieve their goals, take chances, and grow in their careers. Notably, she co-founded the Command Purpose Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping veteran women transition to civilian life and has committed countless volunteer hours helping others find their voice, motivation, and confidence.
As co-founder and chief strategy officer for the Command Purpose Foundation, Ms. Hopkins has spent hundreds of hours defining and growing resources that help bridge the gap between military and civilian life. Due to her extraordinary leadership, the Foundation has quickly grown to 100+ members across the globe and has conducted numerous workshops and facilitated community groups to help women veterans rediscover their purpose and value. Ms. Hopkins also serves on the Amazing Women of the IC (AWIC) organizing committee, where she has developed and led virtual mentoring and networking events, as well as spearheaded AWIC’s Iron Butterfly Podcast, which tells the stories of women leaders in intelligence and national security.
Despite Ms. Hopkins’ multitude of responsibilities, she makes mentorship a priority. For her selfless service and the indelible impact she has already made on women in the national security community, Cadienne Naquin Hopkins is the perfect embodiment of all that the Joan A. Dempsey Award represents.