Good mentorship changes lives. It makes leaders. It builds confidence in a young person that will be vital for her or his success.

Good mentorship requires good mentors, which is why the Forward Foundation brings professionals at the top of their fields to the table for every scholar in the Black American Engineering Program. Our mentors have blazed new trails of innovation for companies such as Boeing, NASA, Tesla, PCB Piezotronics, Lockheed-Martin, and more. Together, they have decades of experience at the forefront of design, problem-solving and mentoring. All of these volunteers are dedicated to developing the next generation of engineers.

They’re guiders, advisors, and leaders in their field. They are passionate and successful men and women who are committed to elevating the field of engineering by creating pathways for diversity.

Watch this video to meet our roster of mentors for the Black American Engineering Scholarship Award mentorship program.

To show gratitude for these talented mentors‘ time and dedication and to honor their devotion to forging opportunities for underrepresented engineering students, the Michael & Robin Lally Forward Foundation has created a “thank you” in the form of a charitable grant proudly named the Pay It Forward Mentorship Grant.

At the close of every school year, each mentor is awarded a $2,500 grant from The Forward Foundation. The mentor is given the opportunity to direct the grant in his or her name to a 501(c)3 public charity or educational institution of their choosing.

We could never pay back our mentors for their time and talent. Instead, we hope to pay it forward.



Dr. Carl Moore

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

Dr. Carl Moore is a highly respected Mechanical Engineer who has worked in the field with Fortune 500 companies like Kodak and Ford.
Dr. Moore is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Dr. Moore earned his MS and Ph. D. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University.

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Catherine Berrouët

Principal Systems Engineer

Northrop Grumman Corp.

Catherine Berrouët currently serves the Sustainment and Modification of Radar Sensors team from NGC in the Colorado Springs area.

Her unique background in Biometric Cryptography led her to develop an optimization algorithm for fingerprint recognition and authentication and she is the current Women’s International Network Site Chair and active member of the African American Task Force. 

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De’Schzunell Catlin

Chief Operating Officer

Equity Space Alliance, Inc.

De’Schzunell Catlin is the founder of The Equity Space Alliance and The San Diego Black Investors Group Inc. and serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Paterson Aerospace.
De’Schzunell also worked in Aerospace Research and Development at NASA where he serveed as a Senior Flight Test Operations Engineer, Engineering Manager, and Avionics Technical Lead.

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Jacques Smith

Co-Founder and Principal Sys. Design & Development Consultant

HEVI Enterprises

Jacques Smith is the Co-Founder & Principal Sys. Design & Development Consultant at HEVI Enterprises, LLC, advancing Systems Development and Support Equipment and the plug-In Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Support Equipment (EVSE) global markets.
Jacques has more than 20 years of experience in the engineering field at companies like Boeing, Parker Hannifin, Sikorsky Aircraft, Curtiss-Wright Controls and more.

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Dr. Felicia Benton-Johnson

Vice President for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

Clemson University

Felicia Benton-Johnson, Ed.D. is the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence at Clemson University, working across campuses and sites with community and grant partners to foster an inclusive and supportive environment.
Dr. Benton-Johnson has been an educator for more than twenty years and has mentored hundreds of students, earning her a ‘Mentor of the Year’ award during her time as Assistant Dean of the College of Engineering and Director of the Center for Engineering Education and Diversity at The Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Julius Rivers

Principal Engineer for Strategic Initiatives, of Integrated Warfare – Combat Systems Engineering

Lockheed Martin

Julius Rivers is the Sr. Manager & Chief Engineer for Global Military Systems & Services Aftermarket Programs at RMS Sikorsky Aircraft, a Lockheed-Martin company.

Prior to his current role, Julius spent 13 years at The Boeing Company in Seattle, WA. In 2013, Rivers was awarded Black Engineer of the Year.

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Mike Lally

Vice President

The Forward Foundation

Mike Lally is the Founder and former President of The Modal Shop, an innovation firm specializing in sound and vibration system technology.

After graduating from Cornell University in 1986, Mike joined the University of Cincinnati Structural Dynamics research laboratory and later founded The Modal Shop, part of the PCB Group. 

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Dr. Zuhair Ibrahim

Principal Consultant

Ibrahim & Associates

Dr. Zuhair Ibrahim is the principal consultant at Ibrahim & Associates. Dr. Ibrahim earned his Ph. D. in Aerospace Engineering from UC San Diego and his MS in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Dr. Ibrahim is an adjunct lecturer for the University of Southern California’s Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department, teaching Heat Transfer and Thermal Systems Design. 

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Henry Williams

Industrial Engineer


Henry Williams is an experienced engineer who is currently working in the automotive industry at Tesla. He studied Mechanical Engineer Technology at the University of Cincinnati.
Henry has held various engineering roles within the automotive industry which include quality, process and continuous improvement scopes.

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Tunji Adejumo

Staff Mechanical Design Engineer


Tunji Adejumo is an engineering professional with more than 10 years of experience in mechanical engineering who has worked for some of the largest auto manufacturers in the country including Cummins and Eaton.
Tunji is an expert at Finite Element Analysis – structural, thermal analysis, and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

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Sean Flanagan

Senior Model Based Systems Engineer

Integration Innovation, Inc.

Sean Flanagan is a Senior Model Based Systems Engineer at Integration Innovation. He has proven to be both skilled and steady as an experienced Software and Systems Architect in the Defense and Space Industry.
Sean studied Software Engineering at Southern Methodist University and Computer Science at his beloved Oklahoma State University. (Go Cowboys!)
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Robert Oxendine

Senior Model Based Systems Engineer

Integration Innovation, Inc.

Robert Oxendine is a Senior Model Based Systems Engineer at SET at i3 in Madison, Alabama. He has a diverse background in aerospace engineering, systems engineering, DoD, and space systems. 
Robert studied at Tuskegee University (B.S.) and The University of Alabama (M.S.). He has worked and designed of the T-6 Texan, GMD, and C-RAM.
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