SDM student receives "Hispanic in Technology-Government" Award

Soto with with members of MIT’s SHPE chapter

By Lois Slavin, ESD Communications Director, with excerpts from SHPE magazine
March 6, 2006

Leticia Soto, who entered MIT’s System Design and Management (SDM) program in January, 2006, was honored by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers with the “Hispanic in Technology – Government Award” at that organization’s national convention held just a few days after she began SDM. The award is presented to an individual whose outstanding achievements have contributed to the field of engineering on a continuous basis, through design, production, management, research or any phase of engineering, and resulted in significant impact.

Lt. Leticia Soto (center), with members of MIT’s SHPE chapter and Karl W. Reid, Associate Dean and Director, MIT Office of Minority Education (rear, third from right). Soto received SHPE’s “Hispanic in Technology – Government Award” at the national convention in January, 2006.

Soto serves in the US Navy as a Naval Officer with the rank of Lieutenant in the Civil Engineer Corps. Most recently she was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During her deployment she was assigned as a Naval Liaison Officer for a Joint Special Operations Task Force, Soto was responsible for all design and construction efforts to support 2,500 special operations forces throughout Iraq. She received an Army Commendation Medal, which is rarely awarded to so junior an officer.

Soto then transitioned to become Officer in Charge of a 75 person detachment spearheading camp infrastructure development for the Naval Construction Forces. Her contributions included providing multi-disciplinary engineering solutions, including electrical load analysis, phone and data communication systems, and design and construction of fresh and waste water distribution and collection. Soto also personally oversaw traffic flow analysis and executed numerous improvements to several main supply routes.

"Leticia’s recent award by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers is a huge achievement," said Rear Adm. Mike Loose, Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and Chief of Civil Engineers. "She earned the award not only for her courageous efforts as a Seabee in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom but as a leader and exemplary role model to all young men and women who strive for high personal and professional goals.

"I and her NAVFAC colleagues couldn’t be more proud of Leticia," Loose continued "She exemplifies the best and brightest of our Navy civil engineers as evidenced by being accepted into MIT’s prestigious SDM program. Our Navy and our nation will be the biggest benefactors when she graduates from this demanding leadership and management program."

Soto is looking forward to her studies. “After conducting extensive research on programs at other several universities, I felt that MIT’s SDM was the program that best integrated the management and technical innovation into a systems approach that would best serves me in my current job and any position I may have in the future,” she explained. “SDM will help me learn key concepts to help me maximize the potential of people I lead, whether by optimizing project processes from a system’s perspective or effectively integrating teams.”

Upon graduation in 2007, Soto hopes to be assigned to a Navy Facilities Engineering Command in a Future Planning Operation’s billet, where she can oversee design and acquisition processes.