Mentor Spotlight: Caronell Diew

nellCaronell LeMalle Diew is a fierce champion for mentoring girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as well as professional development. Diew, who also goes by Nell, is very visible in the industry as a strong advocate in support of developing youth to become future transportation leaders. Professionally, she is a Program Manager (PM) at the Federal Aviation Administration under the Air Traffic Organization, Technical Operations, in Washington, D.C. As a PM, Diew is the Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR) of the Joint Acceptance Inspection (JAI) Order. As the JAI OPR, Nell leads a diverse team of Engineers, Statisticians, and Program Analysts, located in various locations throughout the U.S., to update and maintain the JAI Order.

While Diew enjoys her primary position as a Program Manager, her passion is her role as a mentor, breaking new ground by developing and supporting landmark programs that increase diversity and prepare high school students in STEM concentrations to support related careers in transportation.

Diew recognizes the severe gap in the pipeline of future professionals in STEM and feels the preparedness for a technical career must begin at an early age. As a Chapter Vice President of the Federally Employed Women Organization, in 2010, she co-founded mentorSTEM, a student- focused mentoring program.  This program supports high school students in their education and professional development to prepare them for a path that can be a bridge to a profession in the transportation industry.

Diew teams with government and industry partners, local officials, and related professional organizations to provide STEM activities and professional development workshops to sponsored STEM-based schools within the public school system in Washington, D.C., and transportation career-centered organizations with similar programs. Her adopted school is Francis L. Cardozo Senior High School, TransTech Academy, located in Washington, D.C., where she is known as “the mentor who makes it happen.”  TransTech is the first academy with a structured transportation studies program in the Washington metropolitan area, and Diew is one of their leading mentors, providing workshops and programs to support the curriculum of the Academy and readiness for advance education in STEM, gearing towards transportation services.

Once she was learned about WTS International, Diew didn’t waste any time. She connected with the Washington, D.C. Chapter’s Transportation YOU program and helped expand the national Transportation YOU DC Youth Summit, the program’s flagship event for girls and their mentors, to include an aviation learning module. The Summit brings together teen girls from across the country, side by side with their mentors, for hands-on projects that solve real-world transportation challenges, meetings with key college representatives and D.C. VIPs, as well as presentations from successful transportation professionals and workshops on leadership, teamwork, and career planning. Diew was the driving force in the FAA Technical Operations Organization’s overwhelming support of the Summit’s program.  She developed and maintains the FAA’s partnership with the Transportation YOU DC Youth Summit in providing key workshops and programs introducing and illustrating various operations in aviation and related STEM careers.

Diew became a mentor for one of the Summit student participants from Washington, D.C. Through her guidance and direction, her mentee completed the program as a high performer, and was subsequently selected out of all the mentees nationwide to give a formal address to former Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, at WTS International’s Navigator Award Gala held in Washington, D.C. During his acceptance remarks, LaHood recognized the mentee’s development and growth as a result of Diew’s investment as a Mentor. He referred to her as a positive force in promoting the advancement of students in STEM for careers in transportation, and encouraged her to continue to share her talents and passion as a mentor, and encouraged all members of the industry to participate in WTS International’s mentoring program or to take on a mentee of their own in their place of work.

Diew has received numerous acknowledgments and accolades from schools within the District of Columbia as she is noted for her “commitment and dedication to the students and staff of TransTech Academy,” her “vision to develop nationally competitive students who are prepared for college and careers from Ballou Senior High School,” and award honors from executive management at the FAA. However, the most valuable and meaningful acknowledgement she’s received for mentoring, she says, is when a student says, “Thank you Ms. Diew.”

WTS expects to see more from Nell Diew as she continues to rally in support of young girls learning STEM subjects. She truly believes STEM mentoring and professional development are the strategies to help the future transportation leaders of tomorrow to not only reach their goals, but to surpass them.

Caronell Diew, pictured second-row center, with mentors supporting “Transportation Industry Day” at TransTech Academy in Washington, D.C.

Caronell Diew, pictured second-row center, with mentors supporting “Transportation Industry Day” at TransTech Academy in Washington, D.C.

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