Samantha Wallace receives doctorate in electrical engineering

June 20, 2014

By Joyce M. Conant, ARL Public Affairs Office

Story Highlights

  • Wallace's career path and aspirations have grown steadily while at ARL
  • Gaining background in the theory of psychological measurement prompted Wallace to take courses in pyschometrics
  • Future goals include enhancing skills through available training opportunities and becoming more involved with STEM

Earlier this year, Samantha Wallace from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Human Research and Engineering Directorate presented her dissertation research to students, faculty, staff and alumni from Morgan State University at the University's 4th annual "Innovation Day" celebration that was held at the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis, Md.

Last month, Wallace received her doctorate in electrical engineering from Morgan State University. She began her career at ARL in February 2008 as a student contractor. In August of 2009, she was awarded a distinguished scholar civilian position as an electronics engineer (optics).

She said her career path and aspirations have grown steadily while at ARL.

"Shortly after becoming a civilian employee, I began to pursue a graduate degree in electrical engineering. I attended my graduate courses in the evening and worked on several customer-funded projects during my matriculation," said Wallace. "And, I was named the lead point of contact for a customer-funded technology program agreement."

Wallace said she decided early on that engineering was something she was interested in.

"During my years in high school at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, I knew that I wanted to become an engineer. There I took courses in electricity, architectural drawing and engineering practicum," said Wallace. "I also was good in mathematics and problem solving, skills learned in the Ingenuity program at my middle and high schools. Receiving my undergraduate degree in engineering physics gave me the necessary background to pursue my master's degree in optical engineering."

Wallace started in the electrical engineering doctoral program at Morgan State University in August of 2009. She said that while in the program, she wanted to gain background in the theory of psychological measurement, which prompted her to take courses in pyschometrics. It was this decision that made it possible for her to bridge together research in the engineering and psychology departments at Morgan State University.

Wallace indicated that having mentors along the way helped her through some of the decisions she made. One of her mentors, Dr. V. Grayson CuQlock-Knopp, a research psychologist in HRED's Perceptual Sciences Branch, expanded on some of Wallace's accomplishments.

"In addition to completing the ARL laboratory project that also served as her dissertation research, Samantha was a key investigator on other projects related to improving the performance of Soldiers using night-vision devices. She was the primary engineer responsible for the development of video-based IED training that is currently in use by 50 Army and Marine counter-IED integration cells throughout the United States and in Germany, Korea, Japan and Italy," said CuQlock-Knopp. "She excelled at completing all academic and laboratory demands, while serving as the mentor to undergraduate engineers and mathematicians on the team."

Wallace is determined to use her educational and work experiences to help others.

"My future goals include enhancing my skills through available training opportunities and becoming more involved with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) outreach programs. I would also like to pursue a leadership position after having more experience on the job," said Wallace. "The ultimate goal is to ensure that I am doing all that I can to help the Warfighter!"

Wallace said that outside of her busy schedule with work and school, she is planning a wedding for this fall. Her fiancé is currently working towards his doctorate in business management.


Last Update / Reviewed: June 20, 2014